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As a Wintery Blizzard Hits the East Coast, Standards Support Safety and Cleanup

2/01/2021

As a fierce winter storm pummels the Northeast this week, the National Weather Service is projecting total snow accumulations 15 to 24 inches in some areas, with winds gusting as high as 40 mph. The powerful snowstorm has already led to the shutdown of above-ground NYC subway lines, with airport suspensions also in effect. 

Last month, reports revealed that more than 150,000 residential homes and businesses were in the dark after a major snowstorm that swept through east and northeast Texas and Louisiana. While the snowy winter mix can create beautiful scenery and many opportunities for some fun, it can also leave a treacherous and dangerous path.

Did you know: Over 130 years have passed since the largest of storms, named the “Great White Hurricane,” which dropped snowdrifts up to 50 feet high?

From airports to machinery, various standards support safer operations on the snowiest days.

The American National Standard, ANSI B71.3-2005Snow Throwers - Safety Specifications, applies to walk-behind power snow throwers, ride-on power snow throwers, lawn ride-on tractors with snow thrower attachments, lawn and garden tractors with snow thrower attachments, and lever-steer ride-on machines with snow thrower attachments. The standard (revision) was prepared by the B71.3 Committee on Snow Throwers as part of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute's (OPEI) continuing work on standards. OPEI is an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.

Airport operators may require a specified piece of equipment in order to maintain an airfield during snowstorms, whether they are large or small events. The equipment specification standard published by ANSI member and accredited standards developer SAE International, SAE ARP 5548-2014 (SAE ARP5548-2014), covers requirements for multi-tasking equipment (MTE) for airfield snow removal purposes.

Another SAE International standard, SAE J 280-2011 (SAE J280-2011), Snowmobile Headlamps, provides test methods and requirements for snowmobile headlamps for workers out in in treacherous and dark conditions.

Ahead of major storms, broadcast emergency warning messages can be the lifeline to better preparation. A Consumer Technology Association (formerly Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)) voluntary standard, CEA 2009-B-2010, Receiver Performance Specification For Public Alert Receivers, defines minimum performance criteria for consumer electronic products designed to receive Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) alert signals broadcast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Weather Radio network and Environment Canada's Meteorological Services of Canada Radio network. CTA is an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.

These are just a few of the standards that cover snow. Access more on ANSI.org's webstore.

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