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During Winter Storms, Standards Keep You Safe and Warm

National weather forecasters are currently predicting that a major winter storm scheduled to hit the U.S. East Coast on February 8-9 could be one of the largest in recent years, with the potential to drop a foot of snow in New York City and even more in Boston and other nearby cities. But while snow can be a significant safety hazard, standards can help keep you and your family safe and comfortable.

During a blizzard, it makes sense in most cases to stay at home to wait out the storm in warmth and comfort. ISO 4355:1998, Bases for design of structures -- Determination of snow loads on roofs, an International Standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), assists architects and builders by listing methods to determine the snow loads that may be carried by a given roof. The standard was developed by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 98, Bases for design of structures, Subcommittee (SC) 3, Loads, forces and other actions. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), an American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited standards developer and organizational member, serves as the ANSI-accredited administrator of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to both TC 104 and SC 3.

As technology becomes a more important part of our everyday lives, influencing the way we work and socialize with others, the negative effects that inclement weather can have on electronics become more of a concern. In light of this, IEC 60721-2-2 Ed. 2.0 b:2012, Classification of environmental conditions - Part 2-2: Environmental conditions appearing in nature - Precipitation and wind, sets down fundamental properties and a classification of environmental conditions connected with wind and different types of precipitation, including snow, in connection with their relation to electrotechnical products. The standard was developed by International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) TC 104, Environmental conditions, classification and methods of test. ANSI-accredited standards developer and organizational member the Electronic Components Industry Association (ECIA) serves as the U.S. National Committee (USNC)-approved U.S. TAG Administrator to TC 104.

Once the storm has passed, timely snow removal returns life to normal, allowing people to safely leave their homes. While plowing the roads after a big storm is usually the responsibility of local governments or private contractors, most people will have to clear their front walks and driveways. An American National Standard (ANS), ANSI B71.3-2005, Snow Throwers - Safety Specifications, provides safety guidelines for a variety of different types of snow throwers, including lawn tractors with snow thrower attachments and walk-behind power snow throwers, making your use of these handy devices even safer. The standard was developed by ANSI-accredited standards developer and organizational member the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute.

If you're lucky enough to be in a place where a foot of snow means fun rather than inconvenience, standards can help you take advantage. ANSI B77.1-2011 and ANSI B77.1a-2012, Passenger Ropeways - Aerial Tramways, Aerial Lifts, Surface Lifts, Tows and Conveyors - Safety Requirements, an ANS, sets down guidelines for the design, construction, and operation of passenger ropeways, allowing ski lifts to operate safely. The standard was developed by the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.

Whether you're huddled inside your cozy house or racing down a ski slope, voluntary consensus standards play important roles in keeping you comfortable, safe, and secure.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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