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The Truth about Ice Dam Removal Safety Training

When you’re trying to decide on an ice dam removal service, probably one of the questions you want to determine is:

Do these guys know what they’re doing?  Can they do the job safely?

More specifically, you might wonder what kind of training or certification any given ice dam removal professionals have gone through.

First of all, there’s no external certification for ice dam removal. As of this writing, there’s no such thing as an “Ice Dam Removal Certification Board” that says who can and cannot offer this service.

Obviously, roofers and gutter cleaners who offer ice and snow removal may have certifications for their other services, but they aren’t certified in ice dam removal—nor is anyone else.

But what about training? What kind of training do ice dam removers have to go through?

It’s a good question, and there are two answers to it:

1. Amateurish, unsafe, subpar ice dam removal services don’t concern themselves too much with safety or with honing their ice dam removal skills. They simply allow whatever workers they have on hand to hop up on your roof as soon as they get a phone call.

2. Professional, established, competent ice dam removal companies have a self-imposed safety-training program that all their crew members must go through.

Because there’s no third-party training program for ice dam removal, we conduct our own training.

It’s much like the time-tested apprenticeship method: Our most-seasoned technicians instruct the newer technicians until the newer guys have the best safety practices and most effective ice dam removal techniques hard-wired into their heads.

All of our new technicians go to jobs with Brian. Brian is our old, extra-experienced Ice Dam Guys®technician. The newer guys undergo friendly but intense scrutiny until Brian is comfortable that they know what they’re doing. Sometimes this takes a week, a month, or an entire 3-month ice dam season. All of our new technicians must get to the point where Brian can just stand around with a mug of coffee and watch them as they remove a roof full of ice dams safely and correctly.

Our qualification standards are demanding.

First of all, they involve self-selection: Standing on a snowy, icy roof in the dead of winter isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time. Before any technician of ours gets on anyone’s roof, we determine whether that person is afraid of heights.  Anyone who makes the cut has a healthy respect for all the dangerous elements of ice dam removal, but doesn’t hesitate to get up on a slippery roof while exercising all the safety best-practices.

Even then, not everyone becomes part of our team. Our standards are rigorous, and our same-day and next-day ice dam removal service requires that our team members are available at all hours of the day and on weekends—often meaning that they give up some time with their families.

Some owners of ice dam removal “services” might say “Geez, it’s just ice on a roof. How hard can it be to hop up there and blast it all away?” We don’t see it that way.

Ice dam removal can go smoothly for all parties involved—if nobody gets hurt and nobody’s roof gets damaged. We’ve found that rigorous self-imposed training and old-fashioned experience is the best way to ensure that.

Written by on March 21, 2013

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