Roofs don’t need to be shoveled off. Take it from someone who has been in the business for 35 years. The media is making it sound as if roofs are collapsing all over New England. I haven’t done a survey but there have been probably 10 partial roof collapses that I have seen reported by news outlets during this winter. All of them, I’m sure can be attributed to poor design or renovations that were completed incorrectly. Don’t get me wrong, if it makes you feel better, then by all means, pay someone to shovel it off. It will put roofers to work that may otherwise be out of work. As far as doing it yourself, or having someone without roofing experience do it, don’t, because it’s dangerous work.
Ice dams are a completely different problem and do not require the roof to be shoveled off. Ice dams can be complicated, and contrary to popular belief, are not a roof problem but a ventilation issue.
Shoveling the roof can do more harm than good. If you are worried about your roof, then hire a roofer to clear away the drainage paths of your roof. Typically, clear snow away from gutters, downspouts and most especially interior drains on flat roof surfaces and spread some ice melt material around them to enhance the melting.
I have never seen a typical residential home’s roof collapse, and in all the cases where a flat roof has collapsed, other factors have contributed to causing sections of these roofs to be over-loaded.