With the winter storms just beginning around New York, it’s important to stay safe throughout the wintery months. Avoid visitors from taking a tumble by keeping driveways and sidewalks clear of ice and snow, especially when a home is for sale. In some areas of the U.S., these tips from the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute on how to safely and correctly use a snow blower could come in handy:
1. Review the owner’s manual and check your equipment before it snows. For home owners who forgot to drain the fuel last winter before storing their snow blower, they should do so now. Also, before powering it up for the winter, adjust any cables, check the auger, and become familiar with how to operate the controls before the first snow falls.
2. Prepare the fuel tank. Have the right fuel on hand (the one recommended by the equipment’s manufacturer) for your snow blower so owners will be ready. Fill up the fuel tank outside before starting the engine and while the engine is cold. Never add fuel to a running snow blower or a hot engine.
3. Watch your hands. OPEI warns to never place your hands inside the auger or chute. “Use a clean out tool (or stick) to unclog snow or debris from your snow blower,” according to OPEI. “Your hands should never go inside the auger or chute. Make sure the snow blower is in the off position before addressing any clogs.” Always turn off the snow blower if you do need to clear a clog too.
4. Never use in limited light conditions. Only use a snow blower in visible conditions and never operate it without good visibility or light.
5. Aim carefully. Do not throw snow toward people or cars or allow anyone to stand in front of your snow blower. Pets and children should stay away from the snow blower whenever it is in use. Also, use caution when changing directions on slopes and hills, and do not attempt to clear steep slopes.
6. Always know where the cord is. “If you have an electric powered snow blower, be aware of where the power cord is at all times,” according to OPEI. “Avoid tripping. Do not run over the power cord.”
7. Dress appropriately. Wear safety glasses and footwear that allows you to handle slipper surfaces, according to OPEI.
Find more snow blower safety tips at www.opei.org.