Safe Snow Thrower Usage

Clearing driveways, sidewalks and parking lots is no small job and using outdoor power equipment can help make these big jobs easy, but it’s important to keep safety in mind when using snow throwers, often referred to as snow blowers.

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) encourages home and business owners to ready their snow throwers and other winter equipment before snow flurries and winter storms arrive.

Here are some of their tips:

Getting Ready

Have you read your owner’s manual? Read up for safe handling procedures.

Have you checked your equipment since storing it? Make sure all equipment is completely powered off when checking it over.

Did you put your equipment where you can get to it easily? Move your equipment to a convenient and accessible location, so you can get to it easily when you need it.

Have you purchased the right fuel?  Due to power outages, gas stations may be closed after a storm so have some on hand. Be sure to use the correct fuel, as recommended by your equipment’s manufacturer (for more information on fueling properly see LookBeforeYouPump.com).

Are you fueling safely? Before you start the engine fill up the fuel tank on your snow thrower outside while the engine is cold. Never add fuel to a running or hot engine.

Are batteries charged? If using a battery/electric-powered snow-thrower, make sure batteries are fully charged, in case electricity goes out during a winter storm.

Operate Snow Throwers Safely

Do you have a clean out tool or stick? NEVER put your hands inside the auger or chute. Use a clean out tool (or stick) to unclog snow or debris from your snow thrower.

Do you turn off your snow thrower if you need to clear a clog? Always turn off your snow thrower and wait for all moving parts to come to a complete stop before clearing any clogs or debris.

Do you use your snow thrower in visible conditions? Never operate the snow thrower without good visibility or light.

Can you aim your snow thrower with care? Never throw snow toward people or cars. Do not allow anyone to stand in front of your snow thrower.  Keep children or pets away from your snow thrower when it is operating.

Will you use extreme caution on slopes and hills? Do not attempt to clear steep slopes and use caution when changing directions on slopes or inclines.

Do you know where your cord is? If you have an electric-powered snow thrower, be aware of where the power cord is at all times. Avoid tripping. Do not run over the power cord.

Will you keep pets and children inside? Kids and pets may love to play in the white stuff, but it’s best to keep them inside your home and under supervision while you are using your snow thrower to clear a path or drive. Do not allow them to play in the snow as it is tossed out of the snow thrower’s chute.

More safety tips and information are available at opei.org.

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