Safety tips help avoid snow blower accidents
Staff reportsBefore even starting a snow blower, users should know how to properly and safely operate the machine.”It seems that every year we are called to extricate someone’s hand from his or her snow blower,” said Gene Welch, information officer for Truckee Fire Protection District.This normally results in devastating and painful injuries to the victim’s hand and arm, he said.If a snow blower’s chute becomes clogged with snow, shut the engine off and wait for the auger and impeller to stop spinning. Then, and only then, is it safe to clear the snow from the chute. Get in the habit of using a tool to clear the snow from the chute and never place your hand in harm’s way. Remember that when you place a tool in the chute it can become a projectile if you do not allow the auger and impeller to come to a complete stop.When refueling your snow blower make sure the engine is off and give the exhaust system time to cool off. Always refuel snow blowers outside.Never refuel it in a confined space, like a garage. When approaching the street with a snow blower, look both ways before entering the street. Keep the chute pointed into your side yard when blowing snow.Never direct it at the street, windows or people. Remember snow blowers throw ice and rocks, as well as snow.”Snow removal is usually not the most pleasant experience, but using these few safety tips can prevent it from escalating from a chore into a tragedy,” Welch said.