Fire Chief Chris Hinds offers spring-cleaning safety tips

Fire Chief reminds residents that open burning is prohibited in the spring

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With spring “officially” arriving this coming Saturday, March 20, the temperatures will again start to rise, the birds will be chirping, the flowers will begin to poke through the ground and before you know it, the trees will be starting to bud. Winter is over!

It’s the time of year when many residents venture outside to take on their spring-cleaning projects around the home. While many folks look forward to working in the garden and around the house, this can be dangerous if you’re not careful. More than 400,000 injuries occur in the U.S. each year as a result of mishaps related to hand tools, both corded and battery operated electric tools, ladders and lawn mower accidents.

The Perry Volunteer Fire Department is kicking off a “Spring into Safety” campaign to remind residents that while spring-cleaning projects can be enjoyable for the whole family, there are certain simple precautions that should be taken before using lawn and garden equipment, power tools and ladders.

We are encouraging everyone to make safety a priority this spring and summer in order to avoid the mishaps that could result in a trip to the emergency room.

The Perry Firefighters Association recommends that you follow these additional safety tips when working with ladders, lawn and garden tools and lawn mowers:

Ladders

  • It is very important that you always use a ladder that is long enough for the job at hand. A great number of ladder mishaps are the result of using a ladder that is to short.
  • Always face the ladder when climbing up or down; keep your body centered between both side rails of the ladder.
  • Do not carry equipment while climbing a ladder. Invest in a tool belt, or have someone hand the equipment to you.
  • While up on the ladder, do not overextend your reach. Make sure you keep your weight evenly distributed.

Lawn and Garden Tools

  • When using garden appliances and power tools, always wear the proper attire. Keep your clothing, hands, and feet away from cutting blades at all times. Never wear jewelry when working with tools of any kind and always wear safety glasses or goggles.
  • Pay close attention to warning labels and markings. Do not allow tools to get wet unless they are labeled “immersible.” When using tools or extension cords outside, make sure they are appropriate for outdoor use.
  • Never alter a product or remove safety features, such as blade guards or electric ground pins.
  • Remember to always check the switch on a power tool or garden appliance to make sure it is in the “OFF” position before you plug.

Lawn Mowers

  • Always start the mower outdoors. Never operate the mower where carbon monoxide can collect, such as in the basement, closed garage, or storage shed.
  • Before you start mowing, make sure all safety guards are in place and keep the mower’s blade(s) sharp. If you do hit a foreign object or have a mower malfunction, remember to turn off the mower and disconnect the power cord before inspecting for damages making repairs.
  • Electrically powered mowers should not be used on wet grass. Use an extension cord designed for outdoor use one that is properly rated for the power needs of your mower.
  • If you have a gasoline-fueled mower, store the gasoline in a UL (Underwriters Laboratories) Listed safety can. Fill the mower outside, always use a funnel to prevent spills and never fill the mower immediately after use when it is hot, and allow the mower to cool down before re-filling its fuel tank. Stay away from outside ignition sources and replace the “gas cap” firmly when done.

By following the manufacturer’s instructions as well as these recommended safe-use tips, you and your family can enjoy longer, safer use of your ladders, lawn and garden equipment and lawn mowers.

Remember Perry’s 2021 Yard Waste Collection begins with a pick-up on April 7 for residents south of Willis Avenue and April 14 for residents living north of Willis Avenue. The Citywide Yard Waste Collection will run April 7 through Dec. 8, so please take advantage of this free service. There is NO open burning allowed inside the corporate limits of Perry, so please use the city’s Yard Waste Collection for all your yard waste disposal needs.

For more information on spring safety tips, residents can visit the Underwriters Laboratories website or call UL’s fax-on-demand line at 800-473-4007.

Chief Chris Hinds is the Perry Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief.

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