Radio interview source: Kris Kiser, President, Outdoor Power Institute
Snowblowers give your back a break, but there are safety considerations to remember. Avoid a trip to the emergency room by using common sense around snowblowers.
Kris Kiser is president of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute. He says to remove debris or objects from the area before the snowfall. Stuff like rocks, sticks, balls, wire – and yes, Christmas lights – are all things that can be picked up by the machine. Kiser says for your safety, never unclog the chute while the machine is running.
"Always turn off the machine, disengage, remove the key. Never put your hand in the chute. Never try to dislodge an object even with the machine off. Do not use your hands, use a stick," says Kiser. "An awful lot of the machines come with a stick or a post to dislodge objects that are lodged in the chute."
Hands and clothing also need to stay away from moving parts. Before you do any cleaning or inspecting, stay behind the handles and wait for the impeller and swirling blades to stop moving. If you're doing any maintenance , pull the wire off the spark plug. This will ensure that the engine doesn't start.
Kiser says common sense basics are the most important to remember when blowing snow.
"Don't do this kind of work impaired. No alcohol. Do it in good light so you can see what you're doing. Make sure there are no children or pets around. Remember, this is a machine that's doing work," says Kiser. "It has an engine, it has moving parts, and so you've got to use some caution around it. Know the machine, read your owner's manual. They're quite good, they're very specific. The machines are basically the same, but there are some design differences and so it's important to know your machine."
Proper maintenance before and after the season also plays a role in a smooth operation.
More snowblower safety tips to prevent you from becoming a statistic
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