Safety Image

The snow blowers are still parked for most of us who work at Rural Lifestyle Dealer’s suburban Milwaukee office, but that’s not true for everyone. Snowmobile trails are open in Northern Wisconsin, and blizzards have already raged across the Plain states.

Winter storms can be dangerous for your rural lifestyle customers. When the snow flies, emergency rooms see a surge in patients as a result of clearing driveways and sidewalks. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates each year there are approximately 5,700 hospital emergency room-related injuries associated with snow blowers.

To help ensure its customers have a good experience with the snow blowers and other snow removal machinery it sells, Power Equipment Warehouse, an outdoor power equipment retailer based in northeast Ohio, compiled this checklist:

1. Never add gasoline to the snow blower tank indoors. Always fill the gas tank outdoors.

2. Never add fuel to a running or hot engine.

2. Never leave the engine running in an enclosed area.

3. If you use an electric snow blower, be sure to use an outdoor extension cord plugged into a GFI (Ground Fault Interrupter outlet).  If your cord is worn, replace it.

4. Walk the area prior to cleaning and remove any debris that may accidentally be thrown by your snow blower.

5. Keep children and pets indoors and away from the area you are clearing.

6. Never place your hands or feet near the auger or discharge chute.  If the unit gets clogged, use a snow clean-out tool and stay behind the machine until all moving parts have stopped.

7. Remove the key and spark plug before attempting to adjust, clean or repair the unit.  If you cannot fix it, bring it to a qualified service technician. Reputable power equipment retailers have service technicians who are re-certified annually.

8. Leave all safety features, such as guards, intact.

9. If clearing your driveway at dusk or in the dark, wear reflective clothing and use the light on your snow blower. You will be able to see and motorists will be able to see you.