Keeping safe in spring
By Wes Williamson
The days are getting longer, the clocks have been moved forward an hour, and all of this winter’s snow is gone. We are starting to open our windows to let the fresh air in, and we are all getting that itch to begin our spring cleaning! During the winter, snow is not the only thing that accumulates. Somehow stuff seems to work its way into our houses, and yard waste manages to grow too. As we get started on our spring cleaning, there are always safety tips to employ to avoid a disastrous situation.
- Household and pool chemicals, paints, and poisons should be properly marked and stored under lock and key, away from children’s reach. Dispose of any that are leaking, expired, or that look bad. If you don’t know how to dispose of them, seek outside advice. Never put them into the trash or pour down the drain.Visit cityofmemphis.org/framework.aspx?page=870 for a listing of hazardous wastes the city properly disposes or recycles.
- When cleaning up hazardous chemicals, wear rubber gloves and follow the safety direction on the packaging. Never mix chemicals in the same container.
- Make sure gasoline and cleaning fluids are well marked and stored in a cool, dry place away from the house and out of the reach of children and pets. Use only approved containers for gasoline storage.
- Never use gasoline to clean skin, clothes, auto parts, or floors.
- Clean up work areas. Put dangerous tools, adhesives, matches, or other work items away from children’s reach.
- Check your barbecue grill for leaks and cracks, and be sure to store any propane tanks away from your house and garage.
- Remove all fire hazards, including stacks of rags, newspapers, and magazines. Pay special attention to the spaces around your furnace, hot water tank, fireplace, space heaters, and dryer, as well as under the stairs.
Yard Work Safety
- Limber up. Yard chores may seem easy, but they involve muscles you probably haven’t used in a while.
- Always wear protective clothing when you handle pesticides and fertilizers.
More than 60,000 people are treated in emergency rooms each year for lawn-mower
- Rake before you mow to prevent any stones and loose debris from launching intothe air.
- Never operate a mower in your bare feet and avoid wearing loose clothing.
- Never start a mower indoors.
- When refueling your mower, make sure the engine is off and cool. Don’t spill gasoline on a hot engine, and don’t smoke while pouring gasoline.
- Never leave your mower operational while unattended.
- Don’t use electrical mowers on wet grass.
- At least 55,000 people each year sustain injuries from trimmers, lawn edgers, pruners and power saws.
- Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before using the tools.
- Inspect the product for damage, and don’t use it if there are problems.
- Use proper eye protection.
- Make sure blade guards are in place on all cutting equipment.
- Don’t let tools get wet unless they are labeled “immersible.”
- Unplug all tools when not in use.
- Make sure the tool is in the off position before you plug it in.
- Store gasoline-powered equipment away from anything that uses a pilot light.
- Make sure you use the right saw for the task, and always wait for the saw blade to stop before pulling away from a cut to avoid kickback.
- When pruning trees, be careful not to let metal ladders or trimmers contact overhead wires.
- Before you do any hands on weed removal, make sure you know how to identify poison ivy, sumac, oak and similar toxic plants. Find out ahead of time how to treat the rashes they cause to reduce the irritation.
- Be aware of wildlife in our area too, and be cautious around storm drains, old stumps, and places where yard waste has been piled up for a few months. We have raccoons, rats, poisonous and nonpoisonous snakes (I have already found several snakes in my yard this spring).