Exercise safety with your power equipment

Spring is here and homeowners are eager to get out their lawn mowers and start planting, trimming and sprucing.
“We know everyone is eager to get outside and start working in their yards. But remember to keep safety in mind,” according to Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, or OPEI, an international trade association representing more than 100 power equipment, engine and utility vehicle manufacturers and suppliers.
“Doing some basic maintenance will ensure your equipment operates safely and gets the job done,” Kiser stated in a news release.
Before you use a mower, trimmer, blower, chain saw, pruner or other piece of outdoor power equipment this season, remember to inspect the equipment, review owner’s manuals and review safety procedures.
Consider these tips:
• Get out your owner’s manual. Follow all guidelines for your outdoor power equipment and familiarize yourself with the controls.
If you have lost your owner’s manual, look it up online.
• Inspect your equipment. Check for loose belts and missing or damaged parts.
Replace any parts needed or take your equipment to a qualified service representative.
• Drain old fuel. Don’t leave fuel sitting in the tank for more than 30 days.
Untreated gasoline — without a fuel stabilizer — left in the system will deteriorate, which may cause starting or running problems and, in some cases, damage to the fuel system.
• Use only E10 or less fuel. Some gas stations may offer 15 percent ethanol, E15, gas or higher ethanol fuel blends, but any fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol can damage — and is illegal to use in — small-engine equipment not designed for it.
• Label your fuel can with the date of purchase and ethanol content of the fuel.
Never put “old” gas in your outdoor power equipment. If you don’t know the date of purchase, dispose of the fuel in the can safely and buy fresh fuel.
• Clean your equipment. Remove any dirt, oil or grass stuck to it. A clean machine will run more efficiently and last longer.