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9 Safety Tips For Spring Yard Work

Photo by Zane Lee on Unsplash

Spring is in the air, and that means outdoor fun in the backyard is just around the corner. In addition to expanding your living space and providing a safe place for kids and pets to play, your yard serves important functions for your family’s health and lifestyle and for the ecosystem as a whole.

Studies have shown the benefits of green space to health, including improved mood, lowered stress, increased fitness levels and more. People who have access to green spaces live longer, according to Harvard researchers. Another a study found that people living on streets with more trees had better heart and metabolic health.

Furthermore, grasses, trees, shrubs and other plant life provide much-needed food and habitat for birds, insects and small mammals. To determine the best types of turf, trees, shrubs and other plants for your location, refer to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

Doing basic maintenance on the cusp of spring will ensure your equipment operates safely to help you enjoy a healthy, vibrant family yard. Make safety a priority when getting out their spring lawn and garden equipment, like lawn mowers, edgers, trimmers and more.

Purchase Equipment Now
A good time to assess your outdoor power equipment is before it is time to use it. Today’s equipment is designed to suit every yard and comes in a variety of power sources, including battery/electric, gasoline, propane, solar and more. Smart technology has brought us robotic mowers that maintain yards with minimal eff ort.

Get Out Manuals
Follow all guidelines for outdoor power equipment and familiarize yourself with the controls. Misplaced manuals can be found online.

Inspect Your Equipment
Check for loose belts, replace missing or damaged parts or take equipment to a qualified service representative for repairs. Getting equipment serviced before the rush means you will be ready to get outside right away.

Drain Old Fuel
Fuel should not sit in your equipment’s 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 even damage to the fuel system. “Old” fuel should be drained and removed.

Only Use E10 or Less Fuel
Any fuel containing more than 10% ethanol can damage small engine equipment not designed for it — and it is illegal to use.

Label Fuel Cans
Label fuel cans with the date of purchase and ethanol content of the fuel. Never put “old” gas in outdoor power equipment. If you don’t know the date of purchase, safely dispose of the fuel in the can and buy fresh fuel.

Clean Equipment
Remove dirt, oil or grass stuck to the machine. Clean equipment will run more efficiently and last longer.

Use Extension Cords Wisely
Use an outdoor extension cord that is rated for the products you are powering. Do not overload extension cords or allow them to run through water or snow. Always know where the cord is, and be sure not to cut it.

Set Family Expectations
When outdoor power equipment is in use, the safest place for kids and pets is inside your home. Talk with your family about safety procedures.

Kris Kiser
Outdoor Power Equipment Institute
1605 King Street Alexandria, VA 22314
opei.org
703-549-7600