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Coping with Unpredictable Weather: Rely on Outdoor Power Equipment to Stay Safe

DEBBI MAYSTER, On Behalf of OPEI

Weather today can be challenging, and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) reminds home and business owners that it’s important to make sure you have the right outdoor power equipment on hand and are prepared before a storm, hurricane or flood.

“Across the country, we’re seeing weather events that are more significant and more frequent, droughts, floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes. These present real challenges to homeowners and businesses. Thankfully, outdoor power equipment is here to help. There is a product and power source for every need and to address every scenario,” said Kris Kiser, President and CEO of OPEI. Make a list of what you need to clean up. Survey your property. Consider the damage a storm might cause and make a list of what tools might be needed for repairs. You might need a chainsaw, pole pruner, water pump, portable generator, snow thrower, or utility vehicle.

Take stock of your outdoor power equipment. Make sure equipment is in good working order. If needed, take your equipment to an authorized service center for maintenance or repair.

Find your safety gear. Avoid the scramble for sturdy shoes, safety goggles, hard hats, reflective clothing and work gloves, which should be stored in an accessible area with your equipment.

Have the right fuel on hand. Fuel stations may be closed after a storm. Use the type of fuel recommended by your equipment manufacturer. It is illegal to use any fuel with more than 10% ethanol in outdoor power equipment.

After the storm, take time to think through a strategy for clean-up efforts, and use the appropriate equipment for the job. If necessary, call a professional landscape contractor or tree care service.

Keep batteries charged. Make sure batteries for your equipment are fully charged in advance of a storm, and only used manufacturer-approved charging systems. Keep a couple of extra batteries on hand to keep equipment running.

Trim trees safely. Keep both feet firmly on the ground, and observe the safety zone, which means keeping bystanders and power lines at least 50 feet away from your work area.

Ensure portable electric generators have plenty of ventilation. Place the generator outside and away from windows, doors, and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors. Keep the generator dry, and make sure you have adequate lengths of extension cords. Before refueling, turn the generator off and let it cool down.

Listen to your body. Storm cleanup can be draining. Do not operate power equipment when you are tired, drink plenty of water and take regular breaks.

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