Thursday, January 26, 2012Winter storms and a whole host of other natural disasters and emergencies can take homeowners by surprise anytime. The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) recommends that homeowners have certain equipment on hand to cope with unexpected weather or public health emergencies.
While first aid emergency kits and general preparedness kits for power outages are commonplace, OPEI recommends that homeowners also have an appropriate assortment of power or utility equipment on hand to stay safe and self-sufficient during an emergency.
Assess your preparedness for an unexpected weather event or other emergency with the following list and corresponding tips:
- Pole saws or pruners can help clear away dead or damaged limbs near your home or on your driveway. Make sure you always keep a firm footing on the ground when using such equipment. Do not use a ladder, and stay away from electrical conductors.
- A chain saw can help clear away trees and more massive limbs, but first read and understand the instruction manual and ensure equipment is in good condition. Do not work around power lines, since they can be the biggest threat to safety.
- Power generators can keep the lights on, refrigerators running and water flowing in an emergency. Do not operate power generators, however, in enclosed areas. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can become concentrated in enclosed areas and cause serious injury or death.
- Snow throwers/snow blowers come in handy for significant snow events and are easier than shoveling for those who have medical conditions. Be sure to read your operator's manual and dress warmly to guard against exposure.
- Chippers and shredders help ease the physical hardship of post-storm cleanup. Keep bystanders, pets, and children at least 75 feet from the machine while it is in operation. Stop the machine if anyone enters the area.
- Utility vehicles can be an important piece of equipment to help move branches, haul sandbags or maneuver through areas inaccessible to other vehicles.
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