Outside and Around the Yard:
- Make sure your address numbers are up and visible from the street
- Clean up yard debris. Cut back dead limbs and grasses
- Maintain a clear 'fire zone' of 10' around structures. Clean up leaves and debris and consider using stone or non-combustible mulches
- Check outdoor electrical outlets and other electrical appliances
- Get your grill cleaned and serviced. Check all propane tanks and lines for leaks and damage
- Keep 100' of garden hose with an attached nozzle connected and ready for use
In the Garage or Shed:
- Clean up and properly store paints, pool and yard chemicals
- Check fuels containers for leaks and make sure they are properly stored
- Have all power equipment cleaned, serviced and readied for use
Spring cleaning can be fraught with danger, warns the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. To make sure you stay safe while sprucing up, Rosemont, IL-based AAOS offers the following tips:
- Follow proper lifting and bending techniques -- separate your feet to shoulder width and use your leg muscles to stand up. Do not try to lift heavy or awkward objects by yourself.
- When gardening, avoid prolonged repetitive motions such as digging, planting and trimming. Take frequent breaks.
- To get to hard-to-reach areas, use a step ladder rather than a chair or counter.
- Always be sure ladders are placed on a firm, level surface. Never use ladders on ground or flooring that is soft, wet or uneven. Do not overreach: Your belly button should not go beyond the sides of the ladder.
- Read labels on gardening and cleaning products for proper use, and wear protective clothing when necessary.
- Store all chemicals at a proper temperature and out of reach of children and animals.
Chicago – With summer approaching, three medical organizations have teamed up to issue tips to help prevent lawn mower injuries.
More than 234,000 people received medical treatment for lawn mower-related injuries in 2012, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery suggest taking the following precautions to help reduce the risk of injury:
- Use a lawn mower with a control that stops the blade if the handle is released.
- Remove stones, toys and other objects from the lawn before mowing to prevent injuries from flying objects.
- Kids should be at least 12 years old before operating a push lawn mower and 16 before operating a riding mower.
- Wear polycarbonate protective eyewear while operating the mower.
- Do not allow children as passengers on riding lawn mowers, and keep them out of the yard while mowing.
- Drive up and down slopes, not across, to prevent mower rollover.
- Use a stick or broom handle – not your hands – to clear debris from the mow
- Use tools to pick up objects on the ground
When removing debris, pick up the items with a tool, such as a rake or hoe, and always pull the object toward the body. Use tools to pick things up under edges you can’t see under. If you pick up a flat piece of debris on the ground, pick it up on the far side. That way, if a worker unexpectedly uncovers a snake, the object will be a barrier between the two and will help protect the worker’s legs.