Since making its debut in 1925, the snowblower has made life easier
for all that are living in a snowy part of the world. Instead of shoveling
the white stuff by hand for hours and hours on end, you can use a snowblower,
which will drastically reduce the time required to clean the snow from
your driveway or sidewalk. It is much more efficient than a snow shovel,
but as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. A
snowblower is a mighty machine that needs to be treated with a great deal
of respect during operation. You do not want to harm yourself or others
while using it – so be aware of snowblower safety guidelines.
Read the Snowblower Manual
is important to learn how to operate the snowblower
properly before using it for the first time.
Reading the manufacturer’s manual that
comes with the snowblower will not only help
you understand how it works and provide you
with the essential operating instructions, but
it will also inform you of the various potential
dangers associated with the machine.
Turn off the engine before cleaning or unclogging snow
The most common injury results from trying to clear snow from parts of
the snowblower. You should turn off the engine before clearing the discharge
chute or any other part of the snowblower. Even with the engine off, never
put your fingers in a snowblower. In terms of more serious injury, there
are some cases of people being killed because they became caught in the
machine. But in fact more deaths occur due to carbon monoxide poisoning
that occurs when the snowblower is left running in an enclosed area.
Snowblowers and Carbon Monoxide
Snowblowers that run on fuels, such as gasoline and oil, emit carbon monoxide
(CO), a potentially deadly gas. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless,
and tasteless gas that cannot be detected when it is lingering in the
atmosphere. When you inhale the carbon monoxide it gets into your blood
stream and restricts the red blood cells from transporting oxygen to the
brain, heart, and other vital organs. This dangerous gas can actually
kill a person who is exposed to it for even a short period of time.
Snowblowers emit an astonishingly large amount of carbon monoxide. According
to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a typical two-cycle snowblower
can release nearly a pound of carbon monoxide for every hour that it runs.
According the Mother Earth News, to match that amount of carbon monoxide
a car would have to be driven for about 70 miles. Fortunately there are
ways to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning when operating your snowblower.
How to Avoid CO Poisoning
If you own a fuel-powered snowblower the most important thing to remember
is to start the machine in a well-ventilated area in order to prevent
CO poisoning. Starting it in a closed-up space such as your shed or garage
is a bad idea! Since it has nowhere to vent to the carbon monoxide will
remain in close proximity, locked in so to speak. Snowblowers must be
started outside or in a well-ventilated area; so open the garage or shed
door wide before starting the machine.
Snowblower safety includes not leaving the snowblower unattended after
it has been turned on - even in a well-ventilated area. Remember to shut
it off when it is not in use because it continues to release a significant
amount of carbon monoxide as it idles in the same place for an extended
period of time.
To avoid the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, it is recommended
that you purchase and install a carbon monoxide alarm. When carbon monoxide
reaches a certain level in the air, the alarm will go off, enabling you
to leave the premises immediately. Remember to test the alarm and replace
the batteries on a regular basis.
Symptoms of CO Poisoning and What to Do
If while starting the snowblower you begin to feel sick, dizzy, or weak,
you should leave the area at once and get some fresh air. These are the
initial signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. Call your local medical emergency
number for aid. You may want to hire a carbon monoxide professional to
eliminate any leftover traces of the fatal gas. Carbon monoxide poisoning
is an important factor in the operation of snowblowers, and respecting
snowblower safety guidelines regarding CO poisoning will ensure that no
harm comes to you or your family.
About the Author: Lily Armstrong is a freelance writer and is
the head researcher and content manager for http://www.carbon-monoxide-poisoning.com/.