Spring cleaning and safety checks go hand-in-hand

With warm days, lots of sunshine, birds singing and the grass starting to turn green, it is time to celebrate the arrival of spring.

Spring brings with it the feeling that we need to clean up from the winter, which also means we start to clean out. I’ll list a few common-sense safety tips to share as you begin to haul items out of the garage for a yard sale or the trash pile.

• Take advantage of Chittenden Solid Waste District to get rid of those hard-to-dispose of items like tires, old appliances and paint. Look at their list (cswd.net) to see what else you can safely dispose of and take advantage of the Rover for disposing of hazardous items when it comes to town.

• Check your gas can. Is it starting to rust and should be replaced? Make sure you open the vent when you fill it up.

• Check your lawn mower and do some preventative maintenance. Make sure you pull the spark plug out so it “accidentally” won’t start when you are taking off the blade to sharpen it.

• Look at your hand tools. Make sure when working in the yard that you lay your rakes down with the tines in the ground so that if you happen to step on it, it won’t come up and whack you in the forehead.

• Look around the house and the yard: Are there items that should be put away that didn’t get put away in the fall? Are there items that need repair?

• Did you burn wood this winter? Schedule time to have your chimney cleaned and inspected.

The list could go on and on. My intention is to get you to think about safety and how you can perform tasks around the house safely.

Every now and then, we are asked to respond for an emergency where it is difficult to find your house. Why? Some houses don’t have numbers posted on the house or the mailbox at the end of the driveway. Some neighborhoods have all the mailboxes clustered at the end of the road. They have numbers on them for the mail carrier, but when emergency services drive down the road, we sometimes don’t find numbers on your house or out at the end of your driveway. That makes it very difficult for us to find you.

Go outside and look at your house. Have you posted numbers (at least 4 inches high) somewhere so they can be seen from the roadway? If not, please make that a number-one priority on your “spring cleaning” list. Identify your home so it will be easy for us to find you.

The Shelburne Fire Department offers reflective signs on our website. Or you may stop by the station and place an order. Go right now and get those numbers, write up your spring cleaning list, test your smoke detector and remember fire prevention/safety isn’t just one week of the year, but all 52!

Jim Buell is a member of the Shelburne Volunteer Fire Department.

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