Spring cleaning safety tips

By JIM BUELL

It is time to celebrate the arrival of spring. With warm days, lots of sunshine, birds singing and the grass starting to turn green, I would say spring has arrived!

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 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 (CSWD) to get rid of those hard-to-dispose-of items like tires, old appliances and paint. Look at their list to see what else you can safely dispose of and take advantage of the Rover 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 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.

• Take a look at your BBQ grill. Make sure hoses are not cracked. Make sure the burners are not blocked. Make sure all the fittings are tight. When checking these things, be outside and in a well-ventilated area.

Some houses don’t have numbers posted on the house or the mailbox, which makes it difficult for emergency personnel to find. Go outside and look at your house. Have you posted numbers (minimum 4-inches high) somewhere so they can be seen from the roadway? Get your home identified so that it will be easy for us to find you. We offer reflective signs on our website, or 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 the fire preventions/public education officer for the Shelburne Fire Department.

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