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BEFORE THE STORM HITS: PREPARE NOW FOR A SAFER CLEAN-UP AFTER A STORM OR HURRICANE OPEI Offers Tips to Help Home & Business Owners Prepare for Storms

July 14, 2015

Alexandria, Va. – Before a summer storm or hurricane arrives, it’s important for home and business owners to prepare for storm clean-up. The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), an international trade association representing small engine, utility vehicle and outdoor power equipment manufacturers and suppliers, reminds home and business owners that it’s best to get ready before a storm strikes.

“The days after a storm can be dangerous for people who are trying to get things back to normal and facing extraordinary circumstances,” said Kris Kiser, President and CEO of OPEI. “Emergency preparation is so important. Getting your chainsaw ready, filling up your fuel can, and finding your work gloves, is just as important as stocking up on toilet paper, bread and milk at the grocery store before a storm.”

OPEI offers the following tips to help homeowners and businesses to plan ahead for storm cleanup:

Look it over – before the storm hits. Your first task should be to survey your property and make a list of what tools might be needed. You might need a chainsaw, pruner, generator, or utility type vehicle.

Take stock of your outdoor power equipment. Ensure your equipment is in good working order. Take your equipment to an authorized service center for maintenance or repair if needed.

Find your safety gear. Locate safety gear including sturdy shoes, safety goggles, hard hats, reflective clothing and work gloves. 

Review the owner’s manuals for your equipment and safe handling procedures. Read product manuals to ensure you know how to operate your equipment safely.

Have the right fuel on hand. Fuel stations may be closed after a storm, so it’s important to have the proper fuel for your equipment. Store your fuel in an approved container and use the type of fuel recommended by your equipment’s manufacturer. It is illegal to use any fuel with more than 10% ethanol in outdoor power equipment (for more information on proper fueling for outdoor power equipment see www.LookBeforeYouPump.com).

Calm and commonsense are the keys to using products effectively. Be calm and use common sense when using outdoor power equipment. For instance, be aware of fundamental dangers that can occur, such as chainsaw kickback, which may happen when the moving chain at the tip of the guide bar touches an object, or when the wood closes in and pinches the saw chain in the cut. Always stand with your weight on both feet, and adjust your stance so you are angled away from the saw chain blade. Hold the chainsaw with both hands. Never overreach or cut anything above your shoulder height. 

Keep firm footing when using pole saws and pole pruners. Make sure you always keep a firm footing on the ground. Observe the safety zone, which means keeping bystanders and power lines (those above you and any that might have fallen down) at least 50 feet away from your work area. 

Ensure portable electric generators have plenty of ventilation. Generators should never be used in an enclosed area or placed inside a home, even if the windows or doors are open. Generators produce carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless and poisonous gas that can be lethal. Place the generator outside and away from windows, doors, and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors. Keep the generator dry and do not use it in rainy or wet conditions. Before refueling, turn the generator off and let it cool down.

Drive Utility Type Vehicles (UTVs) with caution. Keep the vehicle stable, drive slowly and do not turn the vehicle mid-slope or while on a hill.

Be aware of others. Keep bystanders, children and animals out of your work area. Do not allow other people near outdoor power equipment, such as chainsaws, pole saws or pole pruners when starting the equipment or cutting with it.

Pay attention to your health. Storm cleanup can be taxing on the body and the spirit. Do not operate power equipment when you are tired or overly fatigued. Drink plenty of water and take regular breaks.

For more safety tips for outdoor power equipment visit http://opei.org/safety/

About OPEI

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is an international trade association representing more than 100 power equipment, engine and utility vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. OPEI is the advocacy voice of the industry, and a recognized Standards Development Organization for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and active internationally through the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in the development of safety and performance standards. OPEI is managing partner of GIE+EXPO, the industry’s annual international trade show, and the creative force behind the environmental education program, TurfMutt.com. OPEI-Canada represents members on a host of issues, including recycling, emissions and other regulatory developments across the Canadian provinces. For more information, visit www.OPEI.org.

Media Contact: Ami Neiberger-Miller, Four Leaf PR, 703-887-4877, ami@fourleafpr.com