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    Fire Safety Tips

    With warmer weather and longer days here, El Paso residents are emerging from the winter months to focus on long-neglected projects like spring-cleaning, home repairs and yard work. To help ensure everyone in the El Paso community stays safe this season, the El Paso Fire Department offers the following tips for spring safety:

    Cleaning Safety:

    • Household and pool chemicals, paints and poisons should be properly marked and stored under lock and key, away from children's reach. Dispose of any that are leaking, expired or look bad.
    • When cleaning up hazardous chemicals, wear rubber gloves and follow the safety directions on the packaging. Never mix chemicals in the same container. If you don't know how to dispose of them, seek outside advice. Never put them in the trash our pour down the drain.
    • Make sure gasoline and cleaning fluids are well marked and stored in a cool, dry place away from the house and out of the reach of children and pets. Use only approved containers for gasoline storage.
    • Never use gasoline to clean clothes, auto parts or floors.
    • Clean up work areas. Put dangerous tools, adhesives, matches or other work items out of the reach of children and/or pets.
    • Check your barbecue grill for leaks and cracks, and be sure to store any propane tanks away from your house and garage.
    • Remove all fire hazards, including stacks of rags, newspapers and magazines. Pay special attention to the spaces around your furnace, hot water heater and under the stairs.
    Yard Work Safety:
    • Stretch before you start. Yard chores may seem easy, but they involve muscles you probably haven't used in awhile.
    • Always wear protective clothing when you handle pesticides and fertilizers.
    • More than 60,000 people are treated in emergency rooms each year for lawnmower injuries.
      • Rake before you mow to prevent any stones and loose debris from launching into the air.
      • Never operate a mower in your bare feet, and avoid wearing loose clothing.
      • Never start a mower indoors.
      • When refueling your mower, make sure the engine is off and cool.
      • Don't spill gasoline on a hot engine and don't smoke while pouring gasoline.
      • Never leave your mower operational while unattended.
      • Don't use electrical mowers on wet grass.
    • At least 55,000 people each year sustain injuries from trimmers, lawn edgers, pruners and power saws.
    • Read the manufacturer's instructions carefully before using the tools.
      • Inspect the product for damage, and don't use it if there are any problems.
      • Use proper eye protection.
      • Make sure blade guards are in place on all cutting equipment.
      • Don't let tools get wet unless they are labeled "immersible".
      • Unplug all tools when not in use.
      • Make sure the tool is in the "off" position before plugging it in.
      • Store gasoline-powered equipment away from anything that uses a pilot light.
      • Make sure you use the right saw for the task, and always wait for the saw blade to stop before pulling away from a cut to avoid kickback.
    • When pruning trees, be careful not to let metal ladders or trimmers contact overhead wires.
    Ladder Safety:
    Ready to do some home repairs? On average, about 145,000 people visit the emergency room each year, due to ladder mishaps. Here are a few safety tips to avoid such tragedies:
    • Read the manufacturer's instructions that come with your ladder. They contain guidelines for weight and height limits as well as for the proper use of their product.
    • Inspect the ladder before using it to make sure there are no loose or broken rungs.
    • Make sure the ladder is the right height for the job. Many accidents happen when people overextend their reach because their ladders are too short.
    • Never stand on a ladder's bucket shelf.
    • Make sure the ladder is completely open and that all of it's feet are planted on a firm, level surface. Extension ladders should not be placed at an angle that is too extreme.
    • Avoid using a metal ladder near electrical sources.
    • Face the ladder when climbing down and make sure your weight is centered between the two sides.
    These are just a few of the safety precautions to consider during the spring. It's also a great time to replace your smoke detector batteries, make sure fire extinguishers are placed in proper locations around your home, and ensure you have a working flashlight and battery-powered radio for spring storms. By taking the right precautions now, you and those around you can enjoy a safer and healthier springtime.

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