12/21/2017 12:00:00 AM
At first, it looked like Mother Nature was going to take it easy this winter, but it turns out she has a strong poker face. Before you start clearing paths with your Ariens Sno-Thro®, it's extremely important to first reflect on the personal safety risks associated with operating outdoor power equipment, rereading your operator's manual and refreshing yourself how to avoid regrettable incidents.
Survey the paths to be cleared and the surrounding area. Scan for obstructions likes children's toys, landscaping stones and dog chains and move them to a safe location. Additionally, make sure all pets and children are kept away from the work area and supervised by a responsible adult. According to industry standards, young children can become curious with snow blowing activity and may want to come outside for a closer look – trust me, I was one of those kids who would ALWAYS stare outside when dad used his Ariens ST1032 Sno-Thro. Not only can the engine noise be loud, but children are at risk of being unseen and unheard by the operator, especially during nighttime operation.
Take a minute to evaluate your attire. Are you wearing eye and hearing protection? According to a Mayo Clinic article on hearing loss, long-term exposure to noise levels from small engines can put your hearing at risk. Besides protective gear, make sure your clothing is comfortable for operating in cold temperatures and fits snug to your body. Untied long hair and loose clothing has the potential to get caught in moving parts – an occurrence that usually doesn't end well.
Another critical time to acknowledge safety is during operation. As satisfying as it is watching your Sno-Thro quickly ingest and hurl the compacted berm the snowplow left at the end of your driveway into a safe direction, try not to get caught up in the moment. Always stay alert and yield to traffic when operating close to the roadway. There's always that chance a snow-blinded driver may not see you in the street.
And finally, let's discuss the big kahuna of snow blower safety, clearing a clogged chute. If safety warnings are ignored and the chute is unclogged incorrectly, injury can result. Simply put, do not reach into the machine! If by chance a heavy, wet snowfall clogs your machine, stop the engine, remove the key and wait for all moving parts to stop. Then, and ONLY then, use a clean-out tool to clear the blockage from the discharge chute. Once the blockage is cleared, return the clean-out tool to its storage position and get back to work.
For a detailed list of safety practices, we strongly urge reviewing the safety section of your Sno-Thro operator's manual. A paper copy is included with every unit and digital copies are available for free download at ariens.com.