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A Leafblower & A “Near Miss”

The Oliver Safety Committee recently sponsored a “Near Miss” safety contest for all employees to share stories about disaster averted on and off the job. And although it’s kind of embarrassing to say – I won. Here’s the story:

“I was visiting my mom and dad awhile back, and my mom and I were sitting at the table having a cup of tea when I see my dad walk by with his gas-powered leaf blower. Not seen through the window, mind you, but through the living room. He heads down in the basement and shuts the door. I glance outside and see the Bilco doors to the basement are also closed. So I jumped up and yelled down to find out what the heck he thought he was doing?!

He said he was going to clean out the central vac line and had shut all the doors and windows “so the noise wouldn’t disturb us upstairs”. I pointed out that him dropping dead of carbon monoxide poisoning would probably disturb us a little bit more than the noise! We couldn’t talk him out of the leaf blower experiment (which, unfortunately for the future, worked) but I at least managed to run around and open up EVERY door and window before he killed himself. The best part? He remembered to wear his safety goggles.”

When I told my dad I won with this story, he was very anxious to know whether I told everyone that the experiment worked.  (See Dad? I did!) Luckily, I think my mom and my little brother got the bigger point: OUTDOOR EQUIPMENT BELONGS OUTDOORS! Anything that burns fuel also produces carbon monoxide. And yes, that includes candles.

So when you’ve got the air running and the windows closed, be mindful of what else is in your home. Burn a candle, sure. Just don’t plan any fancy “flood the house with candlelight” situations. Other summer culprits of CO: camping equipment and generators. Do not use camping stoves indoors. Period. And if your power is out and you need to use a generator, do not put it in your garage or basement or any other enclosed area.

People are more aware of carbon monoxide in the winter, but it’s good to keep in mind that this is not a winter problem. Be safe, and keep the outdoor equipment where it belongs!

– Shanna

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