Fire officials advise extra safety before using gas-powered equipment as the weather warms up

MYRTLE BEACH SC (WMBF) - Longer days and warmer weather are making a comeback. That also means it's the season for backyard barbeques and other yard work. This is the time of year where people usually begin to pull out all the gas-powered equipment that's been stored since last year.

The Myrtle Beach Fire Department says anytime you haven't used equipment in a while, make sure to go through the general maintenance process before you use it for the first time. That will help you prevent a malfunction.

Experts say not to use gas with more than 10-percent ethanol in your mower, something to keep your eye on when you're filling up. There are some gas stations that have 15-percent ethanol gas or other fuel blends. The higher ethanol fuel is dangerous and is actually illegal to use in small engine equipment, like your mowers.

Firefighters say the key thing to note is to keep gasoline away from open flames, because it's really not the gas itself, it's the vapors you want to avoid igniting. They say it's important to take those extra safety precautions when filling up gas cans.

"Just when you're filling up your gas especially, make sure they are putting it on the ground a lot of times when you have a pickup truck or something like that or an SUV you might try to put it back of your truck there and try to fill them up. But again, that's a bad idea just in case there's an overfill now you have gasoline in the back of your vehicle. So, just make sure you leave them on the ground when you’re doing that, and you leave a little space in there for those vapors to expand, so it doesn't cause a problem down the road,” said Lt. Jonathan Evans with the Myrtle Beach Fire Department.

As many people are anxious to get out and enjoy the warmer weather, many don't realize the potential accidents and medical emergencies that can result from gasoline-powered equipment.
Emergency Medical physicians say they see many children and adults rushed after accidents thanks to grilling or lawn mowers.
The Myrtle Beach Fire Department says carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas and is difficult for the human body to detect by itself. So, if you do have gas powered equipment in your house or even near your house, it's a good idea to have a carbon monoxide detector. You may not even know it, but you shouldn't keep your grill so close to your house.
"Even if you have a grill in the back with a propane tank, it could possibly leak and come through a window or something like that. So, if you have it near your house or near your window it could be a good idea to have a carbon monoxide detector near that window so that if something does happen, you have that extra protection,” said Lt. Evans.
You can get an approved carbon monoxide detector from your local hardware store.

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