Every summer, 30 million power lawn mowers are in use in the United States.

Every summer, 30 million power lawn mowers are in use in the United States.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that each year, about 60,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries from lawn tools.

Many of these injuries are burns caused by careless use of lawn mowers. Ensure your safety by following these tips when using and cleaning your mower:

* Do not smoke while fueling; gasoline is very explosive.

* Wait for the motor or engine to cool before refueling.

Never fill the gas tank completely. Leave space at the top of the tank as heat causes gasoline to expand and fire can result if the gas spills onto the hot engine.

Wipe up spilled fuel immediately because it can easily ignite when the engine is started. Never fuel a running mower.

* Store gasoline in approved containers with tight-fitting lids---never in glass or unapproved plastic containers.

* Do not store gasoline in the house. An open flame, spark, or pilot light such as those in water heaters or other appliances can ignite the fuel vapors.

* Check electric mower cords for frayed or damaged places.

Make certain that the cord is plugged into a grounded outlet. Pulling the frayed cord while on damp or wet grass can cause lethal shocks or severe electrical burns.

* Leave blade sharpening and electric repairs to professionals.

* If you do your own cleaning and tune-up, disconnect the spark plug or remove it before beginning. If a blade is turned by hand, the mower can start if the spark plug is still intact.

* Do not operate a gasoline mower in an enclosed room while making adjustments or repairs. Gasoline engines give off toxic exhaust fumes containing carbon monoxide.

* Never leave a running lawnmower unattended.

Washington Township Fire Department Fire Marshal Alan Perkins submitted the Smoke Signals column.