BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Snow is in the forecast Saturday, and while you may not need your snowblower just yet, officials are urging extreme caution when starting them up this winter.

The Curtis National Hand Center says that each year hundreds of people suffer serious damage to their fingers or hands due to the improper handling of snowblowers.

Most commonly, the tips of the fingers need to be amputated, so preventing the initial injury is key.

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Injuries usually occur when the snow is heavy, wet or has accumulated several inches. The snow clogs the exit chute of the machine, and the person using the machine tries to unclog this using his/her hand.

Unfortunately, the blades still can rotate when the machine is off, and these cut whatever is in their path.

Stay safe while snow blowing this season with these tips:

  • Work at a brisk pace. The faster the blades and pace, the less likely the snow will stick.
  • If heavy, wet snow is anticipated, consider snowblowing several times during the snowfall.
  • Some people spray the blades and chute with cooking oil spray. This may help.

Stay up-to-date with the latest forecast by downloading the WJZ weather app.

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