I don't really have a lot to add to Carols comments other than on safety and I'm sure others will provide anything I've overlooked. I'm sure some of these will stem new questions, but please ask if I'm not clear or if you need further explanation.
*Always stand off to the one side or the other of the piece being cut. You don't want to be behind the piece in the event of a kick-back. Exceptions would be if you're cutting a large piece of plywood or paneling. In these cases the kickback most likely would not be as severe.
*Keep fingers at several inches away from the blade and use push sticks when ever possible.
*A splitter is recommended for any saw if you can find one for yours. A lot of us don't use the over head factory blade guard that comes with the saw. You should use it and use your own judgment if you want to remove it. These usually have a splitter or a set of kick-back teeth on them, but aren't ideal for when cutting dado cuts on the saw.
*The blade should protrude only about 1/8" - 1/4" over your work as you're cutting. A blade that is raised too high increases the chance for a kick back or things that don't need cutting getting cut.
*Always use a sharp blade, inspect for missing or chipped teeth and replace as needed.
*Read, understand, and follow all safety instructions that come with your tool...and there are no more important safety items than safety glasses
To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault