Fall is about more than pumpkin lattes and color tours – it’s the season of transition for both your own family, local farmers, and the plants and animals around you. Being mindful and preparing for these transitions, as well as keeping an eye out for safety is important.
Tips for managing falling leaves
- When raking leaves, the American Chiropractic Association recommends using a “scissors” stance: Keep your right foot forward and left foot back for a few minutes, then switch the positioning of your feet. When bending over, always bend at the knees – not the waist.
- The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that you do not burn leaves. They state: “The open burning of leaves produces particulate matter and hydrocarbons, which contain a number of toxic, irritant and carcinogenic (cancer-causing) compounds.” Plus, leaf burning is illegal in many places. Check your local ordinances.
- It may be healthier for your lawn (and your back!) to simply leave the leaves where they fall. The leaves often are inhabited by butterfly eggs and other important parts of your community’s ecosystem. Leaving the leaves alone can benefit future generations of insects that keep your environment healthy.
- When leaves cover walkways, however, they can create a slip and fall risk. Keeping steps and walkways free of debris is important in all seasons.
Safety Tips for campfires and fire pits
Curling up with a blanket and a mug of hot cider around an outdoor fire is one of the exquisite pleasures of fall. Managing your fires safely is easy to do and can save you from a major disaster.
- Keep all cloth and flammable objects 3 feet or further away from open flame. Watch for floating embers that can ignite clothing, blankets, or cushions. If your fire has a lot of floating embers, consider dampening your fire with water or sand until the embers disappear.
- The National Fire Protection Association says fire pits and campfires should be at least 25 feet away from all structures and flammable objects.
- Keep a shovel and hose that’s ready to spray, or a bucket of water to quickly put out a fire that might get out of hand. If water isn’t available, have a small pile of sand or dirt next to your fire to extinguish it as needed.
- Extinguish fires completely at the end of your event. Use the bucket of water or hose – or shovels of sand and dirt. Then, use a long-handled shovel to separate the remaining wood and smoldering embers.
Tips for avoiding deer on the road
Autumn is mating season for deer, which means they’re more active and a greater hazard on roads.
- Be particularly cautious when driving at dusk or dawn when deer are more active.
- If you see one deer crossing the road, watch for additional deer. It is well known that deer travel in groups.
- If a deer is ahead of you in the roadway, stop your car instead of swerving because a swerve may put you in the path of oncoming traffic or put your vehicle onto an unstable road shoulder.
Sharing the road with farmers
Take care when driving around slow-moving farm vehicles. Fall is a busy time for farmers as they harvest their fields. A little patience and understanding goes a long way.
- Slow down when you see farm equipment on the road.
- Farmers are aware that they’re holding up traffic and will do their best to move out of your way so you can pass. But give them time.
- If a piece of farm equipment that is wider than one lane is approaching you and you can’t pass it safely, stop and pull off the road until it passes you.
- Never assume that drivers of farm equipment know you’re behind them. Most farm equipment does not have rear view mirrors, and the engine is loud enough to mask the sound of your vehicle.
DII is your partner in personal and home safety during all seasons. If you have safety concerns going into the fall season please reach out to your DII representative.