Sunday 11 October 2009

Seasonal Safety in the Woods

Art Work, GF

Fall can be a very scary time in the woods and here are a few tips to keep it from getting even scarier time of year many people are getting ready to welcome people to their woods for a ghoulish night of fright. Indeed many classic horror shots take place in the woods.Now is the time to make sure your haunted fun doesn't turn into a nightmare.
Paths should be kept free from debris and fallen branches to prevent startled trick or treaters from unexpectedly falling when that Wicked Witch flies by. Trees should be inspected for dead limbs or rotten bases that may cause them to fail unexpectedly. If you are attaching props to branches make sure the branch is up to the task. A careful inspection will make sure your ghoul on a rope doesn't unexpectedly come crashing down on someones head. When selecting a branch to hang items from, always make sure the branch is alive and well attached to the tree before you hang your bag of bones from it. Throwing a rope over the branch and giving it a test tug, not while standing under it, is a good way to test for stability.

I always recommend wearing a hard hat and safety glasses while working in your woods. If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, it will still make a dent in your head. If you are attaching pulleys to ratchet up a frightful fellow, take the time to properly attach it to the tree. A correctly installed eye bolt and pulley system will last years and can safely raise the faux dead. Never use hardware store gear to climb or lift living people as it is not rated for this use and can fail unexpectedly.

If you are working on a ladder make sure it is sturdily placed or secured to the tree with a rope. Don't over reach and have your ladder come out from under you. A real scary fact is that in accidental falls from above six feet, half are fatal. Be safe keep your feet on the ground. Tree climbing gear is tested and rated for professional use. Contact your Arborist if you have more elaborate set ups that need to be put high in the trees. Removing deadwood before it falls on your deluxe display or has grave consequences is highly recommended.

Another potential safety hazard is electricity. High voltage accessories like strobe lights and projectors can add great punch to your haunted hollow but make sure they don't add unexpected sizzle. Use only fixtures rated for outdoor use and make sure they are connected to properly installed ground fault protected outlets. It is a great plan to contact your electrician and discuss your set up to make sure it is safe and well supplied before you throw the switch.

There are few things scarier than a well placed up light on a mature oak tree.

A walk through your woods with a professional is always a good idea and it may prevent unexpected horrors and trips the the emergency room. If you have questions about the stability of branches or trees contact your Certified Arborist. Have a safe and happy Halloween