Friday, April 5, 2013

Springtime Gardening and Landscaping Safety

Call Before You Dig: In most areas, an organization or public official needs to give approval to excavate even the smallest areas. This is because of the damage and destruction that can result if an unaware homeowner compromises a natural gas or electrical line. Major utility providers will almost always send a representative to the proposed dig site to evaluate the safety of the proposed location. Utility lines and pipelines are often located deep underground, often with a marker indicating their depth. If the proposed excavation is extremely dangerous, a building inspector or code enforcement office may become involved and deny the necessary permit. Never dig without notifying the utility providers. Otherwise, you could experience tremendous loss and put other people in danger.

Keep an Eye out for Dangers: Gardening is a favorite spring pastime, but beware of potential dangers lurking in your lawn and gardens. Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac are dangerous plants that can cause life-threatening reactions in many people. Know how to spot them and safely remove them from your property.

Also, keep an eye out for pests. Moles, chipmunks and other small animals present little threat to your family, but if you find a nest of field mice, a litter of baby raccoons, or any other potentially dangerous animals, call the local authorities to request traps or removal services.

Insect threats are also common in the spring. If you notice a beehive, wasp hole, or termite nest, call the exterminator or carefully remove the hazard on your own. Wear protective gear and a mask if you are working with dangerous chemicals. Spring is a good time for this extermination, because in many areas of the country the fledgling insects have not yet hatched or are still docile and harmless.

Don’t Overdo It: Most people have limited physical activity during the winter. Therefore, be extremely cautious when starting outdoor projects in the spring. Just because you could easily lift your mower over a walkway in September does not mean that you won’t hurt yourself in April if your muscles are out of practice.

Take your projects slowly. You do not want to spend the rest of the spring recovering from a muscle injury that could have been avoided easily.

April Showers: The old adage is true – April showers do bring May flowers, but they can also bring dangerous conditions in some areas. Spring storms may cause flooding or power outages. If you live in a flood-prone area, be prepared. Keep your basement clear and keep your belonging off of the floor as much as possible. Most items damaged by floodwaters become unsafe and need to be replaced.

Power outages are almost always uneventful, but it is best to be prepared. Candles are an excellent source of light, but they should never be left burning unattended. Avoid accidental fires by being vigilant when burning candles during a power outage.

Unplug your electrical equipment. A single power surge can destroy computers and stereo equipment. Once the power is on again, plug in only one item at a time.

Spring is a wonderful and beautiful season. It is the perfect time to pay attention to your home and garden and ensure that the rest of your year will be free of danger. Protect your assets against the damage caused by springtime storms and heavy rainfall that are common in many areas during April and May. If you take preventative measures now, you can relax knowing that you have taken the necessary steps to increase the beauty and safety of your home and garden.