The personal Safety of our volunteers is of primary importance to us. These guidelines are designed to draw awareness toward certain basic safety issues, and to provide guidelines that will help ensure everyone’s safety while working on the trails. If you ever have a question or a concern regarding safe practices as a Stewardship volunteer, please contact Michael Warren to discuss it. Any injury incurred as a volunteer should be reported promptly to Michael Warren.
If you don’t feel comfortable or capable of doing a job, please let Michael know and he will arrange further training or find volunteer opportunities that better match your interest/skills.
BITING INSECTS/ POISON IVY
When working in an area likely to have ticks
Ticks in this area carry Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, and Powassan Encephalitis. When working in an area likely to have ticks:
- Wear light-colored clothing that fits tightly at the wrists, ankles, and waist. Each outer garment should overlap the one above it. Cover trouser legs with high socks or boots and tuck shirttails inside trousers.
- Spray clothes with an insect repellent. We recommend that all volunteers pre-treat your clothing with a product that contains permethrin. We have permethrin bottles available for volunteers at the Land Trust office. They should be sprayed on clothing only (not skin) and hung to dry, and will last through several wash cycles.
- Spray a tick repellent that contains 20%-40% DEET or Picaradin directly on exposed skin avoiding face and eyes.
- Search your body repeatedly, especially areas with hair and inside your clothing, because ticks usually are on you for several hours before they become firmly attached.
Tick First aid:
- Remove ticks with fine-tipped tweezers, a tick spoon, or your fingers. Grasp the tick as close as possible to the point of attachment and pull straight up, applying gentle pressure. Wash the skin with soap and water, then cleanse with rubbing alcohol. If the tick’s head detaches and breaks off in your skin or if the tick cannot be removed, seek medical attention.
- Once the tick has been removed, place it in an empty container so it can be given to a physician if you experience a reaction. Record the dates of tick exposure and removal. A large red spot or bullseye at the bite is an early sign of trouble. Reactions within 2 weeks of the bite of an infected tick include fever, chills, headache, joint and muscle ache, significant fatigue, and facial paralysis. If you observe any of these symptoms, seek prompt medical attention. If you have any concerns related to a tick bite, please discuss these with your doctor.
For more information on ticks, please see visit: http://www.ticksinmaine.com/faq
Bees, Wasps, and Fire Ants
Some individuals are sensitive to bee and wasp stings and fire ant bites. They may react with a widespread rash, asthmatic breathing, swollen tissue, a drop in blood pressure, or even loss of consciousness. Volunteers with a history of allergic reactions to insect stings and bites should inform Michael Warren.
Poison ivy emits an oil called urushiol. This oil is the toxin that makes you itch. The oil is present on the leaves, stems, and roots of poison ivy whether it is live, dried up, or dead.
When working in areas with poison ivy:
- Know how to recognize and avoid it.
- Provide and apply a barrier lotion (such as Ivy Block) with 5-percent bentoquatam.
- Wear appropriate field attire, including a longsleeved shirt, long pants, and socks.
- Fasten pant legs securely over boot tops.
- Wear gloves and keep them away from your face and other exposed areas of the body. Do not touch your skin with hands, clothes, or equipment that may have contacted toxic plants.
- Do not wash with soap and/or hot water because doing so can remove the natural protective oils from your skin.
Poison Ivy First aid:
- If your skin contacts poison ivy, wash the area with cold water as soon as possible.
- If symptoms appear (inflammation and a rash), apply topical ointments, such as calamine lotion or zinc oxide, for relief from itching.
Chopping tools include axes, adzes, brush hooks, hatchets, machetes, and Pulaskis.
When working with chopping tools:
- Wear appropriate protective equipment (hardhat, eye protection, gloves, and nonskid boots). Wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, as necessary.
- Carry the tool by grasping it around the shoulder of the handle close to the tool head, with your arm hanging naturally at your side. Never carry a chopping tool on your shoulder. Carry the tool on the downhill side so it is more easily discarded in a fall.
- Remove all obstructions that might catch the tool.
- Keep bystanders out of the chopping area.
- Position your body securely while working.
- Use a natural striking action; don’t chop cross handed.
Cutting tools include saws, knives, chisels, files, shears, and snips. They must be handled with care. Wear safety goggles, gloves, and nonskid boots when working with cutting tools. Wear long pants and a longsleeved shirt, as necessary. Make sure tools are properly maintained and in good working condition. Never use a chopping tool to strike a cutting tool.
When working with bow saws:
- Carry a bow saw over your shoulder with the guarded blade to the rear and on the downhill side. Ensure that the cutting edge faces away from your body, even when the guard is in place.
- Examine materials being cut for nails, knots, and other objects that may damage the saw and cause it to buckle. Hold pieces being cut firmly in place. If you are in a workshop, support the ends of long pieces with a bench to prevent the material from pinching at the cut.
- Start with a partial cut, then set the saw at the proper angle. Do not push or force the saw. Begin cutting with light, gentle strokes until the teeth begin forming a kerf (or slot).
- Watch for springpoles (saplings bent over by fallen trees). If you are cutting a sapling that is bound down, be alert; it may snap up suddenly. If there is no need to make the cut, leave the sapling alone.
To operate a chain saw, individuals must have extensive experience, and we encourage taking training/certification courses when possible. The Lands manager will designate the individuals permitted to use chainsaws on the trails best on an individual assessment of their experience level.
When working with a chain:
- Wear a hard hat (ideally with hearing protection), eye protection, and chaps