100: Safety Tips for the Homestead and Beyond
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Keeping yourself safe on the homestead is important! Today we’re giving lots of homestead safety tips, and also some tips for safety when you’re away from the homestead. I hope you find them helpful. If you have any others to suggest, please leave them in the comments!
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Safety on the homestead
Thankfully, there is no shortage of homestead safety tips, and there are probably a gazillion tips that could be added to this blog post! We could do a whole episode on homestead kitchen safety, homestead barn safety, or homestead equipment safety. Many of the homestead safety tips below could be fleshed out into their own blog post, which means this article is basically a sort of checklist where you can say yep, I’m on top of that, or wait, I need to research that tip a little bit more.
And remember, friends—there is a huge difference between being paranoid and being prepared.
Homestead safety tips
Get a dog. Dogs are nature’s alarm system. They are sure to tell you when something or someone is in the yard, in your house, or when something just isn’t right.
Use security cameras. I wasn’t a fan of these when we first got them at our farm because they felt like an invasion of my peaceful utopia, but it turns out they are a really good way to ensure your utopia stays peaceful. (Or to know exactly what happened if that utopia was breached.)
Put up gates and fences. Will a gate or fence always stop someone from trying to access your property? Not necessarily. But will it slow them down? Yes, it will.
Have a way to defend yourself. Firearms as a way to protect your family and your homestead. If this is something you’re interested in or want to know more about, you can visit my other Facebook page Ready Amy Fire Away or join my private Facebook group Amy’s Private Range: The Round(s) Table.
Teach your kids firearms safety. Firearms safety is important for everyone. Check out this explanation of the basic rules of firearms safety from another site I run.
If you’re leaving your homestead on vacation, don’t broadcast it all over social. Don’t let people know your homestead is empty or that you’ve got a friend “checking on it” while you’re gone. No one needs to know how great your vacation was until you get back home.
Make sure your equipment and tools are in working order. Keep up on maintenance. Fix what needs to be fixed as soon as you realize it’s broken. Remember, a dull knife is much more dangerous than a sharp one.
Teach the members of your homestead know how to use the equipment and tools. Not only will this increase productivity because more people will have the know how to complete a task, it is also helpful to help get you out of a bind if you find yourself in a mess with a piece of equipment.
Have a storm or disaster plan for people and animals. Know what’s going to happen in an emergency if one should arrive, not just for the people in your house, but the animals on your homestead.
Keep animals safe from predators. Different homesteads deal with different kinds of predators. Be open to suggestions from others in how to remedy those situations.
Lock your doors house and car. Yes, even if you live in the country on a dead end dirt road.
Take keys out of equipment—tractor ATVs, skidloader, etc. Yes, even if you live in the country on a dead end dirt road.
Hang up your keys in the same spot. Always. If there is an emergency and you have to leave fast you don’t want to be hunting down keys in coat pockets, mom’s purse, the table, the bedroom…
Be careful of the temptation to do a homestead tour (or videoing everywhere/thing on your property to post online.) This is hard, we’ve got some YouTubers that have basically made a TV show of their farm. If you’re showing off the equipment you have, be aware that people know what you’ve got. And not everyone has their head on straight like you.
Be careful what you post on online. People don’t need to know everything. Just like we talked about in Being the Gray Man, you don’t have to comment on everything, give your opinion on everything, tell everyone what you’re storing, or what you just bought. Think about stuff before you post it, and then think about it again…
Be a good neighbor. Borrow and lend that cup of sugar. Watch out for each other. Work out potential disputes as quickly as possible.
Consider the ramifications of strangers coming by your house to buy eggs. Are you someone who sells chicken eggs or other farm goodies? Maybe you’ve put a stand up at the end your driveway…or maybe you’ve invited them all the way onto your porch fridge when you’re not even home. Be aware of what you may be allowing by selling to strangers who just “stop by”.
Pay attention to the weather. Weather apps are nice and that radar might be colorful, but don’t rely on it. It’s not always right. Know some old fashioned weather prediction tips.
Don’t get complacent, especially those of you who live in the country. Some people might think that living in the middle of nowhere on a dead end road is what will keep you safe. But sometimes, people who intend to do harm find the fact that you’re in the middle of nowhere pretty darn enticing.
Homestead safety tips from the farmish audience
Thank you so much to my farmish readers and listeners for providing the following safety tips via Facebook, Instagram, and email!
Always envision the worst thing that could happen when using farm equipment so that you are as safe as possible and your reflexes are heightened. – Patricia
Assume every electric fence is hot even if the fencer is unhooked! – Becky
If an animal pins its ears back, you had better be moving for a way out or onto the fence. – Becky
Be finished when the sun goes down. Accidents happen in the dark. No pun intended. – Kristine
Never forget that the livestock you’re working with is first and foremost an animal with animal instincts. That it outweighs you by hundreds of pounds, gets startled easily, is capable of severe injury or death to you even if you did raise it from birth. Always be aware of your surroundings when working with animals. – Penelope
Always be aware of your surroundings. Trip hazards, animals, suspicious looking people. – Dee
Predator safety….Lights so you can see what you are up against…Did I mention predator alert…..Been caught unprepared and off guard too many times from something as simple as reaching my hand out or walking around a corner and boom critter alert….. -Annette
A good pair of muck boots, snake safety! -Heather
Get to know your neighbors. – Jamie
Proper first aid training for all adults. – Meagan
Don’t drink and feed chickens! – Michelle (who later explained you will trip over a chicken, try not to fall on them, then hit the electric fence!)
Being safe on the homestead means being prepared!
Be prepared for anything. Like when you open the chicken coop in the morning and are faced with a giant owl staring at you from a perch. – Susan
Always take your phone with you. -Amy
Have a back up to your back up plan in case you get locked in your coop. – Heather
Don’t eat the yellow snow! – Chris (which is a great segue into make sure you know what wild plants are edible or poisonous on your homestead!)
First aid kits everywhere. In every car/truck, house, barn. Same with fire extinguishers. – Carina
I live on a highway. Not a busy highway, but enough traffic that I don’t know everyone. I keep the gate on the driveway closed with a bungee cord. To get onto my property, you’ve got to stop and fiddle with this gate, in full view of the house. Friendly folks have no issues with that. People with other ideas don’t like that and choose a other house. Anyone touching the gate gets barked at by the dogs too, so that helps. – Becky’sBorealFarm
Keep vehicles locked at night. Just because you live way out in the country doesn’t mean thieves won’t look for an easy score! – PastureDeficitDisorder
Always have a phone or two way radio on you, especially on a farm or homestead. Two way radios are better in my opinion because our cell signal isn’t always very reliable. But having some way to contact someone while you’re “just doing __ chore.” You never know what can happen. You could encounter a predator, you could fall or get hurt, etc. How long will it be before someone realizes you’ve been gone too long?- PastureDeficitDisorder
This may sound a little over the top to some, but if you have firearms, know what they are and what they’re used for. I heard a shot go off one time when hubby was out watering trees. I ran to the front door and yelled “what do you need?” He replied shotgun! So I grabbed the shot gun from the safe and was out the door. He had a very aggressive copperhead coming right at him! Another time there were feral hogs tearing up our pasture and he wanted his .223 rifle. It’s kind of like a timed drill. And he says he’s calling in the calvary backup. I grab the firearm, my holster belt, and if at night, a strong spotlight and come running. – PastureDeficitDisorder
Best safety tips I can think of immediately are squeaky gates and dogs that only bark at things bigger than they are. – Matt
Gated access. Big dogs. We live in the country and visitors are never not of the shady variety. Make sure everyone in your family has first aid training. Keep first aid supplies (even for animals) in all the places (house, vehicle, shop, barn). Make sure everyone in your home knows how to use the long guns you have on hand. (Have long guns on hand!). Keep flashlights and emergency supplies stocked and batteried up. If possible, have adequate yard lights. If you live near standing timber or open fields, have your family knowledgeable on how to use fire suppression systems you have on hand (hoses, pumps, piss cans, extinguishers). Keep a watch on your neighbours and vise versa. That’s all I’ve got off the top of my head. – Fairly Homestead
Be safe and be smart on the homestead.
Security cameras came in really handy for us recently. Roosters make great alarm systems, since they crow every time something enters or exits the property within an acre of them (including vehicles pulling in the driveway at night). I always have a pocketknife on me just in case, because it can come in handy in many situations, whether at home, on a road trip, or other places. – Crafts and Crabgrass
I’m amazed at how different things are in the US (we’re in Spain). Our wildlife is mostly small enough to be scared off by a dog (I don’t even know anyone living off-grid around here who owns a shotgun), and we’ve never had visitors of the shady variety (knocking on wood!). When I think safety, I’m thinking “don’t get overconfident using the chainsaw” or even “don’t use the chainsaw unless there’s someone else around to take action in case of accidents”… and “always have a car around for emergency evacuation”. We’ve had farm sitting candidates insisting they wouldn’t need a car while we were gone, but they obviously don’t how far away from everything we live! – Sunny Simple Living
From simple: Proper attire, the wrong clothing can cause injuries! Super Important: we taught our littles to stay in the yard (porch, shop, etc) and wave to daddy (insert whomever) when he pulled in the yard in a tractor and not approach until daddy stopped the tractor and waved back. Be it a tractor, truck or pick up the goal was to make sure the driver saw the kids and the kids didn’t run to the driver until they were parked! -AgSwag509
Be aware of your surroundings at ALL times. Be it cooking in the kitchen, bending down to pick something up & being too close enough to an animal to receiving a kick, a poisonous nope rope approaching you, or a human trespassing, KNOW what’s going on while you’re inside or outside working. – Sticky Holler Farm
When operating equipment make sure you wear the proper safety gear. Wear long sleeves and gloves when clearing a out bushes. Goats are known escape artists, so fencing with 2×4 inch space so they can’t put their head through the fence. Goats need plenty to keep them busy in their pen, then they will be less likely to escape. -Tammy
As far as homestead/life safety; storm preparation. We live in SW Missouri, north end of tornado alley and having storm kits for our 9 & 11 year olds, our 2 dogs, and ourselves is vital. We’re blessed to have a storm shelter but an empty shelter isn’t preparedness. We have emergency food (rotated with our household pantry), toilet facilities, busy bags for kids, lighting, heating, etc. Not to mention educating the kids on what to do and staying calm under pressure if they’re home alone and what to do after the storm passes. A plan is great but an executed plan is better. – Angela
Any time I am working on the homestead I have a lanyard around my neck that has a whistle, a knife, and a spare key to the house. The lanyard is under my shirt. In my pants pocket there is a small & very handy flashlight. The whistle has come in handy when the goats caught me off guard and I ended up with with a sprained knee. Our cell service can be spotty. The knife is able to be gotten to with either hand. I used to only carry a Swiss Army knife in my dominant hand pants pocket when I got my sleeve and dominant hand caught in a piece of machinery & had nothing to cut myself free. Just make sure that the knife can easily be manipulated with the non-dominant hand.
The spare key has come in handy when the “kids” decided to leave the house and lock the door on the way out. – “A.”
In regards to your safety discussion, my sister and I were recently talking about how to safely have visitors to the farm. Meaning home school groups or church groups. Our discussion included ideas about tasks that anyone could do, how to instruct animal interactions for individuals that are unfamiliar with animals and how to ensure that the animals are secure/safe/comfortable with visitors. – Julia
Safety tips for off the homestead
It’s worth doing a reminder of safety tips for off the homestead, right? Because when we are safe away from the homestead, it means we get to go back to the homestead. And who doesn’t love being at their homestead?
Get your face out of your phone. It has become habit to stick our phone in our face while we are standing in line, sitting on a bench waiting, walking to our car, etc. Break this habit. Seriously. People with intent to do harm look for people who aren’t paying attention.
Walk confidently, make eye contact with people. And if you don’t know where you are? Act like you do.
Pay attention to what’s going on around you. Read that again. And again.
Don’t be a cat. Don’t be a gawker. Curiosity killed the cat. Be aware of what’s happening, but you don’t need to keep watching what’s going on over there if it doesn’t involve you.
Pay attention to your gut feeling. You have it for a reason. Don’t second guess it because you think someone will laugh at you. You do not want to be the person who says “I should have listened to my gut…”
Study body language. And then watch people. Body language tells you so much about a person’s mood, and often times their “intent”.
Be the bigger person. Don’t get involved in fights, put away your ego, walk away
Always carry cash. In the event your intuition tells you it’s time to leave, cash allows you toss money on the table to pay for a tab and walk away before “it” hits the fan.
Make a family plan. Have open discussions with your family members about the state of the world. That doesn’t mean doom and gloom—there is a difference between that and realism. Be prepared, not paranoid. Know, as a family, what you would do in certain situations.
Make situational awareness a game. How many people walking by are wearing yellow? How many people in the store with you are wearing a hat? How many patrons in the restaurant have their face in their cell phone? How many different exits are visible from where I’m standing? Notice people. Notice things. Notice the space you’re in.
Stop making your vehicle a billboard. Every time you add a stick family decal or a proud parent of star student at XYZ school bumper sticker, you’re telling strangers things they don’t necessarily need to know about your family.
Consider using a tracker app (Life 360, find my friends). My family uses these, not necessarily because we want to constantly stalk each other, but because it has helped us in situations where we needed to know a family member’s location.
I hope these tips for homestead safety (and safety while you’re out and about!) are helpful! Share them with a friend! And if you have any tips you’d like to add, leave them in the comments, or drop me an email at [email protected]
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