Fall's 5 Most Dangerous Chores

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Cleaning the gutter

Hiring a gutter-cleaning service is by far the safest way to handle gutter cleaning, but if you do it yourself, invest in rubber ladder stabilizing devices to help minimize ladder movement. Having a partner to help hand items up can also minimize the number of times you need to go up and down a ladder.

Tending the fire

Chimneys should be cleaned or inspected yearly, even if yours doesn't get much use. Animals can make nests in there, and debris from storms can also collect in the shaft. If you plan to use your fireplace, have your chimney inspected by a professional.

Storm damage

Autumn storms that leave debris or downed limbs may require cutting before they can be taken away. If you use a chainsaw or ax, be sure to wear protective eye covering, gloves, and heavy, close-toed shoes. And if you're not savvy with power tools, choose to hire someone to help with this heavy job.

In the clearing

Wood piles and other areas of lawn debris can house bees, wasps, rats, and other unfriendly creatures. Before clearing anything away, inspect the pile for signs of animals. Fleeing rodents may not be as dangerous as a swarm of unhappy stinging insects, but it's still probably a situation you'd like to avoid!

Raking it in

Raking leaves can wreak havoc on the lower back and other areas of the body. If this is one of your yearly rituals, try to pick a dry day for the job, since wet leaves are heavier than dry leaves. Wear a back-bracing or knee brace device if you're no longer in top physical form. Taking breaks to rest, stretch and hydrate can also help.