An average of 20 hunters per year die, and many others are permanently impaired by disabilities, because of tree stand falls. That’s why August is Tree Stand Safety Awareness Month, so hunters remember to brush up on essential tree stand safety practices. Hunter Ed supports Tree Stand Safety Awareness Month, and has a few simple tips to keep hunters safe.

Tree stand falls are the number one cause of serious injuries or death to deer hunters, but they are preventable if you follow these basic steps.

1. Wear a fall-arrest system, which includes a full-body harness.

2. Stay connected to the tree the whole time you are off the ground.

3. See that your buddies do the same.

Tree stand harnesses are one part of a fall-arrest system (FAS). Components should include a full-body harness, a lineman’s-style belt (or a climbing belt), a tree strap, a tether, a suspension-relief strap, and a lifeline system. When used properly, these components can protect hunters from a dangerous fall. Always follow manufacturer recommendations when using your FAS.

Any hunter who can’t wear an FAS properly should stay on the ground.

You and those you hunt with should always use a full-body harness and lineman’s-style belt or lifeline to stay connected to the tree from the time you leave the ground until you get back down. Following these simple steps can save lives.