In the aftermath of a storm, many homeowners take the DIY approach when clearing debris from their properties. This approach, however, can be risky, especially when removing downed trees or tree limbs.
Outdoor power product manufacturer Husqvarna recommends the following tips for a safe storm cleanup:
Purchase power tools – and get adequate training for them – before a crisis strikes. Check with your local outdoor power product retailer for course recommendations, and supplement training by viewing online videos. And don't forget to thoroughly read the manufacturer's owner's manual.
“You aren’t going to go buy safety equipment right after a storm if you can’t get out of your driveway,” says Dante Terzigni of Do-Cut Sales and Service in Youngstown, Ohio.
Don't use a chainsaw without a complete regimen of personal protective equipment (PPE). Essential elements include a helmet, a visor and protective glasses to avoid scratches and sawdust spray, earmuffs to protect against harmful loud noises, chaps, work gloves and protective boots.
Before you begin removing tree debris, assess the full scope of damage. Create a plan for how to prioritize the work.
“Carefully walk the property and look for downed power lines,” says Mike Hope, a certified arborist in Cape Cod, Mass. "Never cut a tree that is laying on or touching a power line."
Don't volunteer for a job you're unprepared to handle. Tackle tasks you can comfortably and safely undertake. Be sure to take plenty of breaks and stay hydrated.
When operating a chainsaw, it is best to start on flat ground, with the chain brake engaged. Don't "cut" corners during cleanup efforts.
Ongoing maintenance is critical. Pause often to clean filters and tighten chains.
"It's wise to have extra chains and files to sharpen them," says Bill Johnson of Coastal Equipment Rentals in Cape Cod, Mass. "Many downed trees are in the dirt and chains can dull quickly."
Published with permission from RISMedia.