Commonwealth Joint Information Center
Emergency Officials Urge Caution When Using Chainsaws
FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 6, 2012) – State and local officials are urging citizens to be extremely cautious if using chainsaws and other power tools when removing storm debris from their property and along with the Kentucky Division of Forestry offer these safety tips:
•Wear the appropriate protective equipment, including hard hat, safety glasses, hearing protection, heavy work gloves, cut-resistant leg wear (chainsaw chaps) that extend from the waist to the top of the foot and boots which cover the ankle.
•Look up before walking beneath trees after a storm. Broken tree limbs may still be lodged in trees, but can easily fall. These are referred to as “widowmakers” for good reason.
•When a tree is uprooted or downed, it creates an unnatural pattern of pressure points and tension. An unknowing chainsaw operator may be in severe danger if attempting to cut a tensioned limb or trunk (called a “springpole”) – it may have an extremely violent, catapult-like reaction. Consult a professional.
•Watch for downed utility lines and never try to move them without professional assistance. Phone lines can also carry an electric charge.
•Properly sharpen chainsaw blades and properly lubricate the blade with bar and chain oil. Additionally, the operator should periodically check and adjust the tension of the chainsaw blade to ensure good cutting action.
•Choose the proper size of chainsaw to match the job, and include safety features such as a chain brake, front and rear hand guards, stop switch, chain catcher and a spark arrester.
•Avoid contact with power lines until the lines are verified as being de-energized.
•Always cut at waist level or below to ensure that you maintain secure control over the chainsaw.
•Bystanders or coworkers should remain at least 2 tree lengths (at least 150 feet) away from anyone felling a tree and at least 30 feet from anyone operating a chainsaw to remove limbs or cut a fallen tree
•If injury occurs, apply direct pressure over site(s) of heavy bleeding. This act may save lives.
As residents begin reentering damaged buildings, caution should be used. Never reenter until the structure has been inspected and deemed safe by a qualified person. Be sure electric and gas has been shut off or is disconnected. These and other safety tips on returning to your damaged home and property can be found at http://www.fema.gov/rebuild/recover/return.shtm .
For media updates, contact the Commonwealth Joint Information Center at 502-607-6901, 502-607-6903, or 502-607-6904.
Additional tornado aftermath safety tips can be found on the Occupational Safety and Administrations web page at http://www.osha.gov/dts/weather/tornado/response.html and disaster specific information can be found on the Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM) website at www.kyem.ky.gov.