Saturday, February 2, 2008

Storm Preparedness Tip - Chainsaws

Winter is here and so are the snow and ice storms that often follow. If you have TREES or live near TREES then you, or at least someone in your neighborhood should have a fully functioning chainsaw and the required safety gear that goes along with it.

We have many years of practical experience with these tools and they have not only proven extremely useful in an emergency like a storm - but can be considered one of the most dangerous in the wrong hands.
Chainsaws will not simply cut your tissue but tear and rip you apart. Having proper safety gear will save your life. If you already have a chainsaw or were contemplating the purchase of one, then think about the following:

  • Will you ever use it for something other than an emergency? If not, then you may consider teaming up with a neighbor that has one and is willing to show you how to use and maintain it. Of course, they may not have any idea about using a chainsaw safely either. In that case it is time to see a dealer that specializes in chainsaws and outdoor equipment and check out the links below for some relevant safety instruction.

  • If you are willing to spend the money then Jonsered, Stihl or Husquevarna are the way to go. The reasons are simple -they are designed and made well and there is a network of dealers where you can get parts and service if you need it - and these saws can cut....especially the Jonsered. Also, the Jonsered has an air filter system that just does not clog no matter what. Stihl has a large selection of chains and the Huskeys can be found at Lowes and Tractor/Farm Supply Stores.

  • Mini Trimming Saws are cheaper and are meant for just that - trimming. Best overall handling is a saw with an 18 inch bar. Even if you are skilled - use the anti-kickback chains on your emergency saw because you may not be the only one using it - you might be injured or sick or out of town and your kid or neighbor somehow ends up with it. So have it outfitted and ready to go with an antikickback chain - usually supplied at time of purchase.

  • Organize Your Tools - there is nothing worse than not having everything needed at your disposal when you need it most - or not being able to find it because they are spread all over your estate. Have either the canvas bag (also great for car kits) or the ammo can (which is waterproof) to maintain you assortment of maintenance gear. You see spare oil mix, touch up sharpening equipment, wedges, gloves, extra safety glasses- for the people helping you out, spark plugs, wrenches specific to your saw, spare chains, a product manual(not pictured) and a supply of chain oil (also not pictured).
  • Label everything you think will help others find the item for you - or if you can't see well up close then do it for that reason.

  • Steel toe or safety shoes (kevlar) with kevlar chaps and sleeves would be the ultimate safety gear to have on and you should get it. Most people will wear Carhart Pants or similar work clothing with maybe a pair of knee pads but be aware that a chain will tear through this and do great damage - to you.

  • Gas cans with mix ratio/your name/ICE sticker/full of mixed fuel and a source of additional fuel if you find you are really in a jamb. A good idea - get the combination gas/oil can made by Wedco ($17) or Scepter ($26) and eliminate carrying extra stuff (KISS).

  • Safety Helmet and Glasses - Required! Hearing Protection - Required! ICE Sticker and Card inside Helmet Pouch - Filled Out in Advance - REAL SMART.
  • ALWAYS have a FIRST AID KIT available near your worksite - not a block away in your house or vehicle - that is a very poor idea. Make sure you have a hemostatic clotting agent in your kit (more on those later). Never use a chainsaw when tired or you become tired from sawing - accidents will happen. Safety Rule of thumb - one tank of or quit.

Some tips for the emergency - locate the gear where it can be found and where others know it is located so THEY can find it. Make sure the tools are fueled and oiled

Make sure your name is on your gear because it has a habit of disappearing in the chaos...make your gear noticeable like using a colored strip of tape as shown in the picture. This will help you find the chain guard amongst the brush as well.

If you are visually impaired and need glasses then by all means get a pair of safety glasses with the bifocal readers if that is what you need ($10 f/Elvex). Have an extra set for a helper.

Try not to mix up gear from other tools in your gear box/bag or you run the risk of someone else screwing up your $350 saw. If you are spared, then maybe you will be helping out neighbors so make sure you clearly spell out the safety rules before you start the saw - being helpful should not mean getting hurt!.

Let's recap - get you gear sharpened and ready, have it located where you and others can find it easily, make sure you know how to use it - read the manual take a course at your local cooperative extension, follow the links below, put your name and identifying marks on it, have your first aid kit ready and use your ICE4SAFETY Stickers to identify the gear as emergency equipment.

Some Important Links To Review on Chainsaw Safety Here:

About.Com: Forestry

North Dakota State University

CDC - Safety With Chainsaws

University of Florida IFAS Extension - see PowerPoint and Video (Graphic)

Florida AgSafe

No comments:

Post a Comment

Want to comment on this blog? Please submit comments that pertain to the subject matter if you would be so kiind. Approved comments will be posted as soon as possible. Thank you.