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Hudson - Litchfield News 4 Home Improvement - October 15, 2010

Cleaning up after a storm? Follow these chain saw safety tips I

n the aftermath of a storm, yards are often littered with fallen trees, broken branches and scattered debris, leaving a gi- ant mess for homeowners to clean up. Homeowners often handle much of the cleanup on their own, with tools they aren’t comfortable or experienced using. Prior to using a chain saw or other outdoor power tools for

cleanup, make sure to review the operator’s manual and follow suggested guidelines to remove fallen trees. Post-storm cleanup can present risks. Remington(R), a leading manufacturer of battery and electric power tools, has com- piled this safety check list for safe storm cleanup: * Assure the saw’s chain is properly tensioned before each

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use and all fasteners, controls and safety features are functioning properly.

* Make sure the bar and chain

are always lubricated to prevent the saw from wearing out or cutting poorly. Never let the oil reservoir run out or it will ruin your chain. * Start the saw while standing on the ground and always hold the handles securely.

* Clear debris and small tree limbs from the saw’s chain path, and beware of nails and other metal before cutting. * Avoid saw “kick back,” to

prevent a serious chain saw injury. Never let the tip of the bar come in contact with anything. Always reference the operator’s manual for proper chainsaw operation. When cleaning up your yard after a storm, injury prevention is the most important factor to keep in mind. Follow these cleanup activities and safety tips once the storm subsides: * Check the area. Walk around

your property to inspect overall damage and take pictures as docu- mentation. Check overhead for downed power lines and hanging branches. Never touch a power line that appears to be down or hanging. Instead, call your power company immediately to report the problem. * Wear protective gear. Elimi- nate injuries by dressing appro- priately using protective eyewear, hearing protection, durable gloves, waterproof steel toe boots and a hard hat. Avoid wearing loose clothing, jewelry or dangling objects that might become tangled in machinery.

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* Cleanup takes time. After a

severe storm it’s not uncommon for homeowners to be anxious to get things back to normal quickly. Chain saw use is a high-risk activ- ity and requires focus, awareness and patience to avoid injury or further damage. It may take days or months to clean up. Take your time and take breaks when you feel tired or your muscles are fatigued.

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Use a chain saw to remove branches weakened by the storm but still attached. Examine upper canopies for irregular branches and remove these branches with extreme caution. Bowed or stressed branches can easily snap and cause severe injury. Make sure to cut in a location that will eliminate exposure to unexpected breaking limbs. * Practice extreme caution.

Never work with a saw on a lad- der near a downed power line. Ask a family member or neighbor to be present while using a chain saw in case of an emergency, and maintain a safe distance of 50 feet from all bystanders. Fallen and leaning trees can be extremely dangerous if they have not yet come to rest on the ground. If you are unsure or inexperienced, call a certified arborist to remove trees

safely and professionally. If haz- ardous branches are overhanging a sidewalk or curb, set up cones to alert pedestrians of the hazard. * Use common sense. Prevent serious or fatal injuries, never use a chain saw when your balance is compromised, while up in a tree or on a roof. Don’t risk your safety, always allow a professional to do the job. If you’re researching the right tools for your type of yard cleanup and are considering electric and battery-powered options, two to consider are the Remington 18- inch Lift & Dial Chain Saw, which is ideal for removing branches and foliage from trees after a storm. For smaller jobs, the more lightweight, 16-inch model with a high power-to-weight ratio, makes it easy to cut at all angles. For hard-to-reach jobs, use a pole saw with telescoping poles for easily removing branches. The RM1015 has a 15-foot reach capability and a 10-inch low kickback bar and chain. For lower branches try the RM0812P pole saw, weighing only 7.5 pounds, with a 12-foot reach capability and an 8-inch low kickback bar and chain. Remington products are available at, Walmart and Menards.

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