COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. -- Clean up after a hurricane is one of the most dangerous parts of the storm. Officials in Collier County say the most common and severe injuries result from the misuse of chainsaws.
Here are a few tips to help keep you and your family safe.
• Be sure that you know how to use your chainsaw. If you are inexperienced, call a professional.
• When using a chainsaw, always use the proper safety equipment. This equipment includes eyewear, safety footwear, tightly fitting clothes (to avoid getting clothing caught in the motor), nonslip gloves, hearing protection, and helmet.
• Be aware of your surroundings. Know what hazards are in your way such as power lines and what other people may be present. Keep small children and pets out of harm’s way in the house or supervised while you are using the chainsaw. Be sure you have a secure footing and a planned evacuation path from the falling tree or limb.
• Be sure to match your equipment to your job. Your chainsaw should be the right size and power for the material you are cutting.
• When possible, use a chainsaw with an anti-kickback device mounted on the guide bar.
• If you are using an electric chainsaw, be sure that your extension cord is marked for outdoor use. To ensure that the chainsaw cord and the extension cord do not become detached, tie them together using a bow knot. Also, avoid standing in or dragging the cord through any casual water.
• Never use a damaged or unserviced chainsaw.
• Be sure to keep a firm grip with your fingers encircled on the chainsaw handle and your left arm straight while cutting. Never use the tip of the guidebar to cut. Always bring the chainsaw up to full speed before letting it touch the wood and cut at a steady speed. Do not speed up or slow down the saw while touching the wood.
• Never cut from a ladder.
• Never cut above your chest level.
• Never operate a chainsaw while you are tired, medicated, or under the influence of alcohol.
• Remember that safety is more important than speed.
• If you are using a gas powered chainsaw, be sure to store your gasoline properly. Gasoline and oil need to be stored in airtight containers away from living quarters. Be sure the storage location is cool, dry, and away from open flame or other equipment that may cause a spark. Keep out of the reach of children. Only keep the needed amount on hand to avoid large spills.
• Be aware of temperature in your work area. Physical exertion and heat can cause serious injury, illness, or even death. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids and have someone assess your condition.
• If trees or limbs are under strain or torsion, leave those cuts to the experts.
• Trees on your house and/or with large exposed root cavities should also be left to the professionals.
The Collier County Information Hotline remains active 24-hours a day. Residents with questions may call the Hotline at (239) 252-8444 (within Collier County residents may dial 311). Please note, the call volume may be heavy and information can also be found at colliergov.net or social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter.