Storms and tornadoes have swept through our local area and the surrounding areas as of late and hurricane season is on it's way before we know it. That means it's a great time to plan ahead for what to do when the unfortunate task of storm cleanup is at hand.
For those who are not accustomed to using chainsaws, or those who own one but use it rarely - don’t wait until you are called into action to become educated on the proper use of a chainsaw! It's best to know chainsaw safety practices before wielding these useful, powerful, but potentially dangerous tools.
- Know your limits
If you are a beginner, don’t tackle a task that’s too tough. Leave the felling of large trees to more experienced users. If many trees are already down after a storm, you will get plenty of work limbing, or removing branches from the stem of a felled tree.
- Read the manual
If you have access to the operator’s manual, take a few minutes to read it – and closely follow the instructions and advice provided.
- Starting the engine
When starting the engine for the first time, place the saw on a flat surface on the ground. Place your right foot in the rear handle for better support, and keep a firm grip on the front handle with your left hand. Activate the chain break, activate the choke and then pull the starter handle with your right hand. Repeat until the engine fires. Push the choke (half-throttle) and pull until the saw starts, accelerate so that the engine idles and then release the chain brake.
- How to stand
It’s vital to stay in balance. When limbing, stand with your feet planted firmly on the ground, comfortably apart and at a 45-degree angle to the trunk. Try not to move your feet while in the process of limbing, and make sure you have ample reach at all times.
- Bend your knees
You can avoid back soreness by bending your knees slightly while cutting, especially in low positions. Try to avoid bending your back when operating the chainsaw for long periods of time.
- Keep your distance
If working in close proximity to others, make sure you stay at least 10 feet apart, and always alert those around you of your presence.
- Take your time
Stand on the left side of the tree trunk and begin limbing on the right side. Work calmly and methodically, branch by branch. Saw with a pulling or pushing chain depending on the direction you apply the guide bar and how much the branch weighs. Limb the trunk on the right side, top and left side from the position you are standing. Then move forward carefully to the next round of branches, and repeat the process.
- Moving safely
When you are finished in one area, and moving short distances, make sure the chain is stationary. Hold the saw firmly, with one hand on each handle. If moving longer distances, activate the chain brake first.
- Avoid kickback
Kickback can occur if the saw is not handled carefully. You can avoid the greatest risk of kickback simply by avoiding any cutting using the tip, or nose, of the chainsaw. Keep you thumbs and fingers wrapped around the handles at all times.
With these pointers, you will be well versed in chainsaw usage in no time.
Stay safe out there!