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MEMA Home > Programs> Communication> News > Safety During Storm Recovery

Safety During Storm Recovery


April 18, 2007

12:00 PM


AUGUSTA-- As Maine begins to recover from the Patriot’s Day storm that slammed the state, the Maine Emergency Management Agency and the Maine Department of Labor are urging people to take responsibility for person safety during clean-up operations.

Chain saw safety, wood chipper safety, tree-trimming and removal, and dealing with mold resulting from high water all carry potential safety dangers.

Chain Saw Safety:

Fueling the saw

  • Do not smoke while fueling the chain saw!
  • Use a funnel or flexible hose
  • Never attempt to fuel a hot or running chain saw

Personal protection

  • Be sure you have, and wear, hand, foot, leg, eye, face, hearing and head protective equipment any time you use a chain saw

Before starting the saw:

  • Check the controls, chain tension, and bolts and handles for proper adjustment
  • Make sure the chain is sharp and the lubrication reservoir is full
  • Start the chain on the ground
  • Start the saw at least ten feet from the fueling area
  • Be sure the chain-brake is on during starting

Using the saw:

  • Clear dirt, debris, limbs and rocks from the path of the saw before cutting
  • Check the tree for nails, spikes or other metal before cutting
  • Be sure your footing is secure before and during cutting
  • Keep your hands on the saw handles while cutting
  • Cut so the trunk or tree limbs will not bind against the saw.
  • Beware of branches under tension that may spring out when cut.
  • Avoid saw kick-back by sawing with the blade, not the tip of the saw.

Tree Shipper Safety

  • Maintain a safe distance between the chipper and other work or workers
  • Be sure wheels of portable chippers are chocked so they cannot move while chipping
  • Use ear plugs, safety glasses, hard hats and gloves.
  • Never reach into a chipper while it is operating!
  • Do not wear loose-fitting clothes around a chipper.

Tree Trimming and Removal:

  • Work within 10 feet of power lines must be done by trained professionals.
  • Do not attempt to trim or remove trees near power lines yourself!
  • Do not attempt to trim or remove trees in dangerous weather conditions
  • Determine the direction trees or limbs will fall before you start removing them.
  • Be especially careful around bent, twisted or leaning trees.
  • Be extra cautious around trees hung up in other trees.
  • Always wear personal protective equipment.
  • Never turn your back on a falling tree – it may kick, snap or bounce in unexpected ways.
  • Be alert for objects falling from or thrown back by a tree as it falls.
  • Identify a retreat path to a safe location before starting trimming or removal of any kind.

Mold Hazards

Following flooding or unusual water levels, mold growth can become a hazard. When present in large quantities, mold organisms can cause adverse health effects including sneezing, runny nose, eye irritation, cough and congestion and skin rash.

Mold usually appears as colored, wooly mats and often produce a foul, musty smell. To prevent mold growth:

  • Remove excess moisture with a wet-dry vacuum.
  • Dry out the building as quickly as possible.
  • Use fans to assist in the drying process
  • Clean wet materials and surfaces with detergents and water
  • Disinfect cleaned surfaces with to 1 cup household bleach in one gallon of water.

Caution: Do not mix bleach with other cleaning products containing ammonia. Use breathing, hand and eye protection during cleaning.

Following any emergency, additional injuries occur as people begin cleaning up and repairing their property. Follow safety precautions and take the time needed to stay safe during any clean-up procedures.



Lynette Miller


Last update: 07/20/10