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| Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn

With the skies clear after last week’s nor’easter, attention is turning to cleanup – especially the hundreds of trees and thousands of large limbs that were felled throughout Hampton Roads.

The Norfolk Botanical Garden alone lost about 40 large trees, The Virginian-Pilot reported. Local, state and federal officials are still trying to put together a comprehensive regional tally.

Where there are downed trees, chain saws are sure to follow. However, the proliferation of chain saws means many of them are being operated by inexperienced users. This is not unlike the danger presented by generators, which I wrote about in a previous post.

And the chain saws can be more dangerous than the storm. After Hurricane Hugo, two people died from chainsaw injuries, according to Virginia Cooperative Extension at Virginia Tech.

The extension office has this advice for people dealing with downed trees:

• Ask yourself if you really need a chain saw. Branches and limbs four or fewer inches in diameter are poorly-suited to a chain saw and should be cut with a hand saw or an axe.

• Wear the proper clothing and safety gear. This includes safety glasses or goggles, heavy-duty, non-slip gloves, non-slip shoes, hearing protection, clothes that do not hang loose, long-sleeve shirt and pants, and a hard hat.

• Avoid kickback – when a saw comes back at the operator because the saw’s nose hits an obstruction. Hold the saw firmly with both hands, use a saw with a chain brake or kickback guard, don’t cut at a height above your shoulder, and keep the chain sharp.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers.

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