Use Chainsaws Safely During Storm Cleanup

Accidents while using chainsaws during storm cleanup are frequent and often lead to severe injuries.  Most accidents are caused by contact with the moving chain, and most deaths happen when operators are struck by a falling limb or tree during the cutting process.  Here are tips for using chainsaws safely during cleanup from Hurricane Irene.

  • Chainsaw operators must wear/use protective equipment, including:
    • Hard hat
    • Eye protection (safety glasses or goggles)
    • Hearing protection
    • Leather work gloves
    • Cut-resistant leg wear (chaps, leggings, pants) with two-inch boot overlap
    • Sturdy boots, preferably steel-toed
  • Make sure the chain brake is on when:
    • Starting the saw
    • Both hands are not on the saw, or
    • Taking more than two steps
  • Before starting the saw:
    • Size up the tree
    • Watch for hazards around the tree
    • Cut only when it’s safe to do so
  • Starting the saw:
    • Place the saw on the ground
    • Place the toe of your boot through the back handle to hold the saw down
    • Hold the front handle with your left hand
    • Use your right hand to pull the start cord using a fast but short stroke

Go to for additional information and safety tips.

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About Fairfax County Emergency Information

Official emergency information about preparedness, response and recovery from Fairfax County Government.