100% Free Consultation 903-597-6000

Safety Tips for Cutting Downed Trees: A Comprehensive Guide

Jun 5, 2024 - Personal Injury by

Picture of person cutting a downed tree.

After a significant storm, the landscape can be littered with downed trees and branches, posing risks to both property and personal safety.

Removing these downed trees requires careful planning, the right tools, and adherence to safety protocols to prevent injuries. Here’s a guide on how to safely cut and remove downed trees.

Tools You Will Need

  • Chainsaw: A powerful and reliable chainsaw is essential for cutting through large trunks and branches. Ensure it’s well-maintained and sharpened.
  • Hand Saw: Useful for smaller branches or when precision is required.
  • Axe or Hatchet: For chopping smaller pieces and clearing minor debris.
  • Wedges: To help prevent the saw from getting pinched and to control the direction of the fall when cutting.
  • Rope and Pulley System: To help maneuver large sections safely.
  • Wheelbarrow or Log Carrier: For transporting cut sections.

Safety Gear

  • Helmet: To protect your head from falling branches and debris.
  • Gloves: Sturdy, non-slip gloves to protect your hands and ensure a good grip on tools.
  • Safety Goggles: To protect your eyes from wood chips and dust.
  • Ear Protection: Chainsaws and other power tools can be loud, so ear protection is crucial.
  • Steel-Toe Boots: To protect your feet from heavy logs and tools.
  • Protective Clothing: Wear long sleeves and pants made of durable material to shield your skin from cuts and abrasions.

Comprehensive Safety Tips

  • Assess the Situation: Before you start, carefully inspect the tree and surrounding area. Look for hazards like power lines, hanging branches, and unstable ground.
  • Identify Tension and Compression Points: Trees often have areas under tension (stretched fibers) and compression (compressed fibers) due to the way they fell. Cutting these incorrectly can cause sudden movements.
    • Tension Side: Make a cut on the side where the fibers are being stretched. This helps to release the tension safely.
    • Compression Side: Follow with a cut on the side where the fibers are compressed. This prevents the tree from pinching your saw.
  • Plan Your Cuts: Decide on the direction you want the tree or branches to fall. Clear the area of any obstacles and ensure you have a clear escape route.
  • Check for Power Lines: Never attempt to cut trees near power lines. If there are any downed lines, contact the utility company immediately.
  • Use the Right Technique: When using a chainsaw, start with a notch cut on the side of the tree facing the direction you want it to fall. Then make a felling cut from the opposite side, slightly above the notch cut.
  • Avoid Cutting Above Shoulder Height: This reduces the risk of losing control of the saw and causing injury.
  • Watch for Rollaway: After cutting, logs can roll away unexpectedly, especially on uneven ground. Stand clear of the log’s path and use wedges or braces to prevent movement.
  • Stay Alert: Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Trees and branches can behave unpredictably when cut.
  • Never Work Alone: Always have someone with you who can assist and call for help if necessary.
  • Keep First Aid Handy: Have a first aid kit nearby in case of minor injuries, and know the emergency numbers to call in case of severe accidents.

Handling Tension and Compression

Understanding tension and compression in the wood is crucial for safe cutting:

  • Tension: When fibers are being pulled apart, they are under tension. This can cause the tree to snap back unexpectedly when cut.
  • Compression: When fibers are being pushed together, they are under compression. This can cause the tree to collapse or the saw to get pinched.

To Safely Cut:

  • Relieve Tension First: Make small, controlled cuts on the tension side to release the stress gradually.
  • Finish with Compression Cuts: Once tension is relieved, cut the compression side to avoid pinching and ensure controlled movement.

After the Job

Once the tree is down and cut into manageable pieces, clean up the area thoroughly. Remove all debris to prevent trips and falls, and properly store your tools.

By following these guidelines and using the right equipment, you can safely and efficiently remove downed trees after a storm, restoring order to your property while minimizing risks.

For more detailed advice or assistance, consider consulting a professional arborist, especially for large or dangerous trees. Remember, safety always comes first.

About The Author

Free, Confidential Case Review

Find out how we can help you. Get started now by filling out the form below or by calling (903) 597-6000. Your case review is free and confidential.

Contact Us (Standard)
Your Name
Your Name

Our Personal Injury Lawyers Are Featured in the Top 100 Personal Injury Trial Lawyers Our Personal Injury Attorneys Have Been Texas Super Lawyers for Decades Our Personal Injury Attorneys Have Been Recipients of the Mult-Million Dollar Advocates Award for Personal Injury Lawyers

From one former client:
"I am so happy to have chosen the best law firm around. The staff is amazing in handling your questions promptly. I hope I don't ever need them again, but if I do, there is no question I will be back. Thank y'all so much for helping me." - Heather N.