November 16

Tree Service In The Wake Of Hurricanes

In the wake of devastating hurricanes, such as Hurricane Sandy, arborists and tree service professionals will have their work cut out for them. Servicing a tree after a large storm is a whole different ballgame than your regular, day-to-day tree maintenance and removal.

For starters, working on downed or leaning trees after a storm has much greater risks associated with the work. Trees can be unstable, leaning on power lines, leaning on houses, partially in the street, or in hard to reach places. These are all considerations that need to be planned for when going out into the field as a tree services professional after a storm.

Taking the correct precautionary steps can help prevent accidents from occurring while removing downed or damaged trees:

Assess The Fallen Tree
Before embarking on any removal efforts, you should first fully assess the damage inflicted by the tree. If it landed on your property and car, it’s important that you first contact your insurance company to file a claim. Insurance companies will occasionally pay for removal if the damage is extensive. If the tree did not fall on anything, you will likely be responsible for cleaning it up.

Also be aware of electrical hazards. Any trees on top of electrical wires should not be touched. Notify your electric company immediately because the wires might still be live.

Determine The Type Of Removal
Not all tree removals are the same. While some trees probably have been completely uprooted, others might be leaning to the side or have branches dangling. Small branches can easily be pruned, but larger branches should be handled by professionals. Post-hurricane trees can be volatile, so you should leave any potentially dangerous situations to professionals. Only consider doing something yourself if the tree is completely down.

Use The Proper Equipment
For removing a downed tree, you will need a chain saw and safety gear, including gloves, a helmet, protective glasses, ear plugs and more. Remember to fully follow chain saw safety rules.

Work Outwards-In
The key to removing a fallen tree is to start with the outside branches. Cut the limbs and roots into smaller lengths, so you can remove them. You should be left with only the trunk once you’re done.

Cut Up The Trunk
Finally, you should cut up the trunk into manageable pieces, depending on how thick it is. You will also likely need someone to haul it away, so the size of the chunks will depend on that.

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Following these guidelines during post-storm tree removals is an effective step in mitigating the risk of working on downed or partially downed trees. However, even with the most stringent precautions, and especially after a hurricane that leaves many trees unstable, accidents can happen. Be sure to have an arborist insurance program in place that was designed for the unique needs of arborists in mind to help avoid gaps in coverage.

For more information on arborist insurance and risk management, visit LandPro / TreePro.

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