Staying safe while cleaning up storm debris from your home

Storm cleanup across Central Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As a result of recent weather, many will be spending the weekend cleaning up. While removing trees and debris from your home may be necessary, experts remind residents to be safe about it.

"We’ve had trees into houses, shingles have been blown off…Several times today we’ve gotten up on roofs, tried to help people and cover those holes in their houses,” Henrico Battalion Chief Doug Reynolds said.

He is reminding those cleaning up this weekend to do so safely.

"If there’s any power lines down, always remember to treat them as they’re live…That thing could be laying on your chain link fence on the other side of the yard, but it could energize that whole fence. You’ve got to keep the kids away and don’t grab it because you could get electrocuted,” he advised.

He also reminds chainsaws can be a big help or a big hurt.

"I’ve been on calls and actually seen where it had kicked up, hit the guy right between the eyes and made a big mess. We’ve seen people that cut their legs and whatnot. It is very, very dangerous…You want to make sure you’re wearing the proper shoes, pants, eye protection. There’s a lot of sawdust flying around and woodchips,” he said.

Reynolds also recommends discussing with your family how to shut off the water and electricity before the next storm.

"In case of that tree falling into the second floor of the house, all of a sudden the electrical wires are compromised, broken pipes could hit the bathroom, and all of a sudden there’s a flood of water coming into your house. Know how to turn that water off at the house…In an emergency, you don’t want to be running around in a circle trying to find it,” he said.

When in doubt, the chief says don’t hesitate to leave it to the pros.

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