Tree service companies urge safety when cleaning up after storms

Tree service companies urge safety when cleaning up after storms
Timothy Nunnally owner and operator of Nunnally's Tree Service Inc. advises people to call in the professionals before trying to clear away large debris or fallen trees to avoid potential injury or making the problem worse. (Source: NBC12)

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - After severe storms swept through parts of Chesterfield County Friday, many homeowners with more time on their hands amidst the COVID-19 pandemic are taking care of duties usually left to professionals, but Tree removal companies are urging people not to take on more than they can handle especially when it comes to power tools like chainsaws.

“90 percent of chainsaw injuries occur to the hands and to the legs less than 10 percent occur to the head and neck although they are far more lethal,” said Timothy Nunnally. “You have to keep in mind that when you’re cutting wood that’s on the ground it is dynamic, so as your’e cutting it the weight distribution of that limb or that log is changing, so it’s moving as you’re cutting it so it’s not hard to get your saw stuck, and you can break the equipment trying to free it.”

Nunnally owns and operate Nunnally’s Tree Service Inc. in Chesterfield he says it’s very easy for people not used to operating chainsaws to harms themselves cutting a fallen tree or make a fallen tree more hazardous when trying to remove it. He says that kickback can occur from a chainsaw when the centrifugal force of the saw violently forces the bar upwards towards your head and neck.

“Particularly with uprooted trees, people will try to cut the tree up from the top back towards the root-ball and sometimes the tree can actually stand back up and create a brand new hazard that wasn’t present when they started,” Nunnally said. “If you know what to do you start at the root ball end to cut the root-ball free however that is very dangerous, so the best case scenario is just call a professional to help you out.”

He says besides a wealth of experience tree service companies also have all of the correct personal protective equipment to operate dangerous equipment.

“At a minimum you want to cover your eyes you want safety glasses, you want to protect your ears with ear plugs or better ye muffs, you also want leg protection so chainsaw chaps, chainsaw rated pants are also available,” Nunnally said. “Modern saws do have chain breaks and if yo’re handling the saw correctly it supposed to prevent serious injury during a kickback event, however most people don’t know how to handle a saw correctly and it takes a lot of practice and a lot of training to do so.”

“You might fell like a tree is close to ground, I can get that with a chainsaw, but you’re going to end up with a tree rolling on top of you,” Jeff Lupejkis said.

Lupejkis tried to help his daughter remove a tree that snapped in front her house in one of the hardest hit areas off Beulah road in Chesterfield after Friday’s storms, before calling in professional help.

“The way the storms came through it was coming right over top of her house so all the the trees that went down went away from her house,” Lupejkis said. “You’re better off to pay and get it done safely, these guys know what they’re doing."

“Just be careful, din’t do anything you’re not 100 percent confident you can take care of," Nunnally said. "If you approach a situation and have any doubt it doesn’t hurt to contact a professional and hear what they have to say. Nunnally said.”

Nunnally says that due to the expense, people may feel hesitant to call the professionals, but adds that many tree service companies can provide an estimate of cleanup free of charge before doing any work.

Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.