CONTRIBUTED BY ACES
BY WES ELLARD
Alabama is no stranger to bad weather. The southern part of the state contends with hurricanes every two and a half years. The northern part of the state is slammed with over 50 tornadoes each year, with those numbers rising. That’s not even mentioning the above-average amount of heavy thunderstorms that cover the state regularly.
All of the wind, lighting and debris flying through the air can cause significant property damage. In the recent decades, historic hailstorms and tornadoes have led to more and more people storm proofing their homes. However, homeowners often forget one crucial aspect of protecting their homes: trees.
To help prepare people for tree-related severe weather events, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System is holding several storm preparedness and response workshops throughout the state. These educational opportunities include tree risk assessment workshops and chain saw safety workshops.
“The primary goal of these workshops is to improve the storm response knowledge of municipalities, emergency response personnel and homeowners,” said Beau Brodbeck, an Alabama Extension forestry specialist.
Be Proactive to Reduce
It is important to be proactive when it comes to tree risks. Obviously, a whole tree falling onto property will cause massive damage. What homeowners may forget is that larger trees can have massive limbs as well. If these limbs fail at any time, it can be devastating or even fatal. Foresters call these large dead or detached tree limbs “widow makers” for a reason. The tree risk assessment workshops will include information on identifying structural defects in trees, tree health, potential hazards around trees and legal information.
Chain Saw Safety
According to Brodbeck, the number of chain saw related injuries that happen after storms is much higher than injuries caused by the storm. Improper technique, lack of safety equipment and general lack of caution with chain saws often lead to serious injury.
The chain saw safety workshops scheduled throughout the next few months aim to reduce these injuries. They also have the goal of providing some proper training to people who have little or none. These workshops will cover topics such as personal protective equipment, safety features on chain saws, saw handling, tree felling plans, limbing and saw bucking and dangerous cutting situations.
These workshops are located all across the state, running from February through May. For information on dates, times, locations and registration, visit the Storm Preparedness and Response Workshops webpage on the Alabama Extension website at www.aces.edu.