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CHAINSAWS

http://www.storm99.com

SHOULD YOU GET A CHAIN SAW?

If you've never used a chain saw, your first option after a storm should be to hire someone. Otherwise, learn how to use one now - when there are no pressures or added concerns such as dangling power lines.

A chain saw is a 12- to 15-pound, hand-held power saw that can kick, lurch, jump and snap back if the chain breaks. Get training from a professional. Watch others at work. You may want to rent a saw for a day to train.

Some shopping and safety tips:

SHOPPING TIPS

First determine that you need one. If you don't have large trees that could fall over in a storm, you could do a lot with a cordless or gas-powered trimmer. Emergency or volunteer crews also will be coming through neighborhoods to help.

Don't get an electric chain saw. Gasoline-powered models sell for $100 to $300.

Don't use the length of the guide bar - the part extending from the saw body around which the chain is wrapped - to determine power. Bar length is a factor for the width of whatever you're cutting. If the bar's too long, you'll be unnecessarily sacrificing cost, flexibility, ease of maintenance and safety. A 16-inch bar can handle a 30-inch tree; it's probably all you'll need in South
Florida.

Look for engines ranging from 2 1/2 to 3 cubic inches or 45 to 60 cubic centimeters.

Look for lots of safety features. One is a chain brake, which stops the chain if the guide bar strikes something hard and kicks back.

Try not to keep fuel in the saw; fuel can go stale and clog engine parts.*

KNOW YOUR OIL

Engine oil: Most saws use 2-cycle engines that require you to mix gasoline with proper oil.

Bar and chain oil: A lubricant that keeps the chain from freezing up or breaking during heavy work. Keep plenty. These specialized oils will be impossible to find.

SAFETY

... Wear goggles or safety glasses.
... Wear gloves to cover sweaty, slippery hands,
help you handle the saw and prevent blisters.
... Use earplugs; the saw will be loud.
... Get a hard hat to protect your head from falling limbs.
... Wear chaps or other sturdy reinforcement over your pants. In an accident, the fabric will jam into the saw, limiting but not
preventing serious injury. In plain jeans or shorts, you could lose a leg or bleed to death. They're worth the $50 to $80 asking price.
... When cutting up debris, look carefully for live wires that may be tangled in branches.
... Do not cut up power poles even if they're in the way. They're the power company's property. Lines may still be live. And some fallen poles may be pulling power lines and guy wires taut; when you cut them, those wires or a piece of the pole can fly back at you.

[* Ditto for all gas-powered tools and equipment. - shirley]

Go to the Emergency Preparedness Information page, on to Advance Planning: Inventory, or back to Generators.