After Hurricane Frances in 2004, Antonio Bacquiez trims trees on West Atlantic Boulevard in Delray Beach in preparation for Hurricane Jeanne. (Photo by Steve Mitchell)
If you’ve never operated a chain saw, don’t start using one after a storm. Hire someone, ask neighbors or wait for emergency crews.
The time to learn how to use a chain saw is before the storm strikes. A dealer can help you pick the right saw, set it up and explain the proper use.
Always read instructions and warnings in the manual. A chain saw can kick, lurch, jump and snap back. You can be hurt or killed.
Never operate a chain saw with one hand. And don’t raise one above your shoulders.
For smaller jobs, you could use a cordless or gas-powered trimmer. Emergency or volunteer crews also will be coming through neighborhoods.
Without power, an electric chain saw will be worthless. Gas-powered models sell for $100 to $300. A saw with a 16-inch guide bar — the part extending from the saw body around which the chain is wrapped — is probably all you’ll need.
Look for safety features on chain saws such as a chain brake, which stops the chain if the saw hits something hard, or is pinched in the wood, and kicks back. All new models feature chains that reduce kickback; get them when you replace chains on old saws.
Wear goggles or safety glasses and a hard hat, plus gloves to prevent blisters and slippery grips.
Wear chaps or other sturdy reinforcement over pants.
Store gas outdoors, away from anything that can ignite it. Never store in garage or home. Move the saw at least 10 feet from the gas before you start it up.
Engine oil: Most saws use two-cycle engines that require you to mix gasoline with proper oil and in the proper ratio.
Bar and chain oil: A lubricant that keeps the chain from freezing up or breaking during heavy work. Buy it and two-cycle engine oil now; they will be hard to find after a storm.