West Salem, WI -- Damaging thunderstorms and a tornado on top of recent flooding have left Wisconsin communities with lots of cleanup work.
Thousands of trees have been uprooted and people throughout the area are using chain saws to reduce debris and to salvage firewood. It's a concern for state and federal officials coordinating the recovery effort under a presidential disaster declaration.
"The dangers are not over just because the storm is over," said Tom Davies, of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). " We urge people to be very careful, especially when using chain saws."
"We've got communities in 25 affected counties doing clean up work," said Al Shanks, Deputy Administrator of Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM).
FEMA and WEM officials are asking people to keep safety in mind when using chain saws:
- Always follow the safety instructions in your operator manual.
- Grip the saw firmly with both hands.
- Do not cut or carve any material that is held by others.
- Make sure the blade does not make contact with the guard on the grinder.
- Do not use these blades to cut any metal or masonry products.
- Always wear proper clothing and protective gear, such as goggles and gloves.
- Do not allow others to stand in the path of flying chips.
- Be sure the cutters are oriented in the proper direction of the cut.
- Never over--tighten the nut as this will reduce or eliminate the kickback protection.
- Never use a saw within 10 feet of any bystander or pet.