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Prepare for the 2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season with

May 10, 2010

Alexandria, VA  – July 22, 2008 – With Hurricane Bertha kicking off the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season and the Climate Prediction Center forecasting a 65 percent chance of an above-normal hurricane season, the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) encourages homeowners to prepare for strong winds and rainfall that can damage property and cause serious injury, even if an area is not on the direct path of these devastating storms. Having chain saws, power generators, and other pieces of outdoor power equipment on hand is important to recover from damage caused by a storm.

“Using the right outdoor power equipment can save your property from costly damage and, after a storm, help restore safety and normalcy for families and communities,” said Kris Kiser, Vice President, Public Affairs, Outdoor Power Equipment Institute. However, he notes, there are important steps to take and tools to use even before a storm hits to minimize the effects of severe weather incidents.

Added Kiser, “Given that weather can surprise even the most seasoned weathermen, homeowners should check today that they have the proper equipment and that it is in safe working order.”

Trees are wonderful resources that provide homeowners with immeasurable benefits. However, trees can pose a real threat to one’s personal safety and/or property during storms if not properly cared for. According to Mark Chisholm, an ISA certified arborist in New Jersey and spokesperson for STIHL Inc., “When a powerful storm rolls through, trees are often left in shambles, damaging your home, knocking down gutters and power lines. So, arborists always recommend doing some selective pruning of dead limbs and branches with chain saws, pole pruners or pole saws ahead of time.”

According to the OPEI, follow the checklist below to better weather the storm season:Assess trees in your yard to determine which trees and/or limbs may come down during a storm. If in doubt, contact your local ISA certified arborist for an assessment at

  • Use pole saws or pruners to selectively cut dead or damaged limbs near your home or over your driveway. Make sure you always keep a firm footing on the ground, do not go up on a ladder, and stay away from electrical conductors.
  • Have a chain saw on hand for clean up, but first read and understand the instruction manual and ensure the equipment is in good condition. Make sure you are prepared to use a chain saw by:
  • Having protective gear on hand such as safety footwear, protective gloves and eye, hearing, and head protection devices, as well as chain saw protective clothing.
  • Having a clear work area, secure footing, and a planned retreat from the falling tree before cutting it.
  • Ensuring the chain saw is not damaged or improperly adjusted, and is completely and securely assembled. Make sure the saw chain stops moving when you release the throttle control trigger.
  • Following the manufacturer’s sharpening and maintenance instructions for the chain.
  • Make sure you understand chain saw “kickback.” “Kickback” may occur when the nose or tip of the guide bar touches an object or when the wood closes in and pinches the saw chain in the cut. Tip contact may cause a lightning-fast reverse reaction, kicking the guide bar up and back toward the operator.
  • Don’t work around power lines. One of the biggest threats to safety is downed utility lines. While an electrical conductor lying on the ground may appear harmless, they are considered “hot” unless tested and grounded! Do not touch it—no matter what! Contact a professional.
  • Do not operate power generators in enclosed areas. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can become concentrated in enclosed areas and cause serious injury or death.

Editors’ Notes: Consumers can find a list of safety tips for specific outdoor power equipment at

Requests for interviews with the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute or photos showing equipment in use can be made to Caroline March-Long at 434-295-5938/

About OPEI
OPEI is an international trade association representing the $15 billion landscape, forestry, utility and lawn equipment manufacturing industry. OPEI is committed to ongoing efforts to ensure consumer safety and access to outdoor power equipment in order to maintain and enhance outdoor landscapes. OPEI works with federal, state and local groups to ensure that equipment operates efficiently, effectively and is fully emission compliant. For more information on OPEI visit