Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Training Preparation

By Tim Ard

I don’t mean to whine but why is it that all involved in training do not understand what training is? What effective training entails?

The initiative from management is “Safety is First” but they don’t always understand the training process. Risk management is a factor, but time allotment (lack of) and budget win out. I see chain saws that are not maintained properly and a lot of time neither the operators nor their supervision are aware of recognized safety issues like required Personal Protective Equipment. Crews are out working without safety items and required equipment like chain saw leg chaps. If an incident occurs the cost far exceeds the investment in proper training, tools and PPE.

As managers and adult workers, are we taught somewhere that the primary grades of 1st through 6th are a waste? Just skip those and save cost, go right to college. Why do we think in adult education there is not a somewhat timed advance in the learning process?

There is a process, in chain saw operation anyway, that needs to be understood and followed. You see there are a lot of saw operations that conclude daily tasks without mishaps. Many operate them daily, yearly without any safety issues or incidents. Then there are the statistics that exist when storms or disasters occur. There are in most every storm, wind, flood and disaster situation more injuries and fatalities from the cleanup work than the actual event. It doesn’t make since! Much of this I feel is because we are somewhat short sided when it comes to planning for these events. Like Homeland Security, we don’t have everything in place till long after it’s needed.

I remember a conversation with a group in north Alabama after a huge ice storm a few years ago. The person had contacted our office to discuss emergency chain saw training for their community. The storm had hit and he felt it was so important that training happen the next Saturday or there was going to be a lot of people injured. I agreed but had to disagree. I asked him who will attend training Saturday if the weather is good. I said what do you think most people are going to be doing if the weather is good? They will be cleaning up their property. They are not going to come to training. You see, you have to train before the event to prepare. You cannot wait until the event and expect to achieve proper technique and safety.

Then you have those that think a booklet or short video will give the training needed. I don’t know how many times I have heard managers and risk manager’s state that they have a “new” safety procedures manual that will give them what they need in information. All the guidelines are in the manual. How many books do you have from your 12 to 16 years in school? Who in your organization has not read the operators manual for the chain saw they use? The one that gets me… how many company safety manuals don’t include the proper PPE to meet OSHA regulations for their employees. They write without research.

Training has to start with the basics, a review or initial, understanding of planning, basic sharpening, basic maintenance, basic cutting techniques and basic limbing and bucking. What is a notch and hinge… basically! If you can’t discuss those in detail – you don’t know the basics!

We try to spread things to thin sometimes and I will agree every organization doesn’t need to be operating chain saws. If they choose to have them-- accept the training responsibility!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hawaii DOT…

Began today several sessions in Hawaii with the DOT. The first ten days or so will be in the Honolulu area and then we move over to Kauai to finish up with a week there.

Today I completed day one of group one. These are super workers and just great people. The trees on the other hand are tough for training because they are small and very twisted. But the demo went well today and hopefully tomorrow will accomplish what we need to.

There was a communication gap that existed between the Husqvarna rep and the local Husqvarna dealer. A saw was suppose to be there for the training. Didn't show, and we ended up having to use the DOT saws. Shindaiwa and Dolmar. Made it through… hope to have proper saws here by Thursday.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sunbelt Expo 2009

Moultrie, GA 

The Expo was great this year! The numbers seemed to be down from the effects of the economy but it was definitely not because of weather. Beautiful weather!

We did chain saw safety workshops covering sharpening and directional felling during the three days. Three presentations a day. Each one drew spectators for the workshops and the product displays.

Some wood carving going on too….  You can see more pictures from Expo 2009 on our FaceBook  Forest Applications Training Group.

Here are a few of the pics from the show….




Husqvarna Expo Team 2009


Directional Felling Presentation

IMG00783-20091022-1326 IMG00780-20091022-1321

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Frankfort, KY Day Two

It poured rain most of the day. we had trees along a fence row that made it even tougher… The trees were not real large but they had quite a bit of lean. The leans in some cases made for some interesting training moments – Barber chair…. IMG00109-20091014-1113

This tree was 10 to 12 inches DBH and a 1 inch  hinge was decided on in the plan. They decided a strait back cut was better than a bore cut on this heavy forward leaner and they had to escape before the hinge was bendable enough (2 inch hinge was remaining), the tree split up above head high. Fortunately for the sawyer the  escape route was used in time. A bore cut would have given the ability to set up the hinge to 10% or less, which will bend, before the pressure causes the split.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Great to be a part….

It's great to be part of a big plan! Working with city and county employees who are sometimes first responder's to disaster situations, when storms etc hit, they are some of the first to clean up and make road passage possible. Saw training is vital to their ability to safely work and influence lives in these situations.

Training prior to these situations is what Forest Applications has the privilege to be part of. Our goal is to establish a planning process that will be remembered and utilized when the time comes. A complete plan, a good running sharp saw, and a well equipped operator. A great plan to be part of!

Frankfort, KY

Great group today… 22 participants from city and counties in the area. 15 of them will be back tomorrow for day two. Had a very large oak tree to take down. I wasn't able to get to the center with the bar I had but was able to lift it over the fiber holding in the middle and got the tree down. They were impressed!  Good session.


Monday, October 12, 2009


Just arrived in Frankfort, KY where we will start tomorrow a two day program sponsored by KYLTAP.