Sunday, October 30, 2011

Power of a Storm

Power of a Storm
By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

We just made it to our next training location on the Cape of Massachusetts. Once again our travel to New England was on the heels of a record storm. First, hurricane Irene and this time one of the earliest record snow and wind storms on record, it's the end of October, not January.

Inches of rain, followed by ice, snow and high winds are damaging trees, taking out power lines. Inevitably the clean up process will be accompanied by reports of injury and death.

Every day it seems, somewhere in the nation, a storm, flood, ice, tornado, hurricane or wind has created situations that chainsaws are brought out of storage to handle. In today's neighborhoods though, another power source is often brought into play - generators.

In recent years generators have become more economical and many people are adding them to their homes for back up energy should the grid go down. For clean up operations however, it causes another safety incident area to be added to your planning process. Many generator owners do not properly install switch systems and sometimes even ventilation systems to safely use their generator for back up power.

A generator should not be ran inside a garage, room or basement where exhaust gases are not properly vented to outside air. Gas and diesel engines produce Carbon Monoxide that will kill you. Place generators outside! Allowing exhaust gases to float around inside your home or building will cause serious illness or death.

A generator used to power circuits in your home must be properly wired. A switch disconnect box must be installed to take your home off the public power grid or your generator will be flowing out and into the grid. You can't just simply plug a cord into you wall socket to run your refrigerator or lights.

A safety issue for cleanup operations

If you are not using a switch disconnect the power goes out into the grid's power lines and pole transformers that can take your little generator's voltage and amps and multiply it to killing power. You see, the power company has alerted workers and area volunteers that the power is off but, your generator isn't. It is energizing lines that someone may be working close to and unknowingly, not expecting, your power to attack them. So, properly wire your home connection or make sure to plug your power needs direct to the sockets on the generator. Save lives!

A Powerful Investment - V Watch
While at the ICUEE in Louisville, KY for I came across a tool that many chainsaw operators and teams need. It's called V-Watch by HD Electric Supply. This device is a small voltage detector that can be worn around your neck or attached to a pocket. When you come close to an energized power line it alerts you to the possible danger. This can be an important tool for today's disaster relief teams or for any city or town employees that are first response to storm damage.

Please remember, if you pick up a chainsaw - Put on your Personal Protective Equipment.

A great resource for chainsaw operators- First, your saw's operator's manual. Second, the Forest Applications eBook available from our links on and Barnes and Noble Booksellers.

For more information on chainsaw safety and storm applications training contact us at Forest Applications Training, Inc.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Dennis, MA