Extension hosts chainsaw safety training

Published 3:27 pm Friday, April 28, 2023

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On April 10 and 11, Butler County Extension and the Butler County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) partnered with the County Road Department to host a Chainsaw safety training where first responders and county road department employees learn about safe chainsaw operation, regulations, common injuries and how to avoid them.

“Day one of the class the participants learned about chainsaw safety & ergonomics, OSHA rules and regulations, proper safety equipment,” said Rachel Turner, administrative support associate for the Butler County Extension office. “During day two they were outside doing hands on : saw starting, chainsaw reaction forces & how to avoid them, limbing, notching & plunge cutting, and springpole release training.”

According to Butler County Extension Coordinator Sharlean Briggs, funding for the training was provided to Extension by Ala-Tom RC&D

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“One of my goals for 2023 is to ensure we provide programming that is beneficial and relevant to Butler County,” Briggs said. “We had a great opportunity to provide local, research-based, and affordable training for our county employees and first responders. The partnership with Butler County EMA and Road Department ensured we had the right people in attendance.”

Briggs said EMA Director Rosie Till and County Engineer Dennis McCall worked together to recruit 19 participants for the specialized training.

Briggs said one attendee, a local volunteer fireman, described how the class cleared up some ways he was using chainsaws incorrectly.

“One of our volunteer firefighters, Mr. Bill Taylor, indicated that there were things he learned [in the training] that he had been doing a certain way all along, but now he realizes that there was a different way to do it. He had to unlearn old habits,” Briggs said.

Workshop presenters were Gary Ickes, the owner and operator of Ickes Tree Service and board certified master arborist specializing in training arborists, and Jack Rowe, a board certified master arborist, horticulturist, and entomologist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Briggs said day one was educational, providing much-needed safety information. One the second day, participants worked together to accomplish hands-on exercises.

Most students attending the training handle chainsaw on a regular basis. Till explained that the training provided a reminder of the dangers involved.

“This is dangerous stuff,” Till said. “We want them to know we appreciate what they do. We also want them to remember that even though they use this equipment regularly, they can get used to it and need to stay on their Ps and Qs.”

Till also noted the benefits of getting groups together working as a team.

“I love to see everybody coming together,” Till said. “As EMA director, that’s one of my main goals, to be on the same team. Not only did it remind them of safety measures, but it was also a great remind of safety and it solidified everybody working together.”