Class helps women master chainsaw use, safety and maintenance
By WARREN DILLAWAY firstname.lastname@example.org Apr 29, 2018
JEFFERSON — Necessity and curiosity were two of the driving forces behind a “Women and Chainsaws” class Saturday morning at the Ashtabula County Extension Office.
Twenty women showed up to learn more about chainsaw use, safety and maintenance.
“We have a Women in Agriculture group. I asked them what kind of classes they would like,” said Abbey Averill of how the class came into existence. Averill is a program assistant at the ACEO office and tries to gather the women monthly to review a variety of topics and support their work.
“Some heat with wood and want to help their husbands,” Averill said.
Lee Beers, Trumbull County Extension Agent, taught the two-hour class in the basement of the extension office.
Beers went over a wide range of information, but emphasized the importance of safety procedures with chainsaws that can be very dangerous. He said there are even gloves that have chain saw safety protection constructed into them.
Beers urged the women to make sure the safety equipment fits and is comfortable. “If it isn’t (comfortable) you won’t wear it,” he said.
“You don’t want to be this guy,” he said pointing out many safety mistakes of a man pictured in a slide presentation.
Photographs of gruesome chainsaw induced injuries were shown to enforce the importance of safety procedures. “They happen frequently and they are bad,” he said.
Beers urged the women to make sure they don’t place their hands on the blades. “If you aren’t concerned with cutting your hand on the chain it is not sharp enough and you are wasting your time,” he said.
“You do not want to be out in the woods alone. Never cut firewood by yourself,” he said of the importance of having someone around who can assist in an emergency or at least call for help.
Unique insights regarding the length of life for a helmet were also covered in the class. “Helmets degrade from UV rays,” Beers said.
Hearing can be another issue for those who use chainsaws regularly. “Consistent exposure to 120 decibels and you will have hearing loss,” he said.
“Your goal is to get it down to 90 decibels,” Beers said of ear plugs and other safety devices.
Cutting a tree at a bad angle or even limb trimming can become a problem, Beers said. “Limbs under tension can kill you,” he said.
A Linesville, Pa., women said she runs a farm with her husband and she ran into a situation that a chainsaw would have alleviated, but she didn’t know how to safely operate it. She said a tree fell and trapped cows that were gazing.
“I had to use a hand saw and it took 15 minutes in the rain,” she said.
Jeannie Jacobs, of Lenox Township, said she also runs a farm with her husband. “I wanted to learn a little bit more so I can feel safe (using it),” she said.
Jacobs said she thought Beers did a good job in presenting the material.