After the recent storms that came through the midwest, many tree services have been working long days and some nights just trying to get the damage cleaned up. This is the most dangerous time we can be doing tree work and we need to be sure that we are on high alert to any of the hazards that are sure to present themselves. Some of these hazards are super obvious while others can come from a completely different direction.
We do lots of line clearance tree trimming in southeast Michigan. When storms roll through we are surely heading to Detroit because that is where the majority of people live and that’s pretty much where the construction of the lines is the oldest and on top of that, there is a huge amount of trees that have not been properly maintained. These two factors lead to lots of power outages and lots of dangerous jobs.
On top of the power lines that can electrocute you, the trees that can pretty much fall apart or on the lines at any minute, now we have a new danger to watch out for. People. Over the past storm we have had 3 crews held up at gun point and then robbed while another crew leader was shot at. All the while we are risking our lives to maintain and put these individuals back in power.
Upon starting our last job during the storm, we walked out the entire city block looking for downed wire and other things that could cause us harm. Service wires that had been torn from a house lay arcing on the ground while hundreds of telecommunication wires hang from poles and in trees and over other electrical wires. Broken glass shattered under our feet as we walked through garbage filled alleys looking for the cause of the outage. If this wasn’t enough to have to deal with we now have to watch each other’s backs to make sure we don’t get shot.
We work in an inherently dangerous industry with people dying at a rate of roughly 1 a week. Be sure to pay attention to where you are working and what’s going on around you during these storms and everyday. Be your brothers keeper and make sure everyone makes it home safely!