| Feb 02, 2006

Feature Article - February 2, 2006

Feature Article

February 2, 2006

Chainsaw safety course draws a crowd

by Gillian Sadinsky

Every year, people get hurt because they don’t know how to use a chainsaw safely. They lose fingers, limbs and sometimes their lives as they try to saw wood or take down a tree.

In an effort to prevent accidents, the Upper Canada Woods Cooperative held a two-day training course at the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area for anyone interested in learning how to use a chain saw safely. Topics included chainsaw safety and maintenance, notching, back-cuts, limbing, felling aids and dealing with problem trees. Participants also spent a day in a woodlot putting into practice what they’d learned.

“I don’t know how many times I’ve seen someone using a chainsaw with no ear or eye protection and in shorts and running shoes,” says Steve Pitt, who organized the course. “If you make a mistake and you put the saw into your leg, you are in trouble.”


John Campbell of Sharbot Lake has been using a chain saw for years. “But this was just a super refresher course,” he says. “We have a woodlot, and with ice storm damage, you know there are trees that should come down, but you don’t know how. This improved my confidence and came right when I was thinking I should be out there cutting firewood.”

For Judy Smith, it was an introductory course, and she’s now going to buy all the safety gear: pants, helmet and ear and eye protection.

Carolyn Smith of Arden, one of 30 participants, says it was an excellent course. Smith had used a chain saw before, but, she says, not safely. “I learned I’d been making my notches way too big, and had no idea how un-safe that could be.” She had also been using her husband’s safety chaps and not adjusting them so they’d be safe. Now she’s getting her own. She’s also been convinced to buy better safety goggles.

Terry Morey owns a gardening business north of Harrowsmith. “I knew how to use the chain saw, but I didn’t have a piece of paper that said I was qualified. I do now, and that will help me in the business. The course was well worth doing. Besides,” she says, “it was given locally, which was a bonus.”

The course was delivered by forestry consultant Dave Smallwood and Kevin Hansen. Steve Pitt says that so many people wanted to take it, they had to put on a second series. He expects another course will be offered in the fall.

Pitt is the stewardship coordinator with the Ministry of Natural Resources for Lennox and Addington and a member of the Upper Canada Woods Co-operative. The Co-operative promotes sustainable, environmentally responsible forest practices, landowner and consumer education and local manufacturing of value-added products. The chainsaw safety course received funding support from the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation.

The Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation is a non-profit organization that, among its activities, provides support for initiatives that are designed to stimulate economic development in the County of Frontenac

For more information about the course, call Steve Pitt at (613) 531-5723.

Photo: John Campbell and Judy Smith of Sharbot Lake practise cutting notches at a recent chainsaw safety training course

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