Posted September 15, 2017 | 10:30 PM

Residents Urged to Put Safety First During Debris Cleanup

Hurricane Irma Update No. 52

Hillsborough County, Fla. (Sept. 15, 2017) - Hillsborough County reminds residents who are cleaning up their yards this weekend after Hurricane Irma to stay safe.

Storm yard debris collection in unincorporated Hillsborough County will begin Monday, Sept. 18. Keep this in mind before removing downed trees and picking up yard debris to place curbside:

  • Inspect the yard for electrical hazards. Don't touch any conductive materials, such as water, tools, tree branches, etc., that may be in contact with a live power line.
  • Stay away from downed utility lines, telephone or cable lines, and fence wires. Be alert for wires dangling in trees. Assume all power lines are energized and do not touch.
  • Watch out for broken limbs that are hanging, or caught in other branches overhead that may fall. Broken or hanging branches, attached vines or leaning trees are hazardous and should be approached with caution.

If you're unsure about the condition of a tree on your property, consult a certified arborist or urban forester. If a damaged tree is in the right of way in unincorporated Hillsborough County, report it at or call (813) 272-5900.

Chainsaw Safety
Do not use equipment that you're unfamiliar with or inexperienced in safely handling. Otherwise, hire a professional.

The Hillsborough County Extension Service recommends these important safety precautions:

  • If you're operating a chainsaw, only use it on stabilized items on the ground.
  • Wear personal protective equipment such as eye and hearing protection, heavy well-fitted footwear, and cut-resistant gloves.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings for potential hazards.
  • Always keep both hands on the chainsaw handle; make sure the handle is clean of oil or fuel.
  • Use the chainsaw at waist level or below to prevent injuries to your head or upper body.
  • Concentrate on what you're doing to prevent kickback, the single greatest cause of injury to chainsaw users. Kickback happens so fast that it's impossible to react.
  • Shut off the chainsaw and put on the safety lock when you're carrying it, especially through slippery areas or heavy brush.



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