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Publication #FOR 115

Chapter 1—Cleaning Up After a Hurricane: Safety Comes First!1

Eliana Kampf, Astrid Delgado, Carol Lehtola, and Mary L. Duryea2


Cleaning up after a hurricane is an activity that involves dangerous situations, such as the use of chain saws and other equipment to remove fallen or partially fallen trees and branches. Most people do not realize that most injuries occur after hurricanes and other natural disasters, more specifically during cleanup! In this fact sheet we emphasize safety so that homeowners and tree care professionals can be better prepared to clean up safely after a storm. Six areas of concern for cleaning up safely are discussed in detail, including the use of personal protective equipment, clearing and removing debris, surveying the site, being aware of electrical lines and utilities, setting up a safety work zone and safely handling chain saws.

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This document is FOR 115, one of a series of the School of Forest Resources and Conservation Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date January 2007. Reviewed September 2015. Visit the EDIS website at


Eliana Kampf, urban forester, School of Forest Resources and Conservation; Astrid Delgado, urban forester landscaping specialist, School of Forest Resources and Conservation; Carol Lehtola, associate professor and state Extension agricultural safety specialist, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering; Mary L. Duryea, professor, School of Forest Resources and Conservation and associate dean for research; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.