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Trim and remove trees safely

You’ve heard the story many times (and perhaps it’s happened to you): A severe thunderstorm or windstorm blows through the area, felling trees everywhere. A few trees fall directly on buildings; fortunately, no one was hurt.

Except — what if someone was hurt? What if a storm knocked over a diseased tree on your camp’s property and it injured or killed a camper? It’s a nightmare scenario, but you can take steps to prevent it.

Church Mutual encourages all its customers — especially camps — to practice regular tree maintenance and removal. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. While tree trimming and removal is important, it can be a dangerous task for someone who is untrained. Consider hiring a tree service or professional arborist to trim and remove your trees.
  2. If you utilize lifts for tree trimming, only allow those who are trained on the equipment to use it.
  3. When you hire an outside contractor, always obtain a certificate of insurance with proof of liability and workers’ compensation coverage.
  4. Always assume power lines are active. Before working on a tree near a power line (or hiring someone else to work on your tree), contact your utility company to shut off the line.
  5. Use proper personal protective equipment when working with trees and dangerous equipment, including goggles, a helmet, and hand and foot protection.
  6. After severe weather events at your camp, take a tour of the grounds and look for trees with hanging limbs or damage.
  7. Keep an eye on parking areas and roadways for trees with cracking or damaged limbs. Such trees could fall on vehicles or obstruct traffic. You should also watch for trees that have limbs hanging down on walkways. At the very least, these trees could make walking difficult for pedestrians. In a worst-case scenario, a broken or loose limb could fall on and injure a camper or staff member.
  8. When felling a tree, keep an eye out for young trees it may have fallen against. These trees can act like a springboard and propel the falling tree back.
  9. If you need to remove a dead tree, do so very carefully — the top could break off.
  10. Inspect all buildings to ensure tree limbs aren’t contacting buildings, drains, roofs or siding. These contact points can damage the structure or lead to flooding issues.

For more information about safety at your camp, visit