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NEW! Volunteer Chainsaw Thread

Philbert

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I think that it was @davidwyby who got this started.

Lots of ways to volunteer, as noted in the first post. Often starts out with helping a friend or a neighbor.

Big events, like a large storm, attract more attention. But, sometimes, it can be a community service project, like a park or trail, that needs attention.

At the receiving end, people may have concerns about skill levels, safety, liability, or if somebody is going to try and charge them at the end.

So building on existing relationships, or affiliating with an established / recognized group, can help.

Philbert
 

Philbert

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NVOAD (National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) is an ‘organization of organizations’ that do this type of work.

Their site lists large organizations that are active nationally, as well as links to state VOAD organizations.


You can also check with state or county emergency managers for opportunities.

Philbert
 

Philbert

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For trail and park type work, contact state and local DNR or parks type offices, as well as any National Parks or USFS offices in your area.

Outdoor retailers will often have contact information for trail maintenance groups and clubs, according to their use:

- hiking;
- mountain biking;
- snowmobiling /ATV;
- hunting;
- equestrian;
- X-C skiing;
- etc.

Some groups may want or require you to attend a basic skills class / training beforehand. These are often to align expectations, as well as to assess skills, or to comply with rules for working on government lands.

Philbert
 
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Oldbuzzard

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I live in northern Colorado and belong to several organizations that do volunteer chainsaw work. I run one such organization, the NOCO Sawyers. Typically out here any government entity - municipality, state park, federal land, etc - will require you to have taken an S212 Course and have at least an A Sawyer rating (lowest). Additionally, if you want to saw on federal land that takes getting certified by a federal agency.
We get to do lots of different chainsaw work but most of it isn’t real sexy. We take out invasive species, drop snags in burned over areas, fuel mitigation, etc. Lately we have dropped some trees for private land owners who had Ponderosa pines too close to a structure. We are not arborist - we don’t climb trees, use heavy equipment, etc, but we will do some work with ropes.
There is a big demand for services out here but insurance is always an issue. Another kind of saw work has been growing in popularity out here - crosscut saws. Crosscut saws also require certification for working on federal land.
if you like working outdoors and want to give back to your community start asking around. You can probably find someone who needs help.
 

Philbert

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Working for the power company, personally i wish the storm clean up volunteers just stayed home and outta the way.
Elaborate?

We often work together, to open roads / streets, access to poles, confirm which lines are ‘live or dead’, etc.

Depending on the location and scale of the event, utility / contractors are sometimes far behind.

Working with organized groups, Emergency Managers, etc., helps to coordinate activities.

I have run into hostle arborists and storm chasers who feel we are taking ‘their’ work. But most of the time we are doing less technical stuff, which lets professional crews, including bucket trucks, etc., reach more locations.

Philbert
 
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Philbert

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Typically out here any government entity - municipality, state park, federal land, etc - will require you to have taken an S212 Course and have at least an A Sawyer rating (lowest).
Do you offer a pathway for the S212 course? Here, it’s only offered for wildland firefighters. I have heard of some organizations sponsoring it for other volunteers.

I have attended USFS chainsaw training for trail maintenance volunteers, that was limited to bucking and limbing: no felling. Also, some crosscut saw training for the same, which was very interesting.

Philbert
 
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Brad Krause

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I live in northern Colorado and belong to several organizations that do volunteer chainsaw work. I run one such organization, the NOCO Sawyers. Typically out here any government entity - municipality, state park, federal land, etc - will require you to have taken an S212 Course and have at least an A Sawyer rating (lowest). Additionally, if you want to saw on federal land that takes getting certified by a federal agency.
We get to do lots of different chainsaw work but most of it isn’t real sexy. We take out invasive species, drop snags in burned over areas, fuel mitigation, etc. Lately we have dropped some trees for private land owners who had Ponderosa pines too close to a structure. We are not arborist - we don’t climb trees, use heavy equipment, etc, but we will do some work with ropes.
There is a big demand for services out here but insurance is always an issue. Another kind of saw work has been growing in popularity out here - crosscut saws. Crosscut saws also require certification for working on federal land.
if you like working outdoors and want to give back to your community start asking around. You can probably find someone who needs help.
If I wanted to do *s-wordty work and not get paid yet be micro-managed I'd consider marriage. 🤬

(note this is said in fun, see following posts)
 
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exCanuck

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I might be a bit grumpy after visiting government websites (plural) to research requirements...

BUT, allyouall as far as I know are awesome, generous people helping your fellow neighbor and doing good in the world (probably with no permit 🤣 ).
PERMITS? We don't need no stinking permits!
 

Philbert

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This thread has taken an unfortunate turn: more like ‘the other site’.

I get deep satisfaction helping others in need. I know that it could be me sometime. I know close friends who have been affected by these types of events.

I feel fortunate to be able to assist with needed tools and skills. I have been doing this 20+ years, and worked in Emergency Management. I know that there are others on these sites who have also volunteered extensively.

I posted some of the links above, to give interested people some opportunities to follow, as well as a ‘heads up’: if you show up at some situations, you are an ‘unknown’. Emergency Managers (sometimes the local Sheriff, etc.) already have their hands full, and don’t need more surprises.

Every news report shows some yahoo cutting after a storm with a dull Wild Thing, wearing shorts and a pair of Crocs. Showing up with a modded 460 doesn’t provide any more credibility.

So they are looking for certification, training, or affiliation with a recognized group. Understanding that storm damaged wood is different than firewood in a stack. Working in a disaster environment. And people not there to sell services or rip off affected people.

Same thing for trail work.

You may have all these qualifications, but the EM does not have time to vet you. So, come with the certs, or build the relationship beforehand.

If you do storm damage cleanup as a business, that is a separate issue. But you still may need business registration, insurance, etc., to be let into a restricted disaster perimeter.

TCI Magazine had some good information on storm cleanup as a business in their September, 2023 issue (but that belongs in a different thread).


Philbert
 

Loony661

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This thread has taken an unfortunate turn: more like ‘the other site’.

I get deep satisfaction helping others in need. I know that it could be me sometime. I know close friends who have been affected by these types of events.

I feel fortunate to be able to assist with needed tools and skills. I have been doing this 20+ years, and worked in Emergency Management. I know that there are others on these sites who have also volunteered extensively.

I posted some of the links above, to give interested people some opportunities to follow, as well as a ‘heads up’: if you show up at some situations, you are an ‘unknown’. Emergency Managers (sometimes the local Sheriff, etc.) already have their hands full, and don’t need more surprises.

Every news report shows some yahoo cutting after a storm with a dull Wild Thing, wearing shorts and a pair of Crocs. Showing up with a modded 460 doesn’t provide any more credibility.

So they are looking for certification, training, or affiliation with a recognized group. Understanding that storm damaged wood is different than firewood in a stack. Working in a disaster environment. And people not there to sell services or rip off affected people.

Same thing for trail work.

You may have all these qualifications, but the EM does not have time to vet you. So, come with the certs, or build the relationship beforehand.

If you do storm damage cleanup as a business, that is a separate issue. But you still may need business registration, insurance, etc., to be let into a restricted disaster perimeter.

TCI Magazine had some good information on storm cleanup as a business in their September, 2023 issue (but that belongs in a different thread).


Philbert
Well said. I too was looking forward to the positive outcomes this thread could provide, and was disappointed by the direction it took. Thanks for getting it back on track.

I too understand why the certs are important. Is volunteering for everyone, absolutely not. As a volunteer fireman who works with our County Emergency Manager, Deputies, etc, it’s noticeably smoother when tasks are carried out by trusted and trained individuals. Some volunteer because they have a big heart and want to help, but without training or certs to prove they know what to do, they become more of a liability than an asset. I’ve seen this first hand with 2 different search and rescue calls for missing persons - we always get civilians who want to help, and they certainly mean well, but they don’t stay in line, they don’t follow basic directions, and they are afraid or uncomfortable to do what’s asked, and it becomes more of a babysitting than a search, which is truly unfortunate for the missing person who’s possibly waiting..
 

Philbert

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There are, of course, many, many opportunities to volunteer for friends, in your community, with a group that you are already affiliated with (church, club, work group, community organization, chainsaw forum / GTG, etc.)., where people already know / trust you.

The training / certification stuff only applies to some more controlled situations. Different groups have different formal or informal requirements. E.G. the Boy Scouts have their own program. Some people will take you at your word, or if someone they know vouches for you.

Philbert
 

Brad Krause

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I take the blame for the unintentional thread de-rail, it was meant more as a joke than anything (hence the grumbly face) and should not disuade anyone from helping their neighbor.

I volunteer at a senior living facility and a few other places, plus help friends and neighbors, which in itself is rewarding. Some of the jobs I've done are "*s-wordty," with bees and buckthorn and sweating my ass off, but the jobs needed doing, I was willing to do it, and accomplishing a job well-done is rewarding in its own right, plus it tends to bring people together and have longer-lasting positive results than expected.

I think we should be able to joke about the "*s-wordty" aspects in life, and also support each other in conquering them. Not everything in life is positive, but we can make positive outcomes. So, please pardon my sense of humor, I'm a bit old-and-crusty, though my heart is in the right place.
 

Philbert

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Another popular form of chainsaw volunteering is firewood. Sometimes referred to as a ‘firewood ministry’, ‘charity cut’, etc.

Typically cutting, splitting, and sometimes delivering firewood for home heating, for disabled, elderly, disadvantaged, etc. folks.

For some, it is a chance to run saws, socialize, etc., like a GTG.

Can be a ‘win-win’ thing following a blow down, tornado, etc.

A.S. has posted many threads on these, over the years. This one is an example of one that started out as a GTG, then turned into a ‘ministry’ (non-denominational and non- preachy), that also took advantage of oak wilt die offs, storm damage, local land clearing, etc.:


Dates a details of specific, planned firewood events could be posted in the ‘Events’ section here on OPEforum.

Details or suggestions on hosting such an event could be posted in this thread.

Philbert
 
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