FORT MYERS, Fla. – A woman was on her knees on the side of the road assembling a chainsaw, next to a blue pickup truck with large wheels, on Thursday in Fort Myers.
She was part of a group of good Samaritans, including a man with a machete, who helped to clear out the Hurricane Ian debris, so first responders didn’t have to waste time doing it.
She said her home was on high ground and didn’t suffer damage, so she and others decided to start with their neighborhood. They stopped when it got too dark.
Lee County has a 6 p.m. curfew. They got back in action early Thursday morning. State officials reported at least seven hurricane-related deaths.
Officials said the aftermath efforts focused on rescues and on assessing damage to roads, bridges, and infrastructure.
There were urban search and rescue teams scanning the barrier islands in coordination with Lee County’s Emergency Operations Center. The shelters remained open.
Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno and the Fort Myers Police Department asked anyone who is concerned about their family’s safety in the area to call 239-321-7700.
Safety tips for operating a chainsaw
- Use proper personal protective equipment
- Before starting it, check controls, chain tension, and all bolts and handles, and that the oil tank is full
- Start the saw on the ground or on another firm support and at least 10 feet from the fueling area, with the chain’s brake engaged.
- Look for nails, spikes, or other metals in the tree before cutting.
- Shut off the saw or engage its chain brake when carrying the saw on rough or uneven terrain.
- Keep your hands on the saw’s handles, and maintain balance while operating the saw.
- Be careful that the trunk or tree limbs will not bind against the saw.
- Watch for branches under tension; they may spring out when cut.
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