Friday 24th February 2017
A lot of the work that we, as volunteers do, involves using mechanical equipment which can, by its very nature, be dangerous to either the operator, other volunteers or members of the public (if we are working in an area which has public access). The list of such equipment includes – brush cutters, hedge trimmers, chain saws, grass cutters (both flail and reciprocating types), wood chippers, motorised barrows and very occasionally four-wheel drive all-terrain vehicles.
In order that we are allowed, by ‘The Norwich Fringe Project’, to use such equipment, we undergo professional certificated training for each tool that we use.
Other non-mechanical hand tools that are in everyday use (bush saws, pruning saws – which we try not to lose!!!- and loppers) can also be hazardous if used without due care and attention. Training and familiarisation of these types of tools is undertaken by Matt whenever a new volunteer joins our happy band.
Today however we were receiving training on a slightly different type of work practice – a safe method of felling trees that are leaning the wrong direction (for our needs), by using a rope and pulley system. Not something that we would employ everyday but all the same could be very important in stopping a tree falling onto a fence, over a path or some water when we are involved in felling of the tree. In these cases, safety to the person is paramount; so, training is very important.
This training was not of the formal type and was carried out by an expert tree surgeon, who is very experienced in this type of situation. He is also a contractor that Matt uses when there is a particularly awkward or large tree to cut down.
So today we had instruction on the type of ropes to use, the knots that are employed and a way of attaching a rope to a tree at a point several meters above the ground.
All this training involved cutting down some unwanted trees on Marston Marsh where we were working today and disposing of all the timber meant lighting a fire, which we all love. We had a nice breeze today so our fire was soon blazing away and the large pile of logs disappeared in no time at all.
Written by Alan Rae, Norwich Fringe Project Volunteer.