Debris removal safety tips

Nearly three months after Hurricane Michael hit Bay County, communities like Glenwood in Panama City are still seeing piles of debris.
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - According to Texas Tech University, hurricanes cause an average of 60 injuries per year.

But cleaning up after the storm is a crucial time to take safety matters seriously.

"It's very dangerous all the time," said construction expert, Ken Karr.

Karr has been in the construction industry for 35 years. He says there's gear that can help you stay safe when clearing out your debris.

"Leather bound shoes with good soles, you need gloves, and if you're working on heights or anything get a harness, they're inexpensive for your life," said Karr.

If your working on trees with some height, Florida Forest Service Center Manager Mike Mathis says there are some trees to look out for.

"There's a certain degree where they say 30 degrees worth of lean. If it's more than that than it's a danger and it needs to be cut," said Mathis.

So a tree with that much lean might not be good to tie your harness to, but if you are aiming to cut down a leaning tree, Karr says it's best to take your time.

"Be cautious, be conscious, and slow down," he advised.

Karr says speed can be one of the most dangerous parts of removing debris.

"It's something you get in a hurry of, so if you speed through it, and you're not thinking, you're gonna hurt yourself," said Karr.

But not everything is a do-it-yourself project.

"If you're unsafe, uncomfortable, not sure, always call an expert," said Karr.

Karr also mentioned if you are doing dangerous work, it's always important to have someone else with you.