There is nothing new about the annual reminder to trim your trees before the summer storms roll in, but a chainsaw explosion that put a New South Wales man into hospital is a timely reminder you must take care when adding fuel to your chainsaw. Even the most experienced chainsaw operators can experience trouble if they rush this task, so be mindful of what you can do to avoid serious burns while you get your backyard ready for the turbulent weather ahead.

Turn It Off

Always turn your chainsaw off before you remove the cap to the gas tank, and there are two main reasons for this:

  1. It is recommended your chainsaw engine is allowed to cool for a few minutes before refuelling begins, and if you leave the chainsaw running it obviously does not have a chance to cool down. A cool engine eliminates the chance of a flash fire occurring if any of the gas is spilled onto the hot engine.
  2. A running chainsaw continues to vibrate while it is in idle mode. If it accidentally revs up or vibrates too hard when you are close to topping off the fuel tank, gas drops could spill onto the hot engine and ignite.

Be Prepared

While the chainsaw is cooling down, gather the items you will need in case a problem occurs during the refuelling. In particular, you should have the following items close by:

  • A powder-filled fire extinguisher or a shovel. In the event of a fire flare, use the fire extinguisher or shovel dirt the chainsaw with dirt to smother the flames.
  • A clean, cloth rag. This can be used to wipe up any fuel spills before you restart the machine.
  • An ashtray. Never smoke when refuelling chainsaw.

It is easy to forget that fuel highly combustible, and it will ignite quickly when exposed to a small spark or flame. Additionally, while the fuel is being stored, it is slowly evaporating and that vapour in the air is also highly flammable if it becomes concentrated in a small space. Ignition can come from a cigarette, or a spark made during chainsaw ignition. Because of this you must always refuel your chainsaw outside where there is plenty of fresh air to reduce a vapour build up.

While these refuelling reminders may seem overly simple, chainsaw fires can happen to anyone. If you do not have the time to trim your trees before the end of the year, allow a professional (like those from Colourful Tree Lopping) to take care of the task for you. That way not only can you avoid a chainsaw fire happening to you, but you can also make sure your home is safe from falling trees before the winds begin to blow.