Beth Lay and I would like to thank Mark Rowe and the team members from Division 21 for allowing us to participate in this week's tree felling skill drill in Caledonia, NY. Just when I thought I would never actually use the Pythagorean Theory in my job . . .
Following is an abbreviated version of the tactical tailgate the safety team sent out this week.
The Stick Method
- Find a yardstick or a straight stick slightly longer than your arm.
- Stand far from the tree you are measuring, about where you think the top of it would hit the ground when felled, and face the tree.
- Hold the stick in one hand and extend that arm straight out in front of you at eye level. Carefully position one end of the stick on your cheek, level with your eye.
- Keep your outstretched hand in place, and carefully rotate the stick 90 degrees to a vertical position.
- Aim your hand at the base of the tree, or where you plan to make your notch.
- Walk (reposition yourself) until you're standing where your eyes visually align the top of the stick with the top of the tree.
- Mark the spot where you are standing. This is where the top of the
tree should hit the ground when felled.
- From that point, walk toward the tree counting your pace until you reach
- Turn and walk away from the tree counting your pace and DOUBLING it (e.g., if you walked 10 steps toward the trunk, walk 20 steps back)
- Place your Drop Zone boundary here.
We each took turns using the stick method (with a golf club!) to see who got closest. It was wildly effectively -- and, thanks to our proper drop zone set-up, no one was ever even remotely close to the felled trees.