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October 26, 2012
State Fire Marshal J. William Degnan
(603) 223-4289

State Fire Marshal Warns of Dangers Associated With Downed Trees

The arrival of Hurricane Sandy brings with it heavy winds and rainfall. Hurricane Sandy is predicted to be a long term storm and may not exit the area until the end of next week. With recent rainfall, some areas may still be experiencing wet ground. Trees can be damaged or uprooted during the storm. This is especially true in areas where the ground is saturated with water. State Fire Marshal J. William Degnan warns citizens to be especially cautious when inspecting storm damage. Here are some tips to remember:

  • Do not attempt to move trees or branches during the storm. Storm damaged trees are unpredictable. Trying to cut a tree that has fallen on your house can create dangerous situations which could cause the tree to fall on you or cause more damage to your home.
  • If a tree falls on your house, call your local fire department to have them check for damage to utilities such as electric power and gas lines.
  • Contact your insurance company to report the damage. When it is safe to do so, photograph the damage. This will be helpful to your insurance agent and adjuster later.
  • Remember that trees can become entangled in power lines. Treat every downed wire as if it were energized. Some utility wires are quite strong and will suspend trees and branches aloft. Do not attempt to disentangle the trees or branches. If a wire snaps suddenly, it could send the wire, tree, or branch down on top of you.
  • Contact a professional tree company to remove the tree. They have special equipment to remove the tree safely from your building. Trees and tree branches that become lodged on roofs and siding can have lots of tension on them. Attempting to cut them without releasing this tension can result in severe injury or death.
  • Do not attempt permanent repairs until a professional has a chance to examine for underlying structural damage.

For further information concerning home fire or building safety, contact your local fire department, building official, or the State Fire Marshal's Office at 603-223-4289.

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