Communicate with the public following storms
Storms can cause significant damage to trees and property. To make your community safer--and to help the public feel supported--communicate warnings and helpful tips. Let them know which hazards to avoid, and how they can assess damage to avoid injury or risks to their property.
Advise the community to stay vigilant, watching for leaning trees, hanging branches, and fallen electrical wires. Limbs are heavier than they look and can cause serious destruction. They should avoid any streets, sidewalks, or other routes with fallen or hanging branches.
If there are issues concerning personal property, homeowners should get a professional assessment. Suggest they call a qualified arborist (who’s trained to prevent further harm to people or property) to remove large fallen trees or limbs. They can sometimes save damaged trees, as well.
If area residents would like to help further, they can move fallen branches to the curb for removal, clear debris away from fire hydrants, and separate recyclable materials from vegetation.
Remove debris from parks and trails to increase public safety
You can minimize risk by minimizing hazards in parks and on trails. Create a post-winter routine of cleaning up fallen branches, restoring flooded trails, and replacing signs and waste receptacles. If you have bridges and boardwalks, do any boards need replacing? Even aging, creaky planks should be replaced before they get to their breaking point.
Look for fallen trees that block or partially block trails and access points. They should be moved or dismantled as soon as possible. If anything in the park has been vandalized, repair or replace items immediately--especially if it’s your signage. Make sure rules and hours are clearly visible.
When doing assessments, keep a careful record of maintenance and incident reports for a minimum of 3-5 years after the Statute of Limitations has run out.