ArborTimes Winter 2023

Zimmerman’s company has more than four decades of experience preparing for the aermath of hurricanes and tropical storms. Rather than traveling to seek out storm work, Zimmerman’s crew stays busy close to home. In preparation for a storm, the company first makes sure its own facility and equipment are pro- tected from damaging winds. “We have a warehouse with overhead doors,” says Zimmerman, adding, “We try to secure our facility the best we can. We bring in all our equipment to the shop and make sure everyone has all their tools on their trucks.” “We do not travel long distances to go to storms,” Zimmerman continues. “We stay local because we think it’s more important to take care of our existing clientele.” Aer a big storm, Zimmer- man’s arborists will drive around the community to survey and help dispatch. Existing commercial and residential clients are their first priority. If estab- lishing a new client, Zimmerman sug- gests that those entering storm work complete an interview with clients before rushing to the scene, so as not to waste time or fuel. He also suggests draing a written agreement with all clients before work is performed. Those offering storm work services should be transparent about daily rates and costs and include a list of equipment intend- ed to be used. Additionally, storm work is hazard- ous work, and Zimmerman suggests having more safety precautions than normal. While it is essential to pay attention to dangerous wires, trees under compression and other hazard- ous obstacles, Zimmerman says those entering storm work should also be cautious of personnel fatigue. “There are only so many hours in the day that a body can endure this kind of work,” he says, adding that storm workers should be eating and hydrating prop- erly throughout the day. According to Mayer, who has had his share of long-distance storm clean up events, “It starts with preparedness.” That includes a check list of items to consider, including additional fuel and

It is essential to pay attention to dangerous wires, trees under compression and other hazardous obstacles. Photo by Kipp Teague @

backup fuel tanks, storage for equip- ment, backup supplies, personal pro- tective equipment (PPE), food and a housing plan. In certain scenarios, lodging may be out of the question, Mayer cautions, pointing out that during major storms, residents will evacuate and fill up ho- tels, along with deployed members of FEMA. In some instances, crews may find themselves sleeping inside trucks.

back home. Tree care companies need to consider how much cost goes into the overall trip for the entire group, which could turn into, “an expensive adventure,” says Mayer. Lastly, those considering taking on storm work should have patience. “Never do storm work during a storm. That’s very hazardous,” insists Wedemeyer, who notes that obstacles like icy roads, wires and trees under tension could be a recipe for disaster. “An accident could happen,” Wedemeyer says, and suggests always waiting it out until aer the storm.

Then, the calls will come in.

Katie Dastoli is a freelance writer with more than seven years of experi- ence writing for the media on various topics. She currently resides in western Massachusetts.

Also to consider, adds Mayer, is loss of cell service. Some cleanup projects can last weeks. Issues can arise, and employees may need to leave to travel Those entering storm work should also be cau- tious of personnel fatigue. Workers should be eating and hydrating properly throughout the day. Photo by Tony Webster @

“Never do storm work during a storm ... obstacles like icy roads, wires and trees

under tension could be a recipe for disaster.”

18 | ArborTIMES Winter 2023

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