It seems like Mother Nature is perpetually engaged in a game of chess pitting living things against the elements, and when you take into account all that they have to endure, trees seem to be some of the strongest players. For all of their strength and resilience, entire trees, not to mention heavy branches, can be taken down by accumulation of ice and snow. With all the harsh winter weather wreaking havoc, what do you do if it causes a tree to fall in your yard?
We have five key recommendations to help you bring this potentially dangerous situation to a suitable conclusion.
1) Safety First
Your first reaction is probably some version of running straight into the scene without a second thought. Resist That Impulse! A fallen tree can bring power lines down with it, which means there could be live electrical wires in the area. Also that one fallen tree could have created unseen damage to other trees and structures, and they could later fall without warning. Try to examine the area from inside your home (or from a safe distance in the yard) before getting any closer.
2) Keep Calm
If a particularly beloved tree has split or fallen, or if there is damage or injury to family, pets, or property, you’re probably going to get upset. And while it’s understandable given the situation, it’s counter productive and can make the things worse, especially if you have to call for emergency services or a difficult neighbor. Do your best to keep a level head to prevent further problems from occurring.
3) Assess the Situation
Before you can take action, you need to take into account all of the relevant facts. Here are some questions to address as you put together a plan for dealing with the fallen tree:
- Is anyone hurt?
- Did the tree or limbs land safely or are they resting on power lines, structures, or other trees?
- Did the tree take down any power lines?
- Is there damage to your property or that of your neighbors?
- Is there any eminent danger to people or property?
You need to have answers to these questions before you call the fire department, utility company, and/or insurance provider.
4) Address Any Immediate Dangers and Emergencies
Of course, you should definitely call 911 if someone is injured by a fallen tree, but it’s just as important to prevent any further damage and injury from other hazards such as downed power lines and debris in the road.
Before angrily calling a neighbor to tell them that their tree landed on your shed or hitting social media to update the world about your present predicament, call emergency services and warn neighbors of any potential problems. Specifically, NEVER try to move a down power line yourself – leave that to the trained professionals.
5) Dealing with the Tree
When the hazardous issues are safely addressed, it’s time to address the tree itself. What happens next depends entirely on whose tree it is and where it landed. Without getting into details and technicalities, the general rule is that the owner of the tree is responsible for remediating the damage, so if your neighbor’s tree lands in your yard, they will need to work with you (and likely their insurance company) to make the situation right.
If the tree is your own and it lands harmlessly on your property, and you don’t wish to dispose of it yourself, you can call a professional tree removal service to take care of it for you.
Ultimately, when it comes to dealing with a fallen tree in your yard caused by ugly winter weather, you need to always make the safety of yourself, your family, and your home your first priority.