Staying safe from falling trees- could the injuries caused have been prevented?

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Falling tree

It alarms me how every time I turn on the t.v. or read the paper, there are news stories about falling branches severely injured people or worse – killing them.  I am not sure why this is happening, but as a homeowner, I would encourage everyone to have a tree surgeon/expert look over your trees because if a branch falls on someone on your property, you are liable.

Sometimes the signs of a tree that is about to fall are hard to see and you don’t necessarily need to have a bad storm for the tree to give way.

Channel 4 interviewed a tree expert, Mr. Hall from Full Tree Service to educate the public on how to spot a tree or a tree branch that might fall.  “A tree usually would give you a sign. This one right here just happened to fall without giving too much sign which can happen,” Hall said. “Most people are under the assumption that it takes a hurricane-force winds to bring a tree down and that’s just not the case. What it does take is a saturated ground. If you have rain for several days the ground becomes like soup and then you have a tree planted like in a bowl of soup. And if you have a 20 to 30 mph sustained wind, trees come down. If you walk outside and the tree has an unusual tilt to it, that it didn’t have yesterday, than that is something you want to be concerned about and get looked at. If you see the ground pulling up or rising that may be another sign that the roots are giving way,” Hall said.  Also, check for leaf discoloration which could mean the tree is sick or dying. And if a tree isn’t swaying in the breeze, that could mean something is wrong and the tree could snap.

This is great information for all of us as we have read tragedy after tragedy of limbs falling on cars, homes and even people.  Back in April, a 68 year old Clay County man was heading to a store off of State Road 16 in Penney Farms.  According to the Florida Highway patrol, the man was driving west on S.R. 16 just east of Saunders Road in his 2007 Ford Mustang just after 9 p.m.  Troopers said the man crashed his car after the tree limb fell and he was pronounced dead at the scene.  As crews cleaned up what’s was left of the massive Live Oak, it’s easy to see why it fell. Its insides were rotted, with cracks along the trunk.

Last month another person was killed from a falling tree.  A woman injured by a falling tree limb Sunday afternoon outside of Gainesville has died, according to the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office. A 26 year old female  was taken to a Gainesville hospital after the limb fell at Poe Springs Park in High Springs, which is about 30 minutes outside of Gainesville. She died shortly after arriving at the hospital, deputies said.  She  was one of three people injured by the tree limb, which fell just after 2:30 p.m. Sunday.The Sheriff’s Office said a severe storm blew through the area, but it’s unclear if the limb fell because of lightning or high winds.

I urge everyone look at the trees in their yard, have an expert look at them and trim your limbs or take those trees down, especially as we get into hurricane season.

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