Arborists strap up and clip in for aerial rescue training

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – It’s a dangerous job to be an arborist. They climb dozens of feet up in a tree with sharp and heavy equipment. What if an emergency happens? What do they do?

The tree trimming community gathered in Scissortail Park to learn.

“You can make mistakes,” said Ben Martin, owner of R&B Trees and founder of the non-profit, Share and Care Releaf. “When they’re in the tree and you’re 60 foot in the air, they’re usually not good mistakes.”

More than 50 arborists strapped on their helmets and clipped in their saddles for training Friday.

“This is one of the most dangerous jobs that you could do,” said Martin.

Martin said the industry is easy to get into, which can lead to an increase in injuries.

“You can literally go to a Home Depot, buy a chainsaw started LLC. And that’s how I started,” Martin told News 4. “As we grew, we knew I knew how important it was to keep my guys safe.”

“I’ve seen some really horrific things happen,” said Jonathan Sullivan of Century Care LLC.

Sullivan said he experienced a tragedy in 2017.

“My foreman at the time had a contact incident with an electrical conductor which took his life. I had to go up in the tree and bring him down and attempt to give him CPR, and unfortunately, he didn’t make it,” said Sullivan.

That pushed Sullivan to become a safety trainer, so the arborists can save one another in a manner that doesn’t endanger the rescuer.

The need eventually leading the two to put on this seminar. The arborists admit the rescue conditions are perfectly ideal. However, it’s the best way to come up with an emergency plan.

When one arborist is hurt, the other must go through their emergency ABCs.

“Which is airways. Are they breathing. ‘B’ is bleeding,” said Sullivan. “And then circulation, if they have a pulse.”

Once checked, call 911 and wait on the ground, but keep talking to them. No second victims.

“If one of those ABCs is not check out, we are to proceed to bring them down in a controlled manner to make sure that we don’t have a fatality,” said Sullivan.

The first event was such a success, arborists from other states coming in to learn the ropes of safety.

“I want to support training like this. This training is so vital to our industry,” said Kristoffer Rasmussen, Forestry Manager of the City of Dallas.

Now, Martin and Sullivan want to make this an annual event.



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