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What to do When Your Tree Falls Down

What to do When Your Tree Falls Down

Chances are, if you are reading this article, your tree has already fallen down. If there are any power lines down under or near your tree, stay away and call 911. If your home has been damaged, secure it as well as you can without taking unnecessary risks. As in any emergency, rely on help from professionals.

For power outages, call PGE at (503) 464-7777 in Portland or (800) 544-1795 outside the city limits. PGE’s automated outage reporting system will give you up-to-the-minute information about the outage.

If you detect a natural gas leak, take these steps as advised by Northwest Natural company.

“Do not use your telephone. This includes cellular phones and all types of portable communication and electronic devices that have a battery. These can spark and create a source of ignition. Do not light matches or create any other source of ignition. Do not operate ANY electrical switch, including lights, on or off. This could create a spark, which could ignite the gas. Open windows and doors. Evacuate everyone from the area. Call NW Natural (from a phone NOT INSIDE the building with the leak) at 1(800) 882-3377.”

Once the immediate situation is under control, in the Portland area call Urban Forestry at 503-823-TREE (8733) for tree hazards on publicly owned property or city right-of-way, such as sidewalks, streets or parks.  For more detailed guidance on tree emergencies, find more information from the city here.

Even healthy, well-cared-for trees sometimes fall, the most common reasons being severe storms or other acts of nature. Many of your neighbors may have been through this same situation. It is a part of life in our magnificent Pacific Northwest. Mr. Tree has undoubtedly helped many people you know with emergency tree services. Ask around. Mr Tree is proud of the work we do and the countless referrals by satisfied customers we have helped with emergency tree services.

If there has been a severe storm in your area, local government emergency services may be strained. Don’t hesitate to call 911 local emergency services when downed power-lines, blocked roads or other public hazards exist. You want to make sure your emergency has been reported so that it gets on the list for repair by city or county crews. Utility crews are trained to identify wires and block off danger zones. Road crews make sure that evacuation routes are clear for fire engines, ambulances and emergency traffic. Especially in remote areas, your call may be the one that counts. The city is committed to  emergency response within 24 hours, prioritizing calls based on severity.

If the fallen tree is on your own property, the city of Portland’s Urban Forest recommends that you call an arborist to remove any hazardous portion of the tree, take pictures and submit a retroactive removal permit application.

With our team of professional arborists, certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA),  Mr. Tree stands at the ready to assist with tree emergency services. Minimize further damage and protect your property by enlisting the services of our experienced, insured and bonded professionals to remove the fallen tree. Our emergency tree services are available 24/7, 360 days a year.

Emergency tree services should be performed by trained, licensed, experienced professionals with the proper equipment to get the job done quickly, safely and efficiently. Working with a reliable company will give you the peace of mind that the job is done right. The company assumes any liability for workplace injuries, should they occur.

Your insurance agent is a good source for help with this type of emergency, and you should be in immediate contact with your insurance company whenever a large tree falls on your property.  Local agents will be familiar with the types of tree emergencies that are likely to happen in your area, and should be able to refer you to emergency tree services and other professional repair services.

Call your homeowner’s insurance agent and find out whether you are covered for the cost of removal and any necessary repairs to property or landscaping. Homeowners’ insurance policies typically cover damage to your house from a fallen tree. Your auto insurance should cover any damage to your car with comprehensive coverage. Your insurance agents can verify coverage under your particular policies.

What if the tree in question belonged to you or to a neighbor? Rule of thumb for whose insurance pays for the consequences of fallen trees is not who owns the land on which the tree grows, but who owns the land where the tree falls. Insurance policies may or may not cover the cost of removal. If the tree in question was known to be dead or previously damaged, the tree’s owner could be responsible for cleanup and repair of damage to your property.

These issues can be complicated. Each situation is unique, and you may end up covering some of the cost of tree removal. The pictures you have taken may be useful in the case of a dispute. You may want to review your policies at this time and make some changes in coverage for the future.

Assess whether your tree and yard maintenance plan may also need review. Are there other trees that may be at risk of falling in the next storm? Will you replace the tree that fell? A professional arborist like Mr. Tree can help with these decisions as well, working out a maintenance plan on a regular schedule that meets your needs and budget.

Perhaps a different placement or a different species of tree is advisable. Maybe the trees you have could use some pruning or even removal to prevent a similar event in the future. As in most areas of life, prevention is a good investment, yielding many returns.