FARMINGTON — Students in a forestry and wood harvesting course gave demonstrations Thursday on saw care and maintenance and safety procedures, and clothing in the parking lot at Labonville.
“We're doing everything safety to show what you can do for yourself to prevent injury, Zach Jackson of Chesterville, a senior in the program at Foster Career and Technical Educational Center at the Mt. Blue school campus.
Students explained the use of personal protection equipment and what student loggers use, Cody Henry of Wilton, another senior in the program. Both Jackson and Henry are in the second year of the course.
Jordan Whitney, a senior from Industry, demonstrated how a chain brake on a chain saw helps prevent injury when the saw kicks back while cutting a solid piece of wood. He touched the tip of the saw blade to a large timber on a table that was being balanced from the other end by Henry and Jackson.
Students doing the demonstration wore chaps, steel-toed boots reinforced with Kevlar, gloves and a hardhat with a face shield and ear protectors.
The students were joined by instructors Dean Merrill and Rod Spiller, and Lucas Tree Care representatives Jerry Allen and Justin Brooks.
The personal protection equipment will help but it is not 100 percent guaranteed to protect people from injury, Jackson said.
Safety is the key to operating a saw and cutting timber, he said. He showed the details of the chain and saw blade and how they work.
The course is designed for students considering a career in any phase of forest management, wildlife conservation, wood harvesting, or heavy equipment operation, according to the program's description.
It offers a combination of classroom instruction, field trips, and hands-on training in the woods. Safety is the No. 1 priority throughout the course. Students study forest management, chain saw safety, GPS training, operation and maintenance, heavy equipment safety, operation and maintenance; and timber harvesting.
Student loggers, Jazmine Chick of East Dixfield and Mikala Holbrook of Farmington, who are seniors, said they have learned a lot in the program.
“It is the best class ever,” Chick said.
“Dean Merrill is such a good teacher,” Holbrook said. “I love it.”