A customer came in one day to look into purchasing a new chainsaw. He was not a first-time buyer and knew a thing or two about cutting and running a saw. After explaining a couple of models to him, he decided he was interested in the STIHL MS 271. After giving him a final rundown on using the machine, I mentioned to him what I mention to all of my chainsaw customers: safety! Often, an experienced chainsaw user declines the necessary safety equipment for running a chainsaw because nothing negative has ever happened to them.
Some of the many important safety accessories for chainsaws include a helmet system, eye wear and chaps. The customer claimed he had never used a helmet or chaps before; I stressed to him that even the most experienced of users should always expect the unexpected.
After demonstrating the proper usage of the STIHL chaps and helmet system, I was able to convince him that it was absolutely necessary to spend the little bit of money on the equipment verses paying for a hospital bill.
About three days later, I receive a call over the radio about a customer wanting to speak to me personally at the front. After arriving up front, I noticed a familiar face. It was my customer I had helped with the safety equipment. He had a look in his eyes that showed heavy emotion. After greeting him and shaking his hand, I noticed a pile of STIHL equipment lying near his feet. They looked battered and torn. I wondered to myself, how could he have destroyed these within only a few days?
A look of concern immediately struck my face. He must have noticed my expression and looked down at the pile of equipment. He then sighed and looked at me again. He grabbed my hand, shook it, but didn’t let go. He hit me with a profound statement: “You just saved my life.”
I stood there surprised for a second, then looked back at his equipment. His helmet had been cracked on the top, which looked to have been struck with another object. His chaps had a large tear in the front, with fibers loosely protruding from the tear. He explained his situation to me, beginning with how he thought I was just trying to get him to spend his money here. My customer claimed he had gone home, put on the helmet system as well as the chaps, and began using his chainsaw. He stated that he had been cutting for about an hour before the unexpected became a reality.
While cutting a large tree, his attention was heavy on the saw as it chewed through the tree rapidly. Before he could react, a large branch struck him on top of his head, forcing him to pull the saw towards himself. As soon as he had pulled the saw from the tree, the saw made contact with his left leg just above the knee.
Luckily, this gentleman was wearing the appropriate safety materials. The helmet prevented serious contact with the heavy branch, and the chaps immediately stopped the high-speed chain from contacting his leg. He walked away with only a minor bruise on his head.
After telling me his story, he shook my hand again and stated he was extremely thankful that my concern for his safety was as high as it was. He claimed that, had he not worn this equipment, he may not have been there to shake my hand.
A situation like this is an excellent reminder that even the most experienced of chainsaw users should always wear the appropriate safety equipment. Just like every damaged safety equipment, my customer replaced the helmet and the chaps immediately. He let me keep the chaps to use them as an example of why safety is so important, and I became an even bigger believer in the quality of products STIHL manufactures.
By Justin Steck, servicing tech in the Parker Murdoch’s. He comes across some odd stories sometimes. “But this one, I do believe, takes the cake,” he says.