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NIFA: Chainsaw Safety Training

  • September 20, 2021
  • 8:00 AM
  • September 24, 2021
  • 4:30 PM
  • Portage Preserve, 1221 N Ferry Landing, Galena

The Northwest Illinois Forestry Association (NIFA) will sponsor five days of Chain Saw Safety and Woods Worker (SAWW) courses Monday, September 20th, through Friday, September 24th.   Two Level 1 Sessions are planned followed by a Level 2 Session the next day.  An Advanced Level Session tailored to those looking for further instruction and who have completed Levels 1 & 2 will be offered the last day.   This training is designed to teach novice and seasoned saw operators safe use of gas-powered chain saws.  All participants will be instructed in cutting and felling methods using the open-face directional notch and bore-cutting techniques.  Courses consist of classroom instruction and outside hands-on saw operation.  Level 2 Session is open only to those who have completed Level 1 any time previously.  Level 2 will feature advanced tree felling techniques and more hands-on time in the timber.  

Topics to be covered 

  • safety and personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • saw operation, starting, safety features, and body mechanics
  • cutter tooth parts, basic saw maintenance, and chain filing
  • saw reactive forces (push, pull, kickback, and attack)
  • the 5-step felling plan 
  • the safe cutting of spring poles and limbing and bucking techniques. 

Course Schedule

  • Monday, Sept. 20 – Level 1
  • Tuesday, Sept. 21 – Level 2
  • Wednesday, Sept. 22 – Level 1
  • Thursday, Sept. 23 – Level 2
  • Friday, Sept. 24 – Advanced Session (must have completed Levels 1 & 2 anytime before this session to participate).

Cost and Registration

Course cost for the public is $80 per person.  NIFA members and family will receive a $10 discount with another $10 discount for anyone registering before 10 pm, Friday, September 10th.  Make check payable to “Northwest Illinois Forestry Association”.  Registration may be made by mailing request & payment to Tom Arnold, 997 N. Salem Rd., Elizabeth IL 61028, calling 815-858-2407, or emailing  To ensure everyone receives hands-on, personal instruction, class size is limited to the first 8 applicants, so register early!  Those wishing to enroll in both Level 1 and Level 2, please choose consecutive dates.  Those wishing only Level 1 or Level 2, state your preference or if one date does not work at all.  Registration will close at 10 pm, Saturday, September 18th, or when classes are full, whichever comes first.  

Day of class sign-in begins at 8:00 am with the indoor session starting at 8:30. Course will end at 4:30 pm.  Bring your own lunch, chain saw, leather work boots, and gloves.  If you have them, bring a safety helmet with face shield and hearing protection and chainsaw chaps.  These items are a must-have to participate.  If you do not have them, indicate so with registration, and they will be provided or shared.


All sessions will be held at the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation’s Portage Preserve, 1221 N. Ferry Landing Rd., Galena IL.  

COVID Concerns

NIFA understands people are concerned about risk of corona virus infection at events.  If you are not feeling well or have tested positive with the corona virus four weeks before these sessions, please do not register.  Know that class size is limited to 8 people, and including instructor, there will not likely be more that 9 people present at any session.  Initial saw instruction will be held with enough seating to distance appropriately.  And of course, cutting and felling of trees will be conducted within Portage Preserve with plenty of room for distancing while viewing activity.  If you feel more comfortable wearing a mask during any portion of the session, you are encouraged to bring one along.  

About the Instructor

All courses will be led by University of Illinois Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences forestry specialist Jay Hayek.  Mr. Hayek has received over 144 hours of advanced professional chainsaw training through the following nationally recognized programs:  Safety and Wood Workers (SAWW) Training, Game of Logging™, and NWCG’s S-212 Wildland Fire Chainsaws.  Jay is also the lead chainsaw instructor for NRES 285 – Chainsaw Safety & Directional Felling, a 2-hr undergraduate field course offered at the University of Illinois.  Jay received his B.S. in forestry from the University of Illinois and his M.S. in forest resources (silviculture) from the University of Idaho.

• For questions or inquiries, send email to website admin

• To submit membership applications or renewal dues,

mail to NIFA Treasurer, 9098 East Canyon Rd, Apple River, IL   61001

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