Chainsaw Training

​Chainsaws are dangerous pieces of equipment that can cause loss of limb or life with careless use. Several individuals in FNR, even those with years of experience, have had "close calls" with a chainsaw. While training does not eliminate the danger associated with chainsaw use, it dramatically reduces that danger by both demonstrating the proper felling and limbing techniques and identifying those situations where extra care must be used. 

​This training is typically divided into multiple sessions (i.e., levels) or a multi-day program depending on the certifying organization. Most certifications are not transferable among organizations. In all cases, initial levels provide background and minimal experience in tree felling techniques and basic operation and maintenance of a chainsaw. More advanced levels build upon tree felling techniques for deifficult and/or leaning trees, bucking downed trees, handling "spring poles" and other more potentially challenging/dangerous situations.

​​All FNR staff, graduate and undergraduate students, and employees who operate chainsaws in the course of research, teaching, or outreach activities, or as part of employment or student club activities, are required to take the basic level of chainsaw training. Advanced training is also encouraged.

​On Campus Training:

  • Trees Fall for Me, Safely - This FNR-sponsored workshop is held annually, generally early in the fall semester on a Saturday. It is open to undergraduate and graduate students, staff and faculty, but spots are generally limited to 15-20 individuals. Introductory and advanced courses are offered, each lasting a day. There is no cost.

  • FNR 339 Silviculture - As part of this class, students are given further training during a laboratory excercise on use of a chainsaw for timber stand improvement operations. While the training is primarily for students enrolled in the course, there sometimes is room for 1-3 individuals to join the class for that day. This lab is usually held in late September or October of each year. Contact Dr. Mike Saunders​ to inquire on availability.

  • Individual - Several FNR staff are qualified to train basic chainsaw safety and can do private lessons if alternative training sources are unavailable. Contact Brian BehelerMichael Loesch-FriesDon Carlson, or Dan Cassens​.
Off Campus Training:

  • Professional Logger Training​ - The Indiana Division of Forestry frequently offers Game of Logging chainsaw certification as part of its logger training program. The GOL offers four levels of chainsaw safety training; each level is a 1-2 day workshop. GOL certification is recognized by some state agencies and private companies in the U.S., but is not transferable for U.S. Forest Service chainsaw certification. State-organized workshops are held several times a year, but do cost. Most workshops are open to Purdue students and staff. For more information, contact Duane McCoy​ (

  • US Forest Service - Most federal agencies recognize the S212 Wildland Fire Chain Saws course as the minimal training required of employees and volunteers. This week-long course is held regionally, generally hosted by a National Forest. Completion of the course certifies an individual as a Class A sawyer; Class B and C levels can be acquired with additional training. You may contact the Hoosier National Forest office (1-866-302-4173) to inquire on the course.

  • Stihl​ - Stihl provides training through several distributors around the county. Although the training is intended for companies and municipalities, they often will allow students to attend. The training is generally not free and may occur in an adjoining state. 
​​​ ​​A​fter you've completed Chainsaw Training, please provide documentation of your training to Dr. Mike Saunders or Marlene Mann. ​​​​​​​​​​

Forestry and Natural Resources, 715 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2061 USA, (765) 494-3590

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