The AEP Ohio State Safety Committee has named Line Servicer Brandon Scott our November Safety Champion for recently putting a stop to a dangerous situation in northeast Columbus.

An improper, deep cut was made into one of the large limbs and it hung perilously close to one of our power lines.

Scott was responding to a power outage in the area when, arriving at a customer’s property, he saw a landscaping crew in a precarious spot in the backyard. They were attempting to trim a huge silver maple tree – approximately 65 to 70 feet tall – and had already improperly made a deep cut into its trunk. A huge limb was hanging perilously close to our power lines, and the workers had also failed to see the metal cable braces supporting the heavy branches.

Though Scott isn’t part of AEP Ohio’s forestry team, he knew enough to recognize that it was extremely hazardous. He said it was one of the “top three” scariest things he’s witnessed, which includes a fatal car crash and a tree trimmer who was electrocuted when his bucket rose into the power lines.

The deep holes dug into the ground by the truck’s tires were evidence of the power of the massive tree.

One of the workers was up in the tree cutting with a chainsaw; Scott asked him to please get down immediately. The other two were holding tight to a long rope; Scott asked them to attach it to their vehicle instead because, should the branch touch the power lines, there was a chance they might get electrocuted.

“These lawn care people had just started taking on trimming trees, and this was not the one to be learning on,” Scott said. “The whole setup was incorrect. It was amateur hour at its finest.”

Scott said it was one of the scariest things he’s seen in almost 13 years on the job.

With the workers safe and out of harm’s way, Scott next called Utility Forester Michael Griffith to assess the situation. Once he arrived, Griffith was able to quickly confirm it was just as bad as Scott thought.

“The branch would have never cleared the power lines – it wasn’t even close,” Griffith said. “Needless to say, this would have been extremely ugly if it would have let go.”

Once the line was de-energized, professional Asplundh tree trimmers were called to the scene. They secured the branches with ropes and were able to safely remove hazardous limbs piece by piece until they established the proper amount of clearance from our equipment.

Ask Our Forestry Team

Customers are reminded to go to or call (614) 883-6987 if they have a question about tree trimming. The safe removal of trees helps ensure reliable service, prevents power outages and broken equipment and, most importantly, keeps people from getting hurt.

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