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NYC Parks Department is responsible for tree safety

Photo of Christopher Seleski

In New York, many parents pay close attention to potential safety hazards on and around playgrounds where they take their children for exercise and fun with friends. However, broken equipment, hot surfaces and damage or debris on the ground are not the only sources of danger. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation urges people to look up for safety on playgrounds to check the status of the area’s trees anytime they are in a position to enjoy the shade.

Because the parks department is responsible for the health of the city’s trees, there are experts dedicated to monitoring their condition. However, staff may be limited in the ability to catch every instance where there could be an accident. NYC Parks lists several situations where citizens should notify the department immediately, including the following:

    •          Unhealthy trees
    •          Broken or split trunks or limbs
    •          Fallen limbs or trees
    •          Uprooted or leaning trees

Storms can cause significant damage to trees, resulting in numerous unsafe locations. After any severe storm, the parks department often has a considerable amount of compromised limbs and branches to prune and remove. Insect infestations may also cause issues. At times, the city’s urban forest is the victim of vandalism.

The New York Times reports that the top section of a tree fell on several people in a city park managed by a non-profit group. Because the trunk made a loud cracking sound before breaking away, many parents and children were able to avoid injury by fleeing the area or seeking shelter on the park’s carousel. Four adults and one child were harmed in the incident.

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