The unsung tree heroes of 3 Alarm Tree Rescue

Answering distress and rescue calls — it might not sound like the basic premise of a tree service business, but company co-owner Rich Hancock says it’s all in a day’s work for his 3 Alarm Tree Rescue crew in Frisco, Texas.

Around three years ago, Hancock and friend Nate Boyd were working full time as firefighters. With years of tree care experience under his belt and a strong desire to start his own business, Hancock convinced Boyd they should start a tree care business together.

“I put myself through college doing tree work — it was fun work and it was exciting work, but they were not doing things properly safety-wise so I didn’t really like that,” Hancock said. “Then I got into being a fireman. I started doing high-angle rescues, climbing with ropes and pulleys and using the technical and mechanical safety gear. Those resources kind of brought me back to my interest in tree care and wanting to do things the right way.”

After recruiting a few full-time tree care professionals and part-time firefighters to join the team, Hancock and Boyd started 3 Alarm Tree Rescue in 2014.

“We specialize in high-angle tree rescues, and very complicated tree removals and trims over houses and jobs of that nature,” Hancock said. “People remember our company name and they know about our work with the fire department, so it makes sense that customers think of us for those types of calls.”

Hancock said they aren’t just off-duty firemen though, they are dedicated, professional arborists known for their high standards in safety and professional work.

“Since we started our company, I’ve wanted to get more into hurricane recovery and tornado damage — the jobs that make a difference when people are devastated,” Hancock explained. “It’s kind of hard to explain, but I basically wanted to go and do what I do for the fire department but with tree care — almost like a first responder, but for trees.” 

Hancock’s company dreams became reality these last few months when the 3 Alarm Tree Rescue crew traveled to areas affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

“We make sure to give back while we’re in an area doing hurricane tree work,” Hancock said. “We like to help people out when we can — it’s really rewarding.”

While 3 Alarm was in Florida completing jobs post-Irma, Hancock rented a Vermeer S725TX mini skid steer to take along to jobs.

“That mini skid was amazing; we were moving so much wood so fast,” Hancock said. “For example, there was a big live oak tree chunk we were able to move that would have taken three or four cuts before our guys could have manually moved it — even then, it would have taken three or four trips. It was nice to be able to cruise in there with that mini skid and get so much done.”

Hancock was also impressed with the mini skid traction and its ability to move around without destroying the grass and yard.

“These lawns were completely saturated and the damage to the yard was minimal, if any, when we used the mini skid,” Hancock said. “It might have nicked a little top grass, but that was it — no ruts, no fill dirt was needed; it was great.”

After finishing out their two-week mini skid rental period, Hancock said he’s looking into purchasing one.

“I had been looking at purchasing a mini skid for a while, but I wanted to see if my guys were going to like it and see the pros and cons to see if it fit with our company,” Hancock said. “I really enjoyed working with it; the guys loved it. It was a back saver for them and they were more productive.”

Hancock said a mini skid purchase would look great next to their Vermeer BC1800XL brush chipper. He’s currently planning to budget for the purchase next spring during the busy season, but for now the crew is enjoying their success and waiting to finish out the hurricane season.

“In the last three years, we’ve done amazing — we knock out a good 30-40 jobs per week,” Hancock said. “That’s quite a bit for a one crew show.”

3 Alarm currently serves the areas of Frisco, Southlake, Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington, Texas.

“What sets us apart is our customer service — our goal is to make each of our customers 100 percent satisfied,” Hancock said. “We’re not here for 4 or 4.5 star reviews; we’re here for 5 stars and we’re going to earn it.”

For more insight into Vermeer Tree Care products visit or view additional articles on the Tree care, rental and landscaping blog.

This article contains third-party observations, advice or experiences that do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Vermeer Corporation, its affiliates or its dealers. Advice or suggestions provided in this article are statements of general applicability that may or may not apply to individual businesses, whose circumstances and operations may vary.

Vermeer, the Vermeer logo and Equipped to Do More are trademarks of Vermeer Manufacturing Company in the U.S. and/or other countries. © 2018 Vermeer Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


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