You should use all tools with caution. Chainsaws are no exception. They're powerful tools. A saw chain at full throttle moves at over 50 miles per hour and commands extra attention to safety.
There are several safety features you will commonly find on a homeowner-model saw. Some features below are available only on gas-powered saws:
Chain brake - designed to stop the chain if kickback occurs.
Chain catcher - helps reduce the risk of a broken or derailed chain striking the operator.
Low-kickback chain - includes links designed to reduce the risk of kickback.
Low-kickback bar - has a small tip radius to reduce the risk of kickback.
Bar tip guard - covers the bar tip to keep the tip of the saw from touching the wood, reducing the risk of kickback.
Hand guard - protects your hands from kickback.
Chain oiler - provides lubricant to the bar and chain to prevent overheating and binding.
Antivibration features - reduces stress to your joints and provides comfort.
Throttle lockout trigger - prevents accidental activation of the throttle control; allows the motor to idle without engaging the chain.
Stop switch - allows the operator to shut off the saw without releasing the saw.
Spark arrester - helps prevent sparks from being expelled by the exhaust and becoming a fire hazard.
Bumper spikes - help maintain the saw's position against the wood.