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Sep 13th, 2013 | By | Category: Jack Schrock's Blog

Jack SchrockThe word has different meanings depending on the situation. Safe for the F16 fighter pilot means he successfully dodged that last missile, but it means something entirely different when talking about grandmother climbing the stairs. You can also be “safe” at home plate, which translates to another run scored or safe in your remarks which says your comments are moderate to neutral. And for T & R, what might be considered safe for work on the lower 40 probably is not safe along an interstate highway.

But, what does safe generally mean for towers and other first responders? Given the chance to offer an uneducated opinion, I would define this “safe” as a situation in which “the odds of further damage or injury have been reduced through training, experience and preparation.” The opposite of safe is hazardous which means that … ”the odds of further damage or injury are increased by the lack of training, experience and preparation.”

To me, safe at the incident scene means taking a few moments to first size up the situation because without a plan all we’re doing is trying to impress someone with just how hard we’re working to clear the scene. When you plan your work you come to know and understand the various elements, and knowing that, unsafe situations are revealed.That is when training, experience and preparation kick in.

While working with an electric stud gun in the top of a missile silo there was a guy who was too macho to use either a safety helmet or harness. The stud gun shorted through his attachment chain, which released him to fall to the bottom of the silo. More to our point, we all know of towers who pay no particular attention to the color of clothes they wear so on a dark rainy night it’s almost impossible to see a person in a dark shirt and pants, especially if he’s some distance away. Remember, black absorbs light while white reflects it.

So, unless you’re inclined to work only in your birthday suit, I suggest bright clothing (reflective at night or low visibility) along with a hard hat, gloves, safety cones and lights — not popping strobes but illumination because that is the best way to make a bad situation safer. Leave the macho man at the bar, be safe and be around tomorrow.