First off, if you’re in the USA I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! I hope you got some well deserved time off for R&R. No matter where you are I want you all to know that the wireless field worker is making a difference and is in more demand than ever, great job! Make sure all of you give thanks for what you have.
So let me ask you, how is your gear? I heard that most field workers have to “make do” with what they have even if it’s worn and torn.
So let’s break it down by category. I think this will be an easy way to look at what you’re working with and maybe I can get some feedback at the end of the article.
Laptop – here is a common complaint I hear from field people, the problems with the laptops. They get outdated quickly and they constantly have problems but they are the central tool used in documentation. We need them for just about everything, well, we used to need them for everything. Most of the smaller companies are putting it off but the tablet and smart phone are taking over. Like it or not these devices are so much more efficient in the field. They have the cameras and apps built right in. Companies like Field Dailies, (http://www.fieldmanagement.us/field-solutions/) have it figured out. They are bringing our profession into the modern age with the apps that make our lives easier. There is a learning curve, I won’t lie to you, but it’s going to make our lives simpler and more efficient in the long run. It’s amazing that what we do is changing the evolution of everyone out there but most of the field people need to work with outdated equipment, right down to your phone. I think that is changing, we need to have the latest equipment. If your company can make an investment now they will see how it will save money on the long run. Laptops are high maintenance and expensive. Tablets are cheaper and smaller and work with apps and tend to crash less often. However, it is up to you to take care of your equipment, remember that a clean tool is a happy tool! Your phone, tablet, and laptop are tools of the trade!
Test equipment – most of us probably use some type of test equipment. The problem in today’s world is that it becomes outdated so fast. So use it as often as you can, take care of it, and appreciate what you have. That is what sets you apart from the amateurs is that you have sophisticated test equipment. If you need training make sure your boss knows that and get the training that is needed. Make sure you know what you’re doing in the field, play with the equipment prior to going out if possible to make sure you are familiar with it. Remember that there may be a learning curve or that there could be an issue. Also, make sure the batteries are charged. Whatever you are working with you may or may not need power. Make a plan of where you will be and what is available, like power, cover in case it rains or snows, heat in case it’s cold, air conditioning in case it’s hot, you know what I mean! Know your plan!
Tools – this covers a lot of what I already said but make sure you have the tools you need and that they are in working order. If you are a field tech, do you need a crimper, an extractions tool, whatever, make sure that you have a working tool. If you’re a rigger, how is that winch working? Is the cable and rope in tip-top shape for lifting? Is it?
Safety gear – here is the most important thing. If you are a climber, how is your gear? When did you inspect it last? I mean really look at it? I don’t mean look it over and say OK. Really look at it and inspect it. I know it is easy to become complacent and make excuses, like, I know it’s worn or torn but it’s fine, it’s been that way for months. I know because I was the same way, but then think to yourself, what if it doesn’t hold? What if it breaks? Make plans for when you get back to have it repaired or replaces. Expensive? Sure, but what about the liability if someone gets hurt? Then what will it cost in insurance and future work?
First aid kits – the most overlooked item in and field workers arsenal! Make sure the first aid kit is replenished every time you go back to the shop or if you go to a store for supplies. This is something you really need to look at and remember. Make a note, put in a reminder in your smart phone to look it over once a month. Especially if you are the field manager or crew leader, this is easy to forget about. Don’t worry, you will remember next time someone gets hurt, you know, when it’s too late!
OK everyone, I think you get the idea. Look over what you have and be thankful that you’re learning something every day! You are making the difference out there. You are on the front line. So make sure that you care about yourself and your coworkers. Even your competition can benefit from your forethought, because we all want to be safe out there. Let’s make this a team effort.
I would like to hear back from you so I can share your problems and successes with the wireless world. Leave a comment below and let me know how you feel. If you have pictures feel free to send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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