Watertown, SD - Sep 8, 2008 - With Hurricane Ike barreling toward the coastline, storms have caused outages for wireless, broadcast and cellular companies and their customers. To ensure that customers' demands are met, these carriers have been hurriedly calling tower companies and asking for immediate assistance in tower repair work for disaster stricken areas.
The National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) realizes that broadcast and wireless communication towers have become essential to keeping communities connected during times of disaster; however, it is critical to keep safety top of mind especially when working under such time constraints and deadlines.
NATE is asking its members and tower climbers everywhere to consider several things before saying yes to performing disaster relief work. NATE believes that safety must always remain top of mind and proper safety procedures need to be taken into account when calculating the risks and rewards for disaster relief jobs.
NATE offers several tips in maintaining site safety during disaster repairs.
Survey the surroundings and environment.
Is the site accessible by normal routes? Washed out roads and flooding may be evident in the area. Also, are there utility lines down in the area?
Ensure that a site-specific safety plan has been created and is on-hand
A plan is essential in case of an emergency. Are local care centers and hospitals open?
What additional equipment is needed to ensure the job can be completed safely?
Will you need to purchase special items before you arrive at the job site? Consider coolers for ice and food, water, canned food products, batteries, tarps, bug repellent, medications, hygiene products, weather radio, rain gear/clothing, converter chargers for cell phones and laptops, gas cans, extra cash, etc.?
A disaster relief project will unlikely resemble a typical jobsite; climbers will likely be placed in adverse weather conditions and pushed to work irregular hours at a rapid pace to complete the repairs quickly. Safety is everyone's responsibility, and tower workers should not be pushed to complete tasks faster than they can safely be completed. Safety needs to remain the number one priority on all jobsites, even more so regarding disaster relief work.
Radio magazine is working with NATE to produce a tower safety webinar that will be presented on Oct. 7. Watch for announcements in Currents and at RadioMagOnline.com.