Before We Respond
We have touched on some of the personal tools for the truckie and now I want to focus a little on the tools the truck driver or engineer can use to make life and work a little easier.
As the saying goes, these are my tools; there are many like it, but these are mine. Remember that this is my opinion and in no way reflects the end all be all. It is a guide that hopefully will help point you in the direction to find your own tools, ones that fit you like these fit me so well in my career.
The Tools Including A Surprise One
Around the station I found a number of tools to be of benefit. Doing equipment checks, making minor repairs and tuning up the equipment you carry are just as important as the stuff we do on the incident.
• Gerber or Leatherman combo tool.
• A pencil and marker
• A clipboard
• A long straight edge screw driver
• Your brain
Each one of these tools serves an important purpose, least of which is the last one listed.
The Gerber or Leatherman combination tool was probably one of the most used tool I carried. It works on a whole host of applications (not the kind on your smartphone). From the saws to the rescue tools it does a great job and holds up well to abuse.
The pencil and/or marker is the tool for your check sheets as well as marking items for repair that you must send out. It goes hand in hand with the clipboard that holds your worksheets for the dailies we need to complete. You should also have with you a couple of equipment tags so if and when you find things that need repair you can mark them.
We all know the older we get the more we forget. So if you have some time in the job, it makes life easier if we pull the item when we find the problem. You never know when the bell may ring.
A long straight screw driver works great on making adjustments to our power equipment. It is especially useful on the ventilation saw to adjust the slack in the chain or break the saw down for cleaning. I am sure you could name a dozen other task this tool works on, just don’t forget if you stick it in your pocket it will leave a mark.
Now for the most important part and probably the one we tend to neglect, our brain. The truck driver is a unique species of firefighter. The problem I found is that in our uniqueness we tend to be far more focused on doing the job on the fire ground. We don’t focus as much as we should on making sure our rig and equipment are up to the task.
I have witnessed and probably been part of the “I am tired” and “don’t want to get up out of my kitchen chair” group. The demise of a good truck driver or engineer is the tendency to become lazy and complacent in the little things. Exercising your brain and staying motivated is the key to being that great driver or engineer.
Until next time, be safe, stay low and keep learning!
Cover Photo Credit: Jason Cromer