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Latest News & Quarterly Newsletters: Safety

Safety NETwork News March 2017

Tuesday, March 7, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lisa Anderson
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During the last few months Box Elder County has had copious amounts of snow, and it has presented several problems--accessing our source water sites in particular. It has required that we use ATVs to get to these sites to do our routine work. And at times it has also required that we snow shoe in.

Here is what I learned from one such experience. I have been hired to do a unique type of work and sitting in my warm truck with the radio on is not it, although it has its charms.  Sad but necessary, I need to be about my Boss’s business.  So the other day I got out of the truck and was immediately pelted by the sleet and searing wind.  My eyes instantly began to water as I turned my back to the storm. The black clouds racing toward me covered the mountain so quickly that it seemed to consume them in mist. I felt like the kid from Christmas story whose mother put so many clothes on him he could barely walk.  That’s how I looked, thanks to my good wife. Even with all the gear somehow I was able to strap on my snow shoes and begin my trek.

What normally is a twenty-minute drive in and out of the site began to be a 3 hour arctic adventure. The snow was fresh and deep. My snow shoes sank into the snow 8 to 12 inches with every step.  It took a lot of extra effort to even progress forward. I had to pause often to catch my breath. Gravity was not my friend as it pulled me down.  I began to watch my steps, and it was difficult to watch for the markers and guides that pointed me toward my destination.

Finally, two hours later, I reached the treatment building, only to find snow and ice blocking the door. I was struggling to catch my breath from the exertion of the walk and now I had to take off one of my snow shoes to use as a shovel to clear the doorway. As I sat on the trash bucket, resting, I thought to myself, “I hope I don’t have a heart attack here and die with no one really aware of where I am. I could lay here for hours before anyone would find me.”

Luckily, all turned out fine, but it could have ended differently.  So, the point of my story is this:

  • Remember the buddy system
  • Let someone know where you are when you travel to a remote site
  • And then call that person when you’re done.

Always remember-- we are as old as our driver’s license says we are. Be safe.

Bob Phippen, Bear River Water Conservancy District

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