There are over 4 million telecom towers in the world, standing from hundreds to thousands of feet high. Even in the most temperate conditions, the job of repairing and maintaining these towers is a difficult one because the only way up is by climbing manually, hauling up tools and other gear. Tower climbing is a job that also challenges workers because, besides being very physical, it demands that much of the work is performed amid the elements. Tower climbing cold weather gear is essential for any climber who faces freezing temperatures or other inclement weather.
Obtaining proper insurance is a critical aspect of business, especially when you have people climbing a thousand feet into the air in the rain, snow, wind or other challenging environmental conditions. Towers still need to be maintained and repaired even when it’s freezing. Besides insurance coverage, there are many ways to offer protection to climbers.
Tower Climbing Cold Weather Gear Vs Hypothermia
Cold weather is a good reminder of how vulnerable humans and human societies are. In freezing conditions, batteries freeze, water lines break and people who aren’t protected can get seriously hurt, or even die, from exposure. Your hands aren’t as dextrous in cold weather as they normally are. You may lose feeling in your feet, especially if they are stationary.
Hypothermia is the condition of having an abnormally, even dangerously, low body temperature, and it is caused by prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures. Experienced tower climbers should be appraised of the symptoms of hypothermia or cold stress. Though you may not feel a slower pulse, by the time you’re experiencing disorientation or lack of coordination, it’s very much time for urgent self-care.
Experienced climbing companies have plans in place to provide protection and support for climbers who may experience cold stress. This can include having blankets, warm liquids, extra clothing items and other complimentary gear on hand as well as training climbers on how to plan and carry out rescue descends with other climbers.
Good climbing gear makes a big difference. Climbers should have clothing that protects their faces, hands, and feet not only from cold but also from moisture. After all, climbers will sweat when they’re all bundled up, even in such conditions. Anti-fog goggles, extra socks and insulated, waterproof boots are essential articles.
The Stresses of Great Heights
Practiced climbers know that despite conditions on the ground where they start, things can be drastically different atop the tower. Tower climbing gear must provide efficiency and maneuverability, even when harnessed in. The harness prevents climbers from effectively layering of clothes, unlike other workers in cold and inclement weather. Instead, tower climbers must be smarter with their choice of clothing.
Another difference between working on the ground and working at heights is that a climber’s movements are severely restricted. If you get cold while on the ground, you can take a quick walk to circulate your blood and warm up a little. Tower climbers, for all of their cell tower climbing gear, don’t have the luxury of moving, instead remaining relatively still for hours at a time to make repairs.
Experienced climbers carry heating packs for their hands and feet for the moments when their movements have become restricted due to cold. They also carry extra gloves because there are plenty of stories of dropping a glove from the top of a tower. It is important to drink a lot of water, as hypothermia is much more likely when you’re dehydrated.
Other Essential Climbing Gear
Tower climbing cold weather gear requirements go beyond clothing. Electronics that allow for communication with ground personnel and the ability to forecast as well as check environmental conditions in real-time are essential so you don’t end up wholly on your own. Access to the National Weather Service, for instance, allows climbers to check wind speed and temperature so that they can figure out how quickly frostbite will set in under given conditions.
Climbers should carry a paper mask to use as a tool for safe breathing techniques in case exertion or altitude cause fast breathing. They should have a heat gun at the ready to warm up gear that’s lost its ability to be manipulated. Climbing preparedness also includes carrying extra CAT5 cables that are kept warm to replace the ones in switches or routers that may have snapped. Carabineers should be big enough to account for the weakened grip of cold fingers.
Outsmarting the Cold
Performing tower climbing operations in optimal weather conditions helps to ensure safety and efficiency. In deep winter, this could mean scrapping plans during a storm or frigid temperatures. It also means working when the sun is providing peak energy, like late morning or early afternoon.
The edge that climbers have over the relentless cold is the ability to learn and prepare. Technology, equipment, experience and common sense all contribute to good preparation.
Preparing With Tower Climbing Cold Weather Gear
When you’ve got the equipment you need to deal with the elements as you make your way to the top of a tower, you’re in a better position to complete your work safely, efficiently and comfortably. Having appropriate tower climbing cold weather gear on hand protects your body against the elements. Preparing ahead of time is a hallmark of good business practice, and obtaining insurance is another critical element of preparation. Contact us at Volaris Insurance today to see how we can help you to develop the most thorough insurance packages to protect you and your work.