The challenges of working in wintery conditions are welI-documented and usually well-handled by extra layers, a heated truck and a good thermos. But often the best decision is no climb at all until the conditions subside. The sub-zero freezing temperatures brought on by the latest winter blast often means the latter and has virtually halted tower work across the Upper Plains and Upper Midwest.
The cold temps can create frost on
all structures hindering a safe climb for a technician, according to
Barbara Houdek, CEO of Trillium Tower Development.
“Frosty towers have been problematic
this year,” Houdek said. “Our policy is if the temps are around -10 or
-15 with no wind chill, a 2-hour service call can be completed on a
tower….such as changing a radio head on a sector or providing a re-lamp
on a tower. Winds dictate our capabilities out in the field. Which is
usually the case, so basically -10 to -15 is the limit to our
willingness to work on site,” she said.
Houdek said Trillium
allows several warm up breaks throughout the day. Each tech has arctic
coats, bibs, arctic boots, gloves and other pertinent cold weather gear
such as facemasks. A climber does have to avoid wearing to much clothing
as sweating could cause more problems with the cold temps.