Jeff McGovern the pest coach talks about getting into termite inspection shape for termite season. With the warm weather hopefully on the way. I see the weather reports up north and well it doesn’t look like it’s quite there yet. The ice and snow is still around but I guess as time passes the next few months everybody will have the joy of doing termite investigations once again. Course living here in Florida. That’s kind of stuff goes on all year round. But I don’t normally spend a lot of time in the termite arena. But I thought I’d make a few comments about that, and about that type of work in and of itself because it’s physically extremely demanding.
When your older your body doesn’t cooperate very well
And when you’re working in pest control, You know it doesn’t work well if the body doesn’t cooperate and when you’re involved in doing assessments and evaluations for termites or what some people call a termite inspections it beats the living daylights out of the body. But let’s let’s take a moment and look at this from a far more practical point of view. As we age we are not as mobile. We are not as supple. Oh yeah there’s some people that are but you know they all we’re all jealous of them. But the reality is we don’t work as well. We don’t move as well. And we’re a little bit slower.
So let’s. Just imagine for a moment you’re in your living room or in your family room and you’ve got work coming up next week and you know it’s gonna be the first time you crawled around since maybe late last fall. It’s been a few months. You’ve been sedentary. Yeah. You’ve been doing some pest control work but the down and dirty grungy crawl under buildings and scaling through attics and such hasn’t been done for a little while because it’s just been too cold and too icy. Are you truly in shape for that and how can we tell. And how can we tell what type of protective equipment we really should have. You know there was a time. Back in the mid 1970s when I was just getting started in pest control that I could have crawled under the house and T-shirt and shorts that would’ve been fine. I was indestructible and could do anything that is not the case anymore and I have to be far more careful. We all do. But let’s say you know we’re in the living room in the family room this weekend and we want to find out just what kind of shape for it. Well hey good carpeting on the floor.
You know it’s a it’s a nice nice afternoon. I’m going to try crawling around the living room crawling around family room cutout in your hands and knees and try that. How comfortable is that. Can you move all right. The thing is hurt because if they do it’s going to be far more magnified under the building. Now to find out how good a shape we’re really in. Maybe we should add a level of difficulty to this task. So most of us have kids and grandkids they have Legos. So maybe we should go get a bucket of legos randomly scattered those around the middle of the floor where we’re going to be crawling THEN LET’S TURN THE LIGHTS OUT. AND LET’S GET A FLASHLIGHT AND NOW LET’S TRY crawling through that room on our hands and knees and belly crawling with the Legos and the flashlight. We’re going to find out how good a shape we’re really in because nothing is more painful than coming down on a lego and you know what. When you’re at a crawl space or a tight area like that in and around a building. You’re going to run into stuff that tears you up.
And better to find out now that maybe you need to change out those knee pads maybe you need to have knee pads with a gel insert on the inside that has a little bit more protection on the outside than the ones you used last year that wore out. You should have replaced them anyway, And maybe you’re going to need some elbow pads for the scrambling around you’re gonna do. There’s nothing wrong with being protected
And what type of crawl suit. Are you wearing now many folks that have seen me at meetings has seen me in my bedbug suit. That’s what I would call a finished area cover all. It’s great. For when I’m working inside of a nice place. If I’m inside of a commercial kitchen a bedroom hotel room. Restaurant what have you those coveralls are fine for that they’re light duty and they’re made to protect me in those areas but when I’m going underneath the building and I know I need my knee pads and my elbow pads and everything else that cross suit. Is gonna be a number of degrees heavier and tougher to protect me and testing out in the living room floor with Legos is not necessarily a bad way to approach this because let me tell you something if you can handle the Legos you can handle a lot of what’s underneath those houses. And the reason I said to turn the light off is we have to learn how to work in the dark. And sometimes we don’t do that very well we depend on one flashlight in our hand when we really ought to be depending on maybe a headlamp a chest pack a wrist lamp
Or any variation of ways to light up the space. I used to carry an area lamp under buildings with me a lantern. I could just sit down and light it up and that would be my guiding light source and I use the flashlight for more detail and I had headlamps and such too. But remember the rule flashlights one is none and two is one that goes for a lot of the equipment we use. You’ve got to have tools you can get around with underneath that building and you’ve got to be able to see. Now the other thing is when you’re underneath there I hope to God you’re wearing eye protection. He. I know there isn’t something on a label that says must wear eye protection crawling under a house. This is one of those times you go you know what the labels great but I’m gonna protect myself to a higher degree. So go ahead and wear those glasses underneath the building.
It’s OK. There’s dust and debris and everything else. You need to protect yourself from that. And what about gloves.
You better have good gloves on underneath that structure. Your hands are pulling you through and clawing your way through those areas. So you’ve got to protect your hands you’re going to have splinters. You’re going to have sharp metal. You’re gonna have nails you’re going to have glass. You can have any manner of things and you’re gonna be putting your weight on your hands. You better have something stronger than just a little pair of plastic gloves are you gonna cut those hands to ribbons. And without those hands
You can’t work without those eyes you can’t see to work and you know you may have to breathe when you’re underneath that building as well. So I hope you’ve got some type of a respirator system that allows you to move around crawling and contorted
Because most of the time we measure these things for standing up and bending over. We don’t measure them properly for crawling around. So you’ve got to have a piece of equipment that stays in place while you’re making those more violent movements. And what about head protection
Now. I came up the same way as a lot of people did with that god forsaken plastic bump cap. No matter how I timed it or how I shoved it onto my head. Nothing short of a roll of duct tape under my chin kept that thing in place. So where something on your head that fits and stays in place. Some guys like the ball cap with the insert in it. That’s fine if it’ll stay on your head. The problem is the ball cap has a ball cap rather has a brim. You can’t look up as well because that doggone brim is in the way. I know you can turn it around and put it on backwards. That doesn’t fit everybody’s head very well with the insert myself. I end up using a lightweight bike helmet. No not the one that’s all swoop you look at and pointed with all the gift gouges and shapes in it. I use a good old fashioned rounded bike helmet. I have one that folds and I have a kind of a matte red one and they’re both No Bram I don’t. I put them on my head I snap the buckle. They don’t come off and I can move my head in any direction and I can still see. And that way if I happen to come up under a beam I won’t take my head off. And I’ve gotten ample protection from other things with that type of headgear as well. So you’ve got to protect yourself while you’re under there. And you know we mentioned knee pads and elbow pads. They are golden for pulling yourself through and all this equipment all these things we use to protect ourselves underneath that building or doing that audit for termites. They’re going to get beat up and tore up. Don’t be afraid to replace the equipment that’s worn. If you wear it out replace it for heaven’s sakes. Is much as I love duct tape. Let’s not be duct taping up our safety gear get good solid replaceable safety gear. Change it out
And while we’re walking on the knee pads let’s go a little bit lower. What do we wear on our feet. Because we need shoes or some type of footwear that are not going to get clogged up and packed up with dust and crud and everything else. And that’s going to vary from person to person as to the footwear that works best for crawling. Because we look upon everything is walking or stepping crawling is a different motion. So we need footwear that’s appropriate for crawling around. Something that’s not going to get laden down with crud that we can move around with underneath that building with. And I’ll tell you something for me it’s tough. I wear a size 15 wide shoe. I can almost walk on water and sometimes when I go to the store the people say oh the canoe department is over there. So you still have to protect your feet. So imagine your entire body is armored in some manner or fashion appropriate to your body type. The worst thing that can happen when it comes to safety equipment like this termite seasons come in. You’re in a hurry. You buy some sort of one size fits all for everybody.
Now the safety equipment has to fit the cross suits have to fit. The gloves have to fit the goggles the helmets the shoes everything. You’re gonna be crawling around and you’re going to be getting into positions you have may have not gotten into for a few months. The other thing is physically you’ve got to be in shape to do this work. You have to
You know for termites it’s that one beam you couldn’t quite crawl to you couldn’t quite make it. It was just a little too tight a little too far. You had a couple of extra Big Macs at lunch and now man. But you know what. That’s what the termites are. It’s around that last corner you didn’t quite get into. And that’s what the lawsuit is going to come from because you missed it. You didn’t get quite all the way the issue you run into a termite. You’ve
Got to check everything humanly possible to reach. You’ve got to document the living daylights out of it. Thank goodness for cell phones and the digital cameras we have today because they allow you to document properly and you know what. There’s nothing that says you can’t shoot a video or two while you’re underneath there. Because all the equipment we have for that frankly is in a good cell phone. So document protect yourself make the proper records. You have got to see everything. And that physical conditioning thing. You know what if you’re not in shape to do this kind of work what the heck are you doing it for. You. That’s where maybe you need to hire somebody to work with you. We all age we all get too old for something we get bad knees bad backs and everything else. And that’s why it’s so important we bring the youth up behind us so they can continue on when we no longer can. I know some seriously talented people in the pest control industry that I go to for advice on a regular basis and yet I know today they do not move the way they used to. Their brains work fine the knowledge is still there but I wouldn’t I wouldn’t dishonor them by saying wanted to crawl into the building with me because I know they can’t. But they can still provide me with the information and mentor me and then I can mentor the next generation down. But for heaven’s sakes when you’re out there protect yourself. Do the right thing. Get the right information
And make sure you document the living daylights out of it. Termite season is gonna be a blast for everybody. You’re going to pay a lot of the bills you’ve built up over the winter and you’re going to satisfy an awful lot of clients but you have to be ready. So many ways. And so with that bit of rambling about termites and crawling under buildings and doing all that sort of thing this is Jeff McGovern the past coach. I’m signing off for now and I’m turning it back to Frank. You folks take care and have a wonderful day.