August 25, 2020 11:08 am Leave your thoughts
I can’t believe its August and almost time to return back to online school. COVID-19 has really taken its toll on the world, and life has gotten some getting used to. In Ontario it is now mandatory to wear masks in all public places, and the amount of times I’ve had to run back to my truck to grab it after walking a mile to the door entrance is keeping me in good shape. COVID-19 has been taken extremely seriously at Resolute, and for this I am thankful. It’s a great feeling to know that a company takes pride in protecting its employees. This being said, masks are required on site at the mill and in the office. There is also a walk though temperature reader and symptoms survey that every employee must part-take in at least once a day before entering their workspace. COVID has created limitations for everything, including working in the field.
Most of my summer has been spent driving alone and working alone in the bush. Sometimes 100 km, sometimes 500 km. It’s important to know how to work alone safely, and for anyone doing so, I have some tips on how to be prepared for unsuspected bear encounters, unpredictable vehicle maintenance, and self-protection. The first step to working alone safely is knowing how to drive defensively. I have put approximately 20,000 km on my truck this summer, which is a lot of time spent on the highway, bush roads, and active logging routes. It’s extremely important to always be aware of your surroundings on the road and to know your limits. If you know you can’t drive far one day, it’s okay to reschedule and to pay attention to your body. Anytime I turn onto a road off the highway I always plug in my two-way radio and tune into the right channel. Even if I know there are no active hauls, I call every two kilometers for good practice. Communication is essential in forestry. Before I leave for the day, I am always letting my supervisor know where I am headed and what my plan is for the rest of the day. I make sure all my devices are fully charged, especially my Garmin InReach, which allows me to have communication outside of service. Communication is important for keeping yourself safe when you are working deep in the bush!
Over the past couple weeks, I’ve had this amazing talent of running into bears in every other cut-block I walk. The blue berries are out, so that means the bears are out to snack! Keeping this in mind, I am always on the lookout for a very hungry black bear. I always carry bear spray and either my shovel or axe. You never know when you’re out walking alone, and you should be prepared for anything! That being said, if anyone needs a good bear hunting guide let me know, they follow me everywhere.
So what should you bring to the bush? How do you really prepared for getting lost, a vehicle break down or hungry bears? I’ve compiled a list of things that I keep in my work truck, that may help you if you are ever working alone in the bush! In there you can find:
- PPE (and extras) – hard hat, high vis, gloves, and safety glasses
- Fire extinguisher
- Axe, shovel, ice scraper
- First aid kit, spill kit
- Chainsaw + appropriate PPE
- Flagging tape, compass, whistle, bear spray
- Maps for the day
- Extra phone chargers, tablet loaded with Avenza, drone
- Extra jerry cans
- A jack and tools for a tire change
There is nothing that makes me happier than being alone in the woods, connected to nature for 8+ hours a day. There is something calming about knowing that you may be the only person who has jumped over a particular log in 75 years. Northwestern Ontario is absolutely gorgeous and there are some areas that paint a beautiful picture. You never know what you are going to run into, and it’s always important to have a well thought out plan for the day, and for situations where things go wrong, because they will, especially if you are me! Thanks for reading, hopefully this helped a little.