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10 Ways for Field Service Teams to Beat the Summer Heat - Pt 1

Posted by Scott Crawford

field service teams

In the peak of the hot summer season, there is one issue that every fleet manager and field service business needs to consider: Keeping your teams cool and safe. Even if the AC in the vehicles works perfectly, client locations are not always guarantee-ably cool. 

Work done in attics, basements, and garages can all be far warmer than the home itself and some locations don't have any air conditioning at all. But as a dedicated field service provider, your teams will be expected to work in sweltering conditions with no complaint. 

Customers are simply not going to consider the risks of heat to their hired field service teams This means it's up to you to pack each vehicle with everything your technicians need to avoid heat stroke and remain efficient no matter how hot or sunny their workspace happens to be. Today, our spotlight is on summer heat safety. And it's a doozy.

Work Vehicle AC

Working vehicle air conditioning is something that every fleet manager must consider and make certain is 100% functional. In fact, you might even want to give it a tune-up just for good measure.

Having to work in hot conditions is one thing but having to start the day and travel in a sweltering fleet vehicle can be downright dangerous. Ideally, a fully functional truck AC can turn your vehicles into mobile cooling stations. Even if work conditions are dangerously hot, your team can take breaks in the truck and get back to a safe temperature. 

The vehicle is also your team's center of operations. It is how they travel, where they come back to for tools, and how they will be storing all other summer heat beating mechanisms. Make sure all air conditioning units are up to the task and advise your drivers to look for shady places to park when possible.

Portable Drink Coolers

Cold drinks in the truck serve two very important purposes when keeping a field service team cool. The first is to replace fluids lost in perspiration. Your technicians are going to sweat in hot conditions and hydration is the most important measure any employer can take to counteract heat sickness. Room temperature water could accomplish this, but don't just throw a flat of water bottles into the truck and go.

Take the time and investment to install a cooler chest into each one of your fleet vehicles. In the morning, fill it with ice along with bottles of both water and juice. Think electrolytes and vitamins as well as hydration when choosing the variation.

You might even want to consider installing a thermo-electric or even solar-powered fridge so that the drinks stay cool all day. Otherwise, your team may need to grab another few bags of ice halfway through the day.

Lightweight Uniforms

What your team wears on the job is almost as important as what they drink. Ideally, everyone should be in lightweight clothing that is very breathable and dries easily from the inevitable rivers of sweat.

At the same time, it needs to look presentable to clients for several jobs in a row without requiring a shirt change in the car. Denim and cotton are the usual solutions though some modern synthetics are now comparable in comfort and cooling.

While fleet managers may or may not have full control over your team's work uniforms, consider supplementing with wide-brimmed breathable hats. These can be anything from mesh ballcaps to straw Stetsons, depending on your service and brand image.

Lean-To Shade Tent

If your team might have to work outside in a specific area, like accessing an outside panel or working on outdoor appliances, consider the value of packing each vehicle with a very small pop-tent.

A simple lean-to triangle of nylon fabric proped on foldable stakes can make a huge difference in keeping your technicians out of the sun. Simply providing some portable shade can make a big difference for heat protection.

Misting Fan Kits

So far, we've talked about ways to keep your team cool either in the truck or in a general way. But sometimes direct intervention is necessary in the middle of a job.

Whether you're working in an uncooled attic or out in the yard, often the biggest problem with oppressive work conditions is still air when sweat stops evaporating and overheating becomes a real risk. This is why so many field service teams travel with at least one large fan in the truck. Just getting the air moving can be enough to make a worksite tolerable.

However, blowing around hot air isn't always the right answer. This is where a misting fan kit is immensely useful. A misting kit is essentially a water tank, tubing, and a sprayer nozzle that adds a cool water mist to the air being blown into the area.

This supplements your team's natural sweat, brings down the ambient temperature, and can even help with dust control in certain areas. Drop a few ice cubes into the tank to keep the mist nice refreshingly chilly.

[To be Continued contact us]

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Topics: Fleet Safety, Fleet Management

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