Today was interesting. First off, we went to our railroad re-certification class at PRC. Even though PRC is mainly concerned with the freeway, some locations involve RR crossings too, so all PRC flaggers have to be certified by the UTA (Utah Transit Authority) and the UPRR. We had to do the PRC Orientation last year to start with PRC, but the UTA/UPRR had to be renewed for 20111. Our class this time also included training on rigger signals (the hand signs between the guys that rig the loads and the guys that operate the cranes. So now we have added a rigger signals sticker to our hard hats. Not that we're likely to be doing any signally, but knowing the signals may be helpful when we're flagging while they're moving loads with cranes.
Then we got called about 5:30 pm to see if we wanted to work Geneva Road again at 7:00 pm so we were flagging last night from 7:00 pm to 2:00 am this morning. Not a lot of activity,just a few PRC work trucks in and out of the site and a few trips across the road with a Bobcat to move materials -- mostly metal grates that reinforce the concrete foundations for the retaining walls.
Weather wasn't too bad, all things considered. Not much wind. Started out about 31 degrees and dropped to 27 before we released. We got a really good look at something I don't think I'd seen before: freezing fog. All the air around us glistened with ice particles.
It took them about 1 1/2 hours to get set up so we didn't even start flagging until after 8:30. Two other flaggers showed up. They had been assigned at 1600 N, which is usually the entrance for the trucks that exit at Geneva but there were no trucks running last night so they got sent home. We had worked with one of them before when we flagged under the bridge overnight at 100 S in American Fork. He offered to come give us a break if no breakers showed up. We took advantage of his offer so we got a half hour break about 11:00 for Mom and 11:30 for me. Sure made the night more bearable.
We are finding that our cold weather gear pretty much does the job. I've been wearing a snowmobile suit and Mom has been wearing her snowboard pants and coat. Beanies under our hardhats keep our ears warm. I have been bringing along a full ski mask but haven't had to use it yet, although last night my nose was getting cold. I think I might add a scarf so I can wrap it around the bottom of my face and over my nose when my nose starts freezing. We keep pretty warm for the most part -- but sometimes our hands and feet still get cold. We don't think our battery-operated electric socks do anything, but as insulated socks, they at least help. The socks use a single "D" cell each, and that may simply not be enough to generate much heat. I think my battery-operated gloves worked a little bit, but even they were disappointing. The gloves run on 3 AAA batteries and are rated to last about 1 hour of continuous use so we have to use the sparingly for what is expected to be an 8 - 10 hour shift. I'm thinking of looking into getting some of the "toe warmer" or "hand warmer" packets. They are air-activated chemical heat pads. I've seen discarded packets on several job sites. Using them in gloves would be easy, but getting them into our boots is probably something best done before we leave home. That might be just fine since some of them are rated to last 6 hours. Even reaching my boots to tie them is a chore when I'm all bundled up in the snowsuit. It is very bulky and inhibits bending of arms, legs, and torso.
Mom called Labor Ready's "on call" number last night when we got home to let them know we wouldn't be available for an early morning assignment today, but would be available in the afternoon or again for night-time flagging. We haven't heard anything yet, so, unless we get tagged for another night-time shift, we probably won't be working again until Monday.
Last night's call had come through Strategic Staffing. Our class yesterday was also through Strategic Staffing so all 11.0 hours we logged yesterday (4 for the class,7.0 at Geneva Road) are are the better rate of pay.
PPS Update: Steve and I have been on the phone and exchanging emails with the head of Omega Protection in Las Vegas. They provide Executive Protection and run a training class we'd like to take one of these days. He "accidentally" called Steve yesterday so Steve called him back today. Omega is currently working on a contract in Utah and, if they get the contract, it will go to our team! Of course, until we go "wheels up" it is all just talk, but there is at least another prospect for us.