Well. we flagged from 8:30 last night until 5:00 this morning. We started out at 400 N in Orem but it sure didn't seem like they even need 2 flaggers, let alone the 4 that were sent out. The other pair were a father and son team. Both teams had talked with Strategic twice so essentially we had 4 confirmations of the location. We sat in the car until about 11:00 when a PRC foreman came by and said we were supposed to be at Center St and 1200 W, about 4 blocks away! So we moved and having 4 flaggers made a whole lot more sense. We had to cover all 4 approaches to the intersection at Center St and 1200W. Eventually the changed the traffic light to flashing red. Flaggers are not allowed by law to override a traffic signal. We do override permanent STOP signs, but not active traffic signals. Only a uniformed police officer can override an active traffic signal. The night went fairly smoothly once we got going. Our breaker last night was a big surprise. It was Kevin, who was one of the RoadSafe honchos when we started flagging last summer. It was fun that he remembered us. Our fellow flaggers told us PRC wanted night flaggers dressed in the lime-green vest and pants instead of the normal orange reflective vest that I think is prescribed by law for all flaggers. They said not to run out and buy the other vest and pants. They paid nearly $100 each for theirs and said on one assignment a third flagger didn't have them and PRC gave him a set -- and that the set PRC gave him was better than the ones they bought. Since no one has said anything to us about it, we'll keep using our Class III orange reflective vests until told otherwise.
Weather last night wasn't bad. We could tell when the temperature dropped and our feet and fingers were getting cold toward the end of the shift, but it sure could have been a lot worse. I can barely tell the toe warmers work at all except when they run out after about 5 hours or so and my toes start getting cold. The hand warmers work better. For one thing, you can take the packets out and shake them an re-expose them to the air to perk them up periodically. The only problem is they don't fit down into the fingers. I figured the warmth to the palms or the back of the hand would warm the blood enough to keep our fingers warm, but I was wrong. I suspect mittens would work better, but you lose dexterity wearing mittens and we still have to handle flashlight/wands and radios.
Guess it won't make much difference to me for at least a month since I'll be doing tower work. Mom and I have talked it over a lot and agree that going with Steve on the tower job is the best thing to do right now. I expect I'll still be out in the cold, perhaps even nastier conditions than we've faced flagging since the radio towers are located on mountain tops, but I will be more active instead of just standing around and Steve said when it gets really cold, they get back in the truck to warm up frequently. When it was below zero he said they only worked outside about 10 minutes at a time. I think having refined my cold weather preparation for flagging, I'll be in pretty good shape for the tower work.
I had some good news from my chiropractor when I went in this morning for an adjustment. He said my lower back was moving 100% better. He had planned to have me come in a twice a week until he got my upper spine straightened out, but that is going to have to be postponed since I'll be out of town for a month.
Flagging has given us some activities that will help prepare us for PPS work. Just standing on our feet for 8 to 14 hours is one. Practicing radio procedures and hand signals is another. Also maintaining a 360 sphere of observation and managing vehicle traffic. A whole lot more relevant action than we got working at Walmart, although being out of the November and December weather was very nice.
The only update we have the PPS front is that our instructor, Tony Cox, said he had a surprise visit from Otis the other day. Otis is the contact for the Nigeria contract. Increasing unrest coupled with changes in government over there have slowed things down a bit. We don't have any kind of an ETA, but the fact that Otis contacted Tony is encouraging. Given the situation over there, it might be a little scary, but we'll never go anywhere except as a group -- and an armed group at that and most likely equipped with bullet-proof vests. We'll probably be carrying rifles, not hand guns. One benefit is that the worse things get over there, the more they're willing to pay.
Of course we're are anxious to hear from Omega about the St George detail they're bidding on, but so far nothing new. I'd a lot rather do our initial tour of duty close to home and have a chance to hone our skills and bolster our confidence before going into third world environments. But at this point, we'll pretty much take whatever comes our way.