The Tool Box

Pondering Thoughts

Revisiting a old published article!  Just because it is still relevant!

A recent conversation/situation made me think about some things. In my day job as a Diesel Truck/Heavy Equipment Technician, I drive a Dodge 3/4 ton truck with a service/tool bed on it. There are 3 compartments on each side with various shelving and such.

My tools are compartmentalized for the most part, with the tools I use the most in the center drivers side, mostly for lighter duty work of various complexities.  The front box on the drivers side are my heavier duty sockets, rackets, and wrenches. Also my various sprays and cleaners.  The rear drivers side box are pry bars, breaker bars, hammers, and large crescent and pipe wrenches.  In the boxes on the other side are separated by air tools, electrical and diagnostic tools, oils, air hoses, and of course one that is packed with various items left over and pack ratted for odd reasons that come in really handy sometimes.

Anyway, one evening on the way home, had to make a pit stop at Home Depot, so I locked the compartments in case someone decided they needed my tools worse than I did.

The next morning, the boss called kind of early. We had a regular customers truck broke down on I-10 and I had to get there quick to replace some air lines. Out the door I dash, without conducting my usual key, phone & wallet check before leaving the driveway.

KeyringsI get to the location of the broken down truck and checked out the situation. I knew the needed parts were already enroute, as the driver had done a good job of describing the issue. Went to get the correct wrenches for the job and ….  crud, the doors are locked on the boxes and the keys …. well, they were on the nightstand at home.

It was too far back to the house to get the keys, the parts driver is already enroute and a couple of miles away, and I do not have the correct tools. Out comes the Leatherman, as I know the front compartment lock can easily be jimmied. Remember, this is the compartment with the heavy duty stuff.

Just so happens for some reason a 7/8″ wrench was in there and a pair of channel locks. Guess they were tossed in there from a rush to get packed up and head home one day. And my Leatherman of course.

After a little longer than it should have taken, the job was done, the truck was on the road, and I was cutting back roads to the house to get the missing keys, as my next job site was not far from home.

A truck was loaded with several thousands of dollars in tools, and the right ones were not within reach, but the job got done.

In our lives as Emergency and Public Service communicators we find ourselves sometimes without the right tools for the job, but we have others that will work with a little bit of thought.

We strive to be prepared for the next situation, even if we do not know how simple or complex the task will be.

We think after having done the same event for 12 years, that we have everything loaded not only for our station, but some spares for the others in case they forget something.

We think after numerous Nets, Training courses, drills, and actual deployments that we are prepared for anything the Emergency Manager or Incident Commander can throw at us.

We think we have a plan for everything, but then the unthinkable happens!

The keys get left at home, the antenna is missing, a special cable is missing for a plug-and-play connection, or you find out that your trusty always good to go radio has a issue and will not power up.   Survey what we do have, determine what is needed to correct, and execute!

For every situation, there is a solution, a fix, a workaround in that tool box of ours.

UseYourNogginTo many times I see people have vapor lock over not having the perfect solution, only to find that the solution is right in front of them..

While written and verbal plans are great, and preparation to the max is fantastic, one thing we must also be, and that is flexible and tolerant! Being not so rigid that if there is a minor or major malfunction, we still have the flexibility to succeed in the task.

We must always remember, that the most important tool in our tool box, is sitting on our shoulders! The tool that makes all the other tools function, good or bad, to get the job done!

Not real sure what drove me to put these thoughts into words on the internet, but hopefully I will sleep good tonight knowing that these same thoughts are now floating in someone else’s head! LOL!

And by the way, there is now a second tool box key ring for the trucks ignition and one in a hidden cubby hole. LOL!


Thanks for reading!

Louis Upton – K5STX
Hill Country REACT Team


One Response

  1. K5STX Says:


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