Equipment & Tools
Tools to Use Part 1
Your next task is assembling your inspection equipment. The most important item to good inspectors is a light source. Animals have a tendency to live in dark, out-of-the-way areas, so proper lighting is essential. I regularly use two different rechargeable lights during my inspections. The most important one is the Lectro Nite-Tracker spotlight. It provides 500,000 candles of illumination. I love this flashlight. It shines like the sun and has excellent spotlighting capability to see dark areas under the eaves. The downside is that this light lasts only 15-20 minutes when fully charged. Be sure to only use it when ready to look at something. You can purchase one for from Copperfield Chimney Supply Inc. at 1-800-247-3305 or through hunting supply catalogs. For casual lighting, i.e. situations where you just need light to see where you need to take your next step, I have used the Black and Decker “Spotliter.” This little flashlight is bright enough for general illumination and is very durable. I have dropped them on the ground and in water and they continue to work. I just stick the handle in my back pocket for easy carrying. This is the flashlight I use when I need enough light to see in a crawl space or for just a quick inspection. Their cost is very reasonable at about $15 apiece and they can be purchased at any local hardware store. If I need close attention, I will use the Nite-Tracker instead. I have also used the Black and Decker “Snake Light” with the Versa Pak rechargeable batteries. I prefer this light because it allows hands free use. I just wrap it around my neck and turn it on. As with other Black and Decker items, I have been very satisfied with it. Be careful about the batteries though. They tend to fall out and are at times difficult to seat for a proper connection. You may prefer a headlight. I used one purchased from L.L. Bean. For a small light it provides a fairly strong beam. I tended to use it only as a backup in attics etc. You never want to be without a back-up light if your primary light fails while crawling in an attic.
Gloves were mentioned in the previous lesson but I thought a few words should be added. You will be crawling around areas that will have many sharp points that could cut and scratch your hands. You may also find yourself crawling through dust that turns out to be feces. When that happens you will be glad you wore gloves.
There are different kinds of leather gloves on the market. Some gloves only extend to the wrists. Others, like welder’s gloves, extend up the forearm. I have used both. I have generally stayed with the welder’s gloves because they have padding and I have large hands. Use whatever makes you feel more comfortable but do use something, especially when you are crawling around attics and crawl spaces. If you desire leather gloves that are good for animal handling, then get a pair made from elk hide. Although expensive, I have been told that nothing beats them. They are thick and durable yet still able to form fit your hands. I don’t own a pair because I don’t handle live animals unless they are in a cage or a net, etc. Unlike some of my colleagues, I am too chicken to just grab an animal with nothing on my hands except gloves. The image to the right contains a traditional leather yard glove on the left next to the larger welder’s glove on the right.
Last but not least, you need to consider purchasing fall protection equipment. There are a lot of devices on the market that help make ladder work much safer. Go to http://www.osha.gov for information on ladder safety and fall protection. Visiting a local professional ladder dealer will also be very informative.
©2005 Stephen M. Vantassel
Move on to Unit 2D