Don't let your guard down

Whether you are working in the office, riding a young horse herding cows, or in an excavator moving dirt, having your guard up and being aware of your surroundings is something you need to do constantly. This is a story of an employee’s spouse illustrating why it is so important to be prepared, pay attention, and be ready to act in an emergency.

In the summer of 2018, a local construction company was working on rebuilding an irrigation canal in southern Idaho. It was deep into the construction season and many of the equipment rentals were already spoken for, so equipment availability was limited. In need of a haul truck, the company owner was able to find a new one to use on the job.

The crew had been working on this job for more than a month, driving the new haul truck along a very narrow irrigation canal road. The new truck had needed to be fixed numerous times by the rental mechanic, and with no other options to rent another haul truck, the crew was stuck using this one.

The operator got loaded up one morning and started heading down the canal bank. About a mile into the trip, the haul truck lost its steering and brakes both at the same time. Meanwhile, the canal is full of water and the bank edges are soft…pretty great timing to lose control!

Not being able to turn, stop or slow down, the rear passenger-side tires caught the edge of the road and suddenly started to slide into the canal. Within seconds, the truck slid down the bank. Being aware of the situation, the operator grabbed her pocket knife and broke the window open and escaped just as the cab rolled into the water.

Fortunately the operator was safe; just a bit wet from swimming out of the canal. Because of her quick thinking, and a good pocket knife to break the window open, she’s alive and well. If it hadn’t been for her quick reaction and being prepared, who knows what the outcome would have been.

Please always be aware of your own surroundings, prepare to the best of your ability, and if an emergency occurs…stay calm and act fast — it can save a life.

Published 04-12-19