Staying safe in the sun

Written by: on June 27th, 2017

Remember when summers consisted of frozen treats, cool pools and almost no responsibilities? While you can still enjoy a frozen treat from time to time, summers are completely different as an adult. Since many people work in the heat, it’s critical to take your safety seriously.

For states like Arizona, Texas and Florida who see dangerously high temperatures often, it’s important to stay on top of the tips below to stay safe in the extreme heat.

Stay hydrated

This might sound obvious, but you would be surprised how easy it is to forget to drink water when your mind is focused on something else. Elevated heat, especially along with high humidity, makes it difficult for the body to cool itself. According to the CDC, the average person has 2.6 million sweat glands. When we sweat, we lose water and electrolytes that make it possible for the body to keep itself cool. Drinking enough water and having enough electrolytes ensures our bodies has what it needs to function properly. It is recommended that you should drink 1 cup of water every 15-20 minutes of moderate activity. Make sure you increase your fluid intake in rising temperatures to avoid becoming dehydrated. Switch energy drinks and soda for water, Gatorade or even unsweet tea to stay hydrated and always have a case of water in your cab.

Take regular breaks

If you are actively working in the heat you need to make sure you are taking frequent breaks. The use of reflective clothing, water-dampened cotton clothing (although this may not work when the humidity is very high), and cooling vests with pockets for cold packs may also be beneficial for keeping workers not only cooler for longer periods of time, but also safer. Find an air-conditioned space or shaded area for your break and make sure to replenish your fluids during this time.

Know the signs of heat-related illness

Heat exhaustion, heat strokes and cramps are just a few of the ways extreme heat can be dangerous. If you begin feeling dizzy, develop a headache, become nauseas or faint you need to stop what you are doing immediately. Depending on the specific illness you might need to seek medical attention immediately. In the event you experience heat exhaustion, move to a cool place, sip water, loosen your clothes and put cool, wet cloths on your body.

The U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA and the CDC now have an app available for both iPhone and Androids called OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool to help you stay safe in the heat. The app allows individuals to calculate the heat index for their work site and depending on the index will display a risk level. It also provides protective measures that should be taken as well as information on what to do in an emergency. Stay informed to stay safe in the heat.

“What drives you?”

Written by: on June 12th, 2017

We recently held a photo contest asking people to show us what drives them to succeed. Whether it’s family, friends or a personal aspiration, we all have something or someone that inspires us to succeed each day.

Our “What drives you?” contest ran for the month of May and asked people to show us what motivates them. Congratulations to our three lucky winners Mariana Storm, Chris Breen and Kevin Lewis!

The winning entries are below.

Mariana Storm

How did you get into trucking?  “I started driving school [over] two years ago when my youngest son graduated high school. My husband has been with CFI since 1996 and has over two million miles. Once I was done with school, I started driving team with him. He taught me discipline and good business practices.

Explain how your picture motivates you: “To help our business we went to a workshop where I listened to Larry Winget talk about his philosophy about money. I took his book and read it. It helped me to understand how to change my way of thinking about money. I never want to be poor or live pay check to pay check again. I am so grateful for CFI for giving us the opportunity to be financially secure. “You’re Broke Because You Want To Be” by Wingett whipped my but to get to working.”

Advice for others: “It is from the book. ‘Do what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going to do it.”

Chris Breen

How did you get into trucking?  “I’ve been in the trucking industry for 13 years and have been around trucks pretty much my whole life. I had a few uncles that drove and then my little brother started driving and enjoyed it. So, I figured I’d go for it. Also, I come from a military family that traveled a lot, I figured it would be a good fit and it has been.”

Explain how your picture motivates you: “My photo is of my wife and me. She travels with me full time and trucking is what brought us together. It has given us a place to grow together and build our relationship. It also is what provides the means for the life we live.”

Advice for others: “Try and learn something new every day and if you can, pass that knowledge to others. Be patient and remember no matter how stupid the question may seem to you, that person is trying to learn something new and needs your help. We were all rookies at one time. Remember every stone you drop creates a ripple. Try and make that stone constructive and not destructive.”

Kevin Lewis

How did you get into trucking?  “I’ve been driving for 17 years now. Prior to driving, I was working at a cotton mill. I would watch the trucks come up to the loading docks and would talk to the drivers while they waited. There was a rumor going around that they were going to close the mill so I started talking to a friend of mine about driving and ended up going to school. ”

Explain how your picture motivates you: “The picture is of my wife. She had been riding with me and then ended up going to school at Crowder and now we run team together. It’s hard being away from home, but having her with me helps a lot. It’s a good support system for both of us.”

Advice for others: “Don’t hesitate to ask for advice. When I first started, I was hesitant to ask for help and it caused some problems. You’ll avoid jams and mistakes if you just ask and not assume.”

 

For any exercise routine to be effective, it must be practiced regularly. We tend to think of travel time as a break from “the norm” and unfortunately apply this mentality to activity and choice of foods. But what how do you stay healthy when your career is to travel? We can all do better and should start today.

Shani Anderson (personal trainer and managing editor of London-based Anderson Fitness Consultants) has the following tips which I’ve modified for the professional driver:

  1. Don’t treat your travel time as a “vacation” from your health regime.  If prior to starting your driving career, you took part in regular activity, don’t stop when you start driving.  Our body is not meant to be inactive and our attitude should be one of finding an alternate source of activity…not a break.  Train your attitude to think of your travel time as work for the company and for your body as well.
  2. Do some research.  Once you have a new load assigned, plan about 20 minutes of activity into your day.  If the weather permits, walk around a bit.  If it’s snowing, make some room in your bunk area to lift weights and a few sets of sit ups and squats.  Jot down on a daily planner your activity time so you can see it and follow through.  No exceptions, no excuses.
  3. Bring portable fitness equipment.  Contrary to popular belief, you do not need a full gym to get a great workout.  Anything from a jump rope, mini bike, tension bands or a set of 20 lb. dumb bells would do fine.  Body weight exercises are tremendously beneficial (push-ups and squats) and require nothing more than your willingness to do them!  Look on YouTube for many great examples of exercises with dumbbells and resistance bands.  Pick one and stick to it for a few weeks then switch to something new.
  4. Don’t overindulge at the buffet.  Limited restaurant options many times lead our professionals to buffet-style restaurants which have truck accessibility.  Many of us fall into the trap of “getting our money’s worth” at the all-you-can-eat locations.  This is a recipe for disaster.  If you must eat there, opt for a single serve option.  When you have the plate in front of you, take your time and chew slowly.  The amount of food restaurants serve is many times a double portion of what our body needs.  Try comparing the size of your fist to the amount of the carbohydrate serving on your plate.  It should be roughly the same size.  The size of your palm is the amount of protein (meat) you can have.  In addition, eat small amounts during the day to prevent the “starving” feeling that leads to overeating.  Snack on a handful of almonds, sliced lean turkey and fresh fruit and veggies throughout the day.  Be prepared.  Do not rely on convenience stores to provide your nutrition, instead, make it your goal to stock your mini fridge with delicious meats and whole grains which will keep you satisfied longer than a bag of crunchy chips.
  5. Take advantage of motel fitness room.  If you stay in a motel for the evening, never pass up the opportunity for a swim, a walk on the treadmill or use whatever they have available to get your pulse going for at least 20 minutes.

The most important takeaway is for you to incorporate exercise into your everyday activities, like brushing your teeth. It doesn’t have to be more than 20 minutes and the payoff is huge. You will feel better physically and mentally as soon as the first day. All habits take time, start with a small one, walk for five minutes each night and then build on that. Small changes yield great gains, be patient.  You can do it!