Winter contractors have to be ready for the unexpected. When something throws a wrench into your workflow, you want to be ready to take care of it in a moment’s notice. This is why preparation is indispensable in commercial snow and ice control. Taking the time to assemble the following kits in advance will provide relief when a tool, spare part or backup item becomes vital.
Essential Tool Kit
Although they’re not always top of mind, essential tools are crucial when issues arise. Having these simple tools on hand can greatly reduce downtime and get you back to clearing the way.
- Windshield washer fluid to keep visibility clear
- Ice scraper or snowbrush for when there is build up on your vehicle
- Flashlight and batteries in case you need to make a repair in the field
- Cones and/or road flares to clearly mark yourself or others broken down, in need of assistance
- Adjustable wrenches and screwdrivers (Philips/Flat head) for quick fixes
- Bottle jack to help lift equipment when you’re not at the shop
- Ratchet tie down straps if you need to secure equipment or items in the bed of your truck
- Tire plug kit or air compressor in case you get a flat tire
- Electrical tape and zip ties to make a temporary fix if required
- Butane or propane torch when equipment is too cold to work on and needs to thaw out
- WD-40 grease to help lubricate equipment
- Bag of sand to pour on ice for added traction when needed
- Shovel so you can clear residual snow and have as a last resort backup
Emergency Parts Kit
The more time it takes to go back to the shop and pickup spare parts, the less time you’re out making money. By keeping an emergency parts kit readily available, you can reduce stress and wasted time when you’re faced with a breakdown. SnowEx® offers emergency kits to get you started—two versions are available to cater to all plow models.
- Critical hardware such as common washers, screws and bolts
- Hydraulic hoses in the event that you strike a solid object and the hose breaks on impact
- Hydraulic fluid to refill the system is there’s a leak or a hydraulic hose is replaced in the field
- Snap and hinge pins come in handy in case one works its way out while plowing
- Spare fuses in case an electrical connection is poor
- Solenoids since these can commonly go when equipment is in tough conditions
Personal Survival Kit
Although being prepared for the job is important, you still need to remember to take care of yourself as well. Plowing can easily turn into a 10-12+ hour shift and you’ll perform better if you’re making healthy choices instead of convenient ones.
- Healthy snacks that are easy to have on the go like beef jerky or protein bars
- Water to keep hydrated; try to avoid sugar-filled energy drinks
- First aid kit because you never know what can happen in unstable winter conditions
- Extra clothes like a hat, gloves and socks in case your original clothing gets wet and you need a spare
- High visibility jacket or vest to allow others to easily see you at work, increasing your safety
- Chapstick will help greatly in extreme cold weather that easily dries out lips
- Blanket in the event that you’re waiting on roadside assistance
- Phone charger to stay in contact with your team and for emergencies
Success comes from preparation. When you assemble these fundamental kits, you’ll have more confidence to take on the toughest winter storm. While it’s great to set up these kits initially, remember to keep your kits up-to-date and check “inventory” regularly. It’s unfortunate to assume you have something only to find out it was used during the last event.