It’s that time of year where you might find yourself saying yes to a call, and then thinking…. “Yikes, it’s going to be cold out there.”  One of the joys of our industry is that it doesn’t stop.  There is work to be had all year round, but that also means that you may find yourself outside working in 10 degree weather.  Here are a few tips for prepping for winter time work and a few suggestions on must-have items….

1. Prepare and take care of yourself. Working outside during the winter can be hazardous if you aren’t ready for it.

    1. You may move from unloading a truck in the snow to focusing lights in the rafters next to the heating vents.  Come prepared with lots of loose layers that are easy to remove and add.   
    2. Wear a hat, as your head is the number one place for heat loss.  
    3. Wear gloves to protect your hands from Frostnip and Frostbite.   
    4. Protect yourself from the sun with Sunscreen.  It can be easy to forget that you can still get sunburned when it’s cold outside.  
    5. Make sure to drink lots of water.  Most people only think of dehydration during hot humid weather, but as cold air is very dry it can cause rapid dehydration.
    6. Wear non-slip shoes and bring extra socks and change them if your feet are feeling cold, damp or clammy.  Foot powder can also help keep moisture levels in check.
    7. Bring hand and foot warmers such as the ones from HotHands.

2. Get ready for work.  Stretch before you start.  Muscle related injuries are more likely in cold weather because your muscles tighten up and contract when temperatures plummet.  Stretch before you start and after breaks.  Move your face muscles through the day as these small muscles can be particularly susceptible to decreased circulation in cold weather.

3. Watch out for each other.  Know the signs of hypothermia and keep an eye out for them in your fellow crew members.  Early signs of hypothermia are quite difficult to diagnose and easily missed.  Keep an eye out for slurred speech, odd behavior or decreased ability to make decisions or coherent sentences.  Muscle shivering or discoloration of the skin or lips is also a sign of hypothermia.  Most people don’t realize that hypothermia can set in even when the outside temperature is above freezing.  Hypothermia begins to set in with a mere drop in the internal body temperature of 3.5 degrees to 95 F (35 C) and below. This is a life threatening condition and must be treated immediately.  If you see anyone exhibiting any of these signs or you see them under prepared for the weather, make sure to say something.

4. Add equipment to your rental package or work box. Snow Shovels, kitty litter (to provide additional traction to help get stuck truck tires out), tire chains and road salt can prepare you for cold weather situations.  If your entire gig is outdoors it can be a good idea to make a warming station (a simple easy-up with a space heater can work) for any crew members that are feeling the effects of the cold.  Bring apple boxes for crew to sit on so they aren’t losing additional body heat into the ground during breaks.

5. Have a spare.  It can be important to understand how your equipment will behave in cold weather temperatures and have additional spares for cold or water related failures.  Prep is extra important as it can greatly cut down the time spent setting-up outdoors.  Waterproofing of your equipment and your cable connections will assist in reducing failures.

Now that you are prepared for working in the wilds of winter, get out there!  Have a safe and wonderful winter working season.  

Here is a great Cold Weather Safety Video!

Did we miss anything? Tweet at us at @tincprod and tell us how you prepare for live event production work in the winter.