Coming Prepared

Submitted by Ricardo A. Bilton

Picture this:

It's the middle of February and you are on the roof of a two-story home. You are leaned over the edge, nails in your mouth and a hammer in your right hand, ready to strike. It's cold. Real cold. The wind is whipping around you, blowing frigid, painful air into your face, causing your nose to run uncontrollably. Your gloveless hands ache for warmth and much of your heat has escaped from your head. The sweatshirt you brought is doing little to prevent the cold air from hitting your chest. If only you had come prepared!

Though rare, these kinds of conditions do occur. However, you can still avoid meeting the hypothetical fate detailed above. Building houses occurs outside. Thus, you are subject to the weather's whims and rages in both the summer and the winter. Let's go through some of the things you might want to bring with you to the Habitat site.

 

Summer.

Water.

Water is a must. Hot days happen more often than not during the summer and dehydration is rarely beneficial. Habitat tries its hardest to provide volunteers with refreshments on-site, but it is not always possible. Thus, you will find it useful to bring your own water.

Bug Repellent.

Because the Stanley Street site flanks a field of tall grass, insects sometimes make their way to the bodies of volunteers. Horse flies and mosquitoes are among the winged nuisances that will quickly make work of your supple body if you don't protect it.

Sunblock.

This should be obvious. The sun + outside + Five hours = sun burn. Sun burns hurt. Protect yourself.

Sunglasses/visors/hats.

You are not much use to anyone when you are blinded by the sun.

Stanley Street volunteers are especially lucky because the homes were built withheating and cooling efficiency in mind. Thus, the house is cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Winter.

A Hat.

It is well-known that much of your body heat escapes via your head. A thin, warm hat that covers your ears will save you much pain and heat loss.

Gloves.

There is little worse than using a hammer (or any tool) with cold hands. A warm pair of gloves will do you well.

Layered Clothing.

Though you may begin the day cold and shriveling, after a few swings of a hammer and enough walking about you will undoubtedly feel a bit warmer. This is one of the more welcome surprises about cold-weather construction. Thus, it may be beneficial for you to layer your clothing in some way.

In addition, it may end up being so cold that wearing long underwear becomes essential. It depends on the day's weather.

Boots.

There is a reason why consrution workers always wear constuction boots. Sturdy shoes save toes.