Home inspection work is sometimes solitary with not even the homeowner present. When something goes wrong, no one may know about it for several hours. If the real estate market where you work has lots of farms and other rural properties, here are 5 ways that you can stay safe while getting the job done.
#1: Keep Your Cell Phone Handy and Charged
The first rule might seem obvious, but batteries get weaker and people are known to leave their cell charger at home in a drawer once in a while. Keep your cell phone handy and always keep the battery charged.
Your cell phone is your lifeline on the job. In a rural area, it’s even more important. If there’s an accident, you can call for help. If there’s a question, you can contact the property owner or your client, who might work several miles away.
#2: Tell Someone Where You’ll be Working
We’re certainly not wishing for an accident to befall you, but what if the worst should happen? If you took a tumble and hit your head, how long would it take before someone knew you were missing? Always tell someone, such as your spouse, partner or a friend, where you’ll be working.
If you’re single and a company of one, it’s a bit more challenging. You might partner up with another home inspector in your area. Let each other know where you’ll be working and check in at some point in the day. You could also ask the real estate agent, home inspection customer or homeowner to be on site at the time of the inspection.
#3: Invest in a Mobile Hotspot to Expand Your Coverage
A mobile hotspot might seem like an unnecessary luxury. That’s only true until you need one. These small devices fit in your pocket and expand your cell phone and data coverage beyond what’s standard with your service provider.
Choose a hotspot service provider that’s different from your cell service provider. If AT&T doesn’t have cell service where you’re working, neither will an AT&T mobile hotspot. Verizon, however, might.
#4: Carry a Well-Stocked First-Aid Kit
Thinking about injuries again, what does your first aid kit look like? Is it well-stocked and easy to find in your truck or van? Or does it consist of a few old bandages shoved into the glove compartment?
Your first-aid kit should be clean, handy and stocked with up-to-date supplies and medications. Here’s a short list of the basics:
- Hand sanitizer or alcohol wipes
- Adhesive bandages
- Sterile gauze
- Bandage tape
- Wound wash (such as sterile saline for wound care)
- Antibacterial ointment
- Tweezers (because splinters are the pits)
- Bee sting solution
- Pain reliever
- Allergy medication
- Cold medication
- At least one sealed bottle of fresh water
#5: Don’t Take Unnecessary Risks
They say that the best defense is a great offense. Mindful work practices help keep you out of harm’s way, which is more important when you’re both remote and alone. Stay alert for wobbly steps, broken attic ladders, slippery roofs and critters that might inhabit the attic or crawl space. Mindful work practices help keep you out of harm’s way, which is more important when you’re both remote and alone. Stay alert for wobbly steps, broken attic ladders, slippery roofs and critters that might inhabit the attic or crawl space.
Technology can help you stay safer, too. Walking a roof was once the only way to perform a thorough inspection. Drones let you get up-close-and-personal without climbing a ladder. Radio controlled cars upgraded with a camera let you explore crawl space areas without climbing in.
When you work in remote areas, you’re on your own. That’s why it’s so important to take more precautions and stay alert to dangers. It only takes a few minutes to prepare for the worst. And that lets you hope for the best with a little more peace of mind.
Are you ready for a new career as a certified home inspector? ICA School education can prepare you for it as well as any exam and licensing requirements that come later. Enroll now and learn at your own pace.