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Preseason training: Train new employees and re-train the regular staff in the areas of new products, new technologies, and procedures.
Information: Make sure you locate all the “new” labels for all the products that you are using. There were changes in many labels over the last year. It’s up to you to have the most current information. Pay particular attention to the section on the labels for PPE.
Communicating with the public: Remind all employees of their role when they encounter the inquisitive public. Provide your staff with informational brochures with contact information that they can leave with clients.
First aid kits: Make sure you go through your first aid kits and replenish supplies that may have been used during the previous year.
Repellent for workers: For those employees who are not conducting landing counts, make sure they have insect repellents in their toolbox. If you have an employee who has never used a repellent, have them test for sensitivity first on a small patch of skin. If they experience a rash or skin irritation, try a product with a lower percentage of the active ingredient, or a different active ingredient. Check with all field workers for special needs such as Epi pens, sting kits, and other medical concerns.
Batteries: Check batteries in all field equipment that require them, including aspirators, light traps, flashlights, radios, cell phones.
Insect Traps: Clean all the insect traps and check your inventory of CO2. Look for breaks in the covers and fans, tears in the collection bags, and check the electrical connections.
Communication Systems: Take a fresh look at your communication plan. Are you using the best technology matched to your program needs? As well as checking the batteries and chargers, look for worn connectors or electrical shorts that might rob you of the ability to communicate with your employees in the field.
Equipment Checklists: Use the manufacturers’ recommended checklists for equipment including vehicles, sprayers, larviciding rigs, foggers, etc. Make sure that everyone who uses the equipment knows how important it is to maintain it correctly.
Pesticide Stewardship: In your pesticide storage area, make sure that all SDS sheets are readily available. Check the integrity and the security of the area to make sure the supplies are properly secured. Rotate your stock so that the oldest materials are used first. If your materials are stored in unheated space, make sure you know what impact this has (if any) and that you work to make sure the material is ready to be used. If you have any questions, contact the manufacturer.