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JustinCruse

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  1. A stripped bolt can cause frustration for any operator. Luckily WreckMaster Lead Instructor Casey Burrows has some tips on how to quickly and efficiently address the issue. Source Link
  2. You have been dispatched to recover a skid steer that has become stuck at the bottom of a 15° grade. Due to the location of the skid steer, you have to back down the grade to get close enough to perform the recovery. The tow truck you are operating has a gross vehicle weight of 13,260 lb. With the front axle weighing 5,860 lb while the rear axle weighs 7,400 lb. After successfully winching the wheeled skid steer out, the wrecker's rear axle has become mired to tire depth. The front axle is on a soft surface. On the scene, there is a dump truck at the top of the hill that can be positioned directly in front of the tow truck. There are two attachment points on the rear of the dump truck. You are able to move the wheeled skid steer to position it on the driver's side of the tow truck with it lined up just in front of the rear axle. The bucket has an attachment point on it. The wire rope has been run off the end of the boom to a snatch block attached to the skid loader, from there the line is run through a snatch block attached to the driver's side rear attachment point of the dump truck. From there the line is run through a snatch block that is attached to a two-legged bridle attached to the front of the truck that is stuck. The hook end of the wire rope is then attached to the passenger side of the dump truck. The rear brakes are set on the dump truck with it sitting on hard-packed gravel. The wheeled skid steer is sitting on hard-packed grass with all of its brakes set. The angle of the sheave head is at 90° The angle of snatch block A is at 10° The angle of snatch block B is at 30° The angle of snatch block C is at 70° Take the quiz below to see if you know your stuff! View the full article on WreckMaster.com...
  3. You started in towing long before ever attending a WreckMaster class. How did you get your start in the industry? I was born into the industry. My family’s business has evolved over the course of its 103 year history. Beginning as a blacksmith shop in 1917, the generations of Burrows Heavy Wrecker men have adapted to the changing needs of transportation. I began watching my father and grandfather work their Holmes 750’s and W-45’s at a very early age. When I was seven years old, my father allowed me to run the controls of a wrecker to upright an upset tractor and trailer. That event cemented my desire to join my father and grandfather, wherever and whenever they’d take me along to watch, help and learn the trade. Officially speaking, I began full-time employment with the family’s business in 1997; operating a heavy-duty wrecker. What was it like attending your first WreckMaster class? In 2007 I attended my first WreckMaster course in Louisville, KY. David Bouvia presented the Level 2/3 to a group of operators that I had known and worked with for years. I was 29 years old when I attended this course and had been a professional operator for 10 years. I had convinced myself that nothing useful would be gained by taking a “Light-Duty” class. David laid out the 2/3 curriculum, as he so masterfully does, and showed this egotistical operator that when the foundation hasn’t been properly built, failures and weaknesses will become evident the higher you build. As I reflect upon my learnings from the Level 8/9, the core disciplines taught in the Level 2/3 are essential for preparing an experienced operator for life and work in the ditch. How did you become more involved with WreckMaster? I have been blessed with mentors and leaders that have instilled in me the calling to return to others that which has been given to me. Many great operators and industry professionals have taught me and shared their wisdom with me. My company chose to begin hosting WreckMaster classes to allow a channel for that valuable knowledge and wisdom to reach further into our industry. A dear friend and colleague, Nick Schade of Tony’s Wrecker Service and I worked together to sponsor and produce many classes at our respective companies. In addition to team hosting, Nick has challenged me with applying the WreckMaster Discipline to my daily life and career. Nick and I share photos of jobs, each printing the other’s photos and drawing angles and calculating line loads. I owe a great deal of where I am today to my wonderful friend Nick. In 2015 I was recognized as a WreckMaster Top 10. Then, in 2018 I was surprised with the highest honor bestowed by WreckMaster, the WreckMaster of the year award. I was humbled and filled with immense pride all at the same time. I shared the moment with my family and vowed to be a voice to the industry, taking the elements of professionalism, community, confidence, safety, knowledge and integrity to every operator that will listen. I began traveling with Lead Instructor Scott Aey to learn the ropes of instructing the WreckMaster curriculum. Scott shared his experience and knowledge with me to help prepare me for the opportunity to advance to the position of instructor. I also traveled with Randy Biichle and Kurt Wilson. I learned quickly that each instructor has their own style. But, the strength of the core content is evident and consistent across the entire instructor team. This feature of the WreckMaster brand is what makes it the most sought after and valuable training and certification program in our industry today. I’m proud to represent this company and all that it stands for. What was it like teaching your first WreckMaster class? From 2002 until 2010, I worked as a professional firefighter in addition to my career as a towing operator. I was a fire instructor during my Fire and Rescue career. I developed and presented training to firefighters at my department and others. My area of focus was training recruit firefighters and new pump operators. Teaching groups of people was not new to me by the time I taught my first WreckMaster class. However, teaching in front of groups of towing operators, some of which had been in the industry for many years was very different. The first priority for me was presenting the information in a way that would challenge a person’s thinking without having them reject the concepts based on the “That’s how I’ve always done it” mentality. I believe that a leader or instructor that can inspire genuine curiosity within their students will be highly successful. A person has to desire to ask themselves the challenging questions and I want to be there to offer the best answer possible. What do you think that WreckMaster offers that the industry is currently missing? To be an industry that offers careers, not just jobs, towing and recovery needs to embrace strategies that empower operators to earn a wage that is consistent with the risk and sacrifices made to deliver the service. To provide that wage, towing companies also need to earn more for their services as well. However, the consumer will not be willing to pay more for the service if it is delivered on par with the way that the general public currently perceives wrecker drivers. Our companies and operators need to enhance their image by increasing their knowledge, conducting themselves in a more professional manner, and working together to make Towing and Recovery a top tier industry; one that is respected as much as Law Enforcement, Fire/Rescue and EMS. Wreckmaster offers the tools to support this change. The model of professionalism, gaining knowledge through training and teamwork are integral to our company. A company or an operator that partners with WreckMaster has and edge over the competition in becoming a more professional and higher compensated representative of the Towing and Recovery Industry. View the full article on WreckMaster.com...
  4. When the driver of a semi pulling a flatbed trailer loaded with a steel coil that weighs 23,348 lb, he discovered the axles on the semi were overweight. You have been contacted to lift the coil high enough off the deck of the trailer to allow the driver to pull the unit forward to re-position it. The steel coil is 4'6" wide with a thickness of 2'2". The height is 3'. You are operating a 30-ton wrecker with a wheelbase of 225". The rear axle weighs 13,500 lb while the front axle weighs 12,500 lb. Once you arrive on the scene, you find the coil is loaded shotgun style. After doing some calculations, you know you will need to have 80" of overhang to perform the lift with the boom at 30 degrees. The wrecker is equipped with a 3/4 steel core wire rope with a WLL of 14,7000 lb. On the wrecker is a WreckMaster 8" buckle with a WLL of 50,000 lb. The rigging on the truck includes a variety of round slings orange 40,000 lb, Blue 21,200 lb, wear-pads, fire hose, coil-edge protectors, Grade 100 chain in 1/2, 5/8 size in lengths from 6' up to 16'. 10"/15-ton snatch blocks. Think you know your stuff? Fill in your answers below and see how you did! View the full article on WreckMaster.com...
  5. This Video is an overview of the changes and updates to the company and how it will benefit those in the towing industry. WreckMaster; Professionalism: is what we represent Confidence: is what we build - Safety: is what we achieve Community: is our strength - Integrity: is who we are - Knowledge: is what we deliver Sign up for the WreckMaster Partner Program:
  6. You have been dispatched to use your winches to lower a 40-yard roll-off dumpster into driveway that has a tree line down both sides creating a canopy over it preventing the roll-off truck from unloading it at the bottom without damaging the trees. The truck you are in is a 16 ton wrecker equipped with dual 15,000 lbs winches that has 150 feet of 1/2 steel core wire rope. The roll-off dumpster has rollers on all four corners which will allow it to roll down the concrete driveway. The curb weight of the empty dumpster is 6,500 lbs. The driveway is sloped towards the house. The layout of the driveway is straight from roadway with it ending right next to the garage. The garage door is to the right of the driveway. The length of the driveway to the spot where the contractor wants the dumpster is 100 foot with the last 40 feet being flat and level which will allow the roll off company to load the dumpster on the flat part of the driveway. The rest of the driveway is at a 15° until it levels off at the bottom of the driveway. The contractor has swept the driveway to remove any debris that was on it. Once the roll-off is unloaded, it is chocked in place with two rubber chock blocks. After performing your survey, you note that there is room in front of the dumpster to position your truck directly in front of it. The front of the dumpster has two attachment points designed to have a two-legged bridle attached to for such instances. On the back of the dumpster, the company has painted its Name, dumpster number, empty weight as well as a list of items not allowed in it. The empty weight is 6,500 lbs. 1/2 inch steel wire rope WLL 7,490 lbs 1/2 inch Grade 100 12 foot Two leg bridle WLL 26,000 lbs @ 60° With the information, you were able to gather during your survey, answer the following questions. 1. What is the resistance of the dumpster? 2. Will the wire rope be within its working load limit if used as a single line? View the full article on WreckMaster.com...
  7. Is it worth it for a company to create a traffic management plan, or are they able to just wing it on scene? I would never recommend just “winging” it while on scene. I like to think of a plan like a map; it’s hard to get where you’re going when you don’t have one. When you send your team out without a plan, you’re handicapping them. Having a traffic management plan adds a level of direction to every scene while providing structure that can keep workers, first responders, pedestrians and traffic safe. Is there ever a situation where traffic management / control isn’t required? I think that traffic management should always be in place - whether it’s something as simple as turning on your rotating lights, placing some cones behind your truck or full signage such as arrow-boards. Traffic control is not just for vehicular traffic, it also keeps pedestrian traffic safe. Your beacons, cones and signage act as a way to alert the public, not just divert traffic. Additionally, when you don’t inform the public of an incident ahead with advanced warning, it can lead to secondary accidents. Does the type of roadway or speed limit matter when setting up equipment for controlling traffic? What are some factors that can affect this? Absolutely it does. Speed of the road, the terrain of the road, weather conditions, time of day, volume of traffic - all of these things need to be considered when setting up traffic management. What are some ways first responders can assist with managing traffic? The first thing they need to do is provide advanced warning by putting up signs immediately. Most first responders want to be right at the scene. The best thing for them to do is identify a specific person to be upstream, alerting traffic of the incident ahead. The area, environment and speed of traffic will determine how far back they should be set up. I recommend they are back a minimum of 500 feet setting up initial warnings for any roadway over 30 mph. Remember, the further upstream from the incident they are, the better, but they still need to set up warning signs at set intervals between themselves and the scene of the incident. Are traffic laws different depending on jurisdiction? Where can an operator learn about what they can and can’t do in their area? Operators should research the minimum requirements for traffic management for their province or state. Almost all provinces and states have similar rules and laws designed to create a safe work environment for the motoring public, first responders, towing operators and anyone else in the vicinity. This is true for small incidents AND large ones. I would rather my operator come back with a ticket for too many signs than not enough. My belief is that if you do not have enough advance warning, you may not make it back alive. What kind of rights does an operator have when it comes to traffic management and control? It is the right of any worker or employee to refuse any unsafe work. Every employee has the right to protect themselves and the people they are around, to maintain a safe work environment and to ask police and fire to assist if they feel unsafe. If first responders are pressuring you to hurry and not establish safe traffic management warnings, tell them you feel unsafe and tell them why you feel unsafe. Work with them towards a solution. A lot of times, the operator just wants to be heard. The first responders may only do what is required until they can get a safer work zone in place. Often giving them some insight into the situation can help create a safe scene. View the full article on WreckMaster.com...
  8. Keep a light jacket with your gear As the weather begins to turn colder, dressing in warmer clothes becomes a necessity. Packing a jacket that can keep you warm if the temperature drops is important. I usually recommend something waterproof that can be worn in the rain. Make sure it has the proper reflective striping or that your high-visibility gear can fit over it. Pack a flashlight The change in season means the sun is going down earlier and earlier every night. While most cell phones now come with one installed, we still recommend keeping a battery or crank operated flashlight with your gear or in your truck. This is especially important in the fall and winter when the sun goes down before heavy traffic is finished for the way. Pack some extra socks Plain and simple: having cold feet sucks, having wet feet sucks. The importance of extra socks can never be overstated. Weather appropriate footwear Fall means damp, wet weather and leaves. Make sure your footwear is not only able to keep your feet warm, but also has proper grip to prevent slips and falls. Finding something that can keep your feet dry if you step in a puddle or mud is also important. Stay hydrated This is something that not enough towing operators take seriously and it isn’t just a summer issue. Typically we spend long days either in a truck or on the side of the road. Coffee is often what keeps us running, but proper hydration can keep your energy high and your health in good shape. View the full article on WreckMaster.com...
  9. SUBMISSIONS ARE NOW OPEN! The Donnie Cruse Memorial Awards highlight the most impressive light, medium and heavy-duty recoveries completed by operators in the Towing and Recovery industry. We are asking all operators and WreckMasters to submit their best work in a detailed description and with as many photos or videos as they would like. DETAILS: - Awards are split by Light-Duty, Medium-Duty and Heavy-Duty - Submissions must include photos or video - Multiple submissions are not only allowed, but encouraged! SUBMIT YOUR RECOVERY HERE
  10. While traveling down the interstate a driver of a full size dually 4x4 pick up pulling an enclosed 24-foot cargo trailer hit a piece of debris in the road, causing their right front steer tire to blow out and pull the pickup and trailer into the right-side ditch. The ditch is soft from rain that has occurred in the area over the last week. The driver was able to check the vehicle upright during the accident. The State Patrol arrives on the scene to handle the incident. The Trooper on scene requests a tow truck to be dispatched to the scene to recover the unit from the ditch, advising the tow company the truck has a flat right-front tire that will need to be replaced or the unit will need to be transported from the scene. Upon your arrival on the scene, you advise the trooper you will survey the scene then report back them your plan to recover the causality. You are dispatched to the scene in a medium wrecker equipped with a winch brake with a front axle weight of 5,890 lbs. The rear axle weighs 19,740 lbs. The medium wrecker has a wheelbase of 205 inches. This recovery unit is equipped with 1/2 wire rope with a working load limit of 5,900 lbs. During your walk around you discover the front axle weighs 4,480 lbs with the right front tire flat. The rear axle has a weight of 7,122 lbs. The trailer has a curb weight of 3,426 lbs. The driver shows you an invoice that there are 6,276 lbs of flooring tile inside the trailer with an assortment of tools used to install the tile. While performing your walk around, you notice the path to bring the units out of the ditch is extremely soft without any type of incline. The trucks front axle is mired to tire depth. The rear axle on the truck is mired to body depth. The trailer axles are on a soft surface with trailer axles sitting on the ground. After doing the calculations for the resistance to perform the recovery, what is the total resistance needed to overcome? If the tow truck on the scene is able to perform the recovery, how many lines to the load would be required? Is the tow truck on scene able to anchor effectively? If the truck is able to perform the recovery, will the tow truck be able to transport the units from the scene and maintain tow capacity with an overhang of 90 inches? If able to stay withing tow capacity, will the tow truck have enough braking capacity? Add your answers in the comments and watch for the answers next month! View the full article on WreckMaster.com...
  11. When you talk about having the right “attitude” at work, what does that mean to you? To me, it’s about being a team player and being willing to work with the rest of the team while having a positive, contributing attitude. What are some of the signs that you or another operator may not have the right attitude while at work? Every shop seems to have that one employee that is sitting in the corner drinking his coffee or looking at his phone in the morning with a scowl on his face with a grumpy attitude to back it up. Basically, a team member who is always in a bad mood and doesn’t want to talk with anyone most of the time. They put in just enough effort not to get fired, but nothing more than that. If your thinking your shop doesn't have one of these operators...either you work in a great place or maybe you’re this person and don’t realize it? What are some of the ways you have found work to help keep you in a good attitude at work? I think it starts before work and may need to be re-set throughout the day occasionally. As towers, we don't typically have a set schedule to start each day. We wake up to a call or text, maybe a few people still have a pager, with directions for our first call And of course we need to be there ASAP. The first 10 minutes of your day can easily set the pattern for the rest of the day. Take the extra minute you don't think you have to hit the Keurig button or say good morning to your family. Don't let the day run you. Throughout the day you may need a re-set. Find 10 minutes and instead of looking at what others are doing on social media get out of the truck and walk around a park or a scrap yard or whatever your town has to offer that you enjoy. Maybe if you like a specific drink or snack from your favorite store, add it to your route somehow. Dont be wasting fuel and your bosses time, but if you can take 10 minutes to clear your head, do it. Is there anything a towing company can do for its employees to help improve moral? Most operators just want to feel like they are respected and needed. Offering them to take a random 15 or 30 minute break at 2 in the afternoon is a nice gesture. Maybe even calling them in late one morning a month or letting them leave early. Time off is almost as good if not better than financial compensation in some cases. It helps the employee re-set and hopefully have a little better outlook on their job. Is there a breaking point where an operator may realize towing isn’t for them? This is a demanding job. When you start to think you are getting burned out you are most likely already burned out. It’s no longer safe for you to be doing your job on the side of a highway or in traffic if you are on edge or irritable or just dont care as much any more. Maybe it's just time for a break? Maybe a vacation or a job switch with in the company for a while. Lets face it, life's too short to work a job that you are burned out on. You are no longer doing yourself, your coworkers or employer any good. Find what makes you happy or challenges you and stay focused. Maybe you leave the industry for a bit but it seems with most tow operators they can say “just when I thought I was out, they sucked me back in.” There’s a story about a guy that won the lottery. He promptly quit his job of 18 years as many people would. Shortly after he went to his local landscape supplier and ordered 20,000 tons of manure to be dropped off at his home. He had it all lined up to be dumped at the same time very early one morning. When they started dumping all the lights came on in the house and a man came running out yelling to stop. Turns out the house was actually his old bosses of 18 years. He was simply giving him back all the crap he had given him. Don’t be this guy. You may never win the lottery… and you will just be miserable for 18 years instead. Do what you love, Love what you do- C’ya in the ditch View the full article on WreckMaster.com...
  12. You'd be hard pressed to find a towing operator that doesn't know how to jump a dead battery or has never jumped on for a job. But for those that may need a bit of refresher or have never used a portable jump pack before, we've created a handy infographic: Got any tips on jumping batteries? Leave them in the comments below! View the full article on WreckMaster.com...
  13. The students covered Rotator setup followed by lifting an empty sea container to demonstrate the effect of angles on rigging. Next, using two wreckers were setup using two load cells on a clothesline to lift a vehicle. The last module was the upright of cement mixer DAY 4 underway:
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