Investigations Support: A Day in the Life of TSB’s Accommodations Officer
29 July 2014
Posted by: Roberto Medeiros
It is no surprise that TSB investigations involve a lot of experts and an important amount of team work. When I joined the TSB 3 years ago as Accommodations Officer, I did not expect to be playing a real role in those investigative efforts. Little did I know that, having been involved with the Canadian Forces for several years, I was well prepared for this kind of work. I had the privilege to serve our country in Bosnia, Croatia and other parts of the world, where I managed fleet, material and supplies. Providing our front-line people with what they need to perform their duty is therefore second nature to me.
For TSB investigators, assessing and documenting an accident site requires conscientious work and many pieces of equipment—more than most people would imagine. I am the one responsible for purchasing and distributing clothing and equipment, as well as maintaining the inventory of supplies on a daily basis.
When an accident occurs and TSB investigators are deployed on site, my role is to support their work any way I can. Most of the time, they will ask for clothing replacement, protection equipment or tools. Personal protection equipment (PPE) can include flame-resistant clothing, head protection, ear protection, face masks, etc. Where an accident site features the risk of contamination, we provide investigators with a biohazard kit; this includes biological coveralls, nitrile gloves, chemical tape, neoprene boots, disinfectant spray, and other protective clothing.
The investigators and other TSB staff, communications, for example, often travel to accident sites or to the TSB laboratory using corporate vehicles. We have a fleet of 22 vehicles across the country (head office and regional offices), and it is my role to ensure that our people travel efficiently and safely. I take care of all purchases and sales of department road vehicles, as well as maintenance and up-keep with the dealerships.
In 2013, I was deployed to Lac-Mégantic to assist our investigators and team members from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board with 3D scanning. While I was there, I also performed some administrative tasks to support the TSB investigators and other documentation specialists. I even had to drive to other cities to purchase specific material and equipment like SD cards, specialized protective clothing and tools. This might seem like a pretty simple task, but someone has to do it, and do it right, so that our teams can get on with their jobs. That is what support is all about: working behind the scenes, having unexpected things added to your to-do list and being the go-to person for anything, at any time.
Roberto Medeiros is the Accommodations Officer, Finance, Planning and Administration for the TSB and has over 20 years' experience in deployments throughout Canada/US and overseas. Roberto spends most of his free time modifying and prepping cars for track race driving and gardening at home.
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