“I work in construction, mostly in copper fabrication and seamless gutters, but also a bit of everything. Last Friday, I was helping a co-worker do some roofing, We were installing Permaclad sheets, a very typical roof setup here, galvanized 26 guage steel sheets with a U-panel design. The roof was somewhat steep, but it was dry and we had decent traction. The sheets were 18 feet long x 3 feet wide.
I was about 14 feet up from the edge, marking out screw lines, when someone on the other side of the house sprayed water over the roof. Nobody will admit to it, but a wet Permaclad sheet can be like ice.
This house was built backing a gully, and from the front of the house, only 10 feet to the roof. On the back of the house where I was, it is about 35 feet drop to the ground. I started to slip, couldn’t get up to the ridgecap, and nothing behind me to stop me.
Luckily, I remembered my 551 Grip (Benchmade Griptilian one-hand opening folder), yanked it out of my pocket, flicked it open and I slammed it as hard as I could into the (steel) sheet. The blade went through right to the thumb stud, and it held my weight. I spent about 2 minutes trying to remember how to breathe (well, maybe 20 seconds, but it seemed like forever) and my heart was beating like mad. When I looked behind me, I only had about 4 feet of panel before a long fall.
Thank God for having a good knife in my pocket. My only other tool was a 18v cordless drill for driving home, no harness, stupidly, as usually it becomes more of a nuisance due to lack of anchoring points on the roof. All I kept thinking was, ‘thank God for a strong knife.’”
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