Safety is Wheatland Electric's Top Priority
There are many areas of safety that must be recognized and acknowledged at Wheatland Electric. Member safety, employee safety, community wide safety education, electrical safety and the list goes on and on. Safety is at the forefront of the co-op’s daily operations. Delivering reliable electric power to more than 21,000 members across a 15-county service area is no small task, but providing that service safely, requires employees to approach their daily responsibilities with an intense focus on safety. Our members get to see the results of our employees’ efforts every day through the safe, reliable service we provide.
Because we care about the safety of you, our members, Wheatland is active in educating about and promoting electrical safety. We provide educational and safety programs utilizing our safety demonstration trailer and our table-top display.
Additionally, as part of our commitment to safety, employees, both inside the organization and in the field, undergo safety training on a regular basis. “Our line crews participate in regular training sessions to ensure that our employees are constantly reminded of the safety aspect of the job and the importance of using equipment in the safest manner possible,” said Luke West, Manager of Safety/Policy and Documents.
Pole Top Rescue
A lineman’s job is dangerous and Wheatland makes every effort to achieve safety excellence. Ongoing training of safe practices for linemen is a priority for our cooperative, pole top rescue is yet another exercise in safety and emergency training that Wheatland employees participate in.
The annual training helps linemen prepare for situations where they might have to climb a pole to rescue a co-worker. One-by-one, linemen test their skills by securing and lowering a practice dummy from a pole to the ground where co-workers are prepared to provide emergency first aid and care until Emergency Medical Service professionals arrive on scene to take over. Crews are expected to have the injured lineman on the ground in less than four minutes after beginning the rescue effort.
At Wheatland, safety first not only applies to our employees but to our members as well. Because of our commitment to safety, Wheatland developed a High-Voltage Safety Demonstration Trailer. The trailer is used to provide a graphic reminder that electricity is the safest form of energy, but only when treated with respect.
The electrical safety demonstration features an open trailer outfitted with actual equipment necessary to distribute electricity, such as poles, wires, transformers, meters and other items. Linemen use several props and scenarios, including hot dogs, to visually demonstrate the consequences of what can happen when individuals or objects make contact with 7,200 volts of electricity.
Wheatland linemen along with Luke West, Manager of Safety/Policy and Documents, recently gave an electrical safety demonstration to volunteer and rural firefighters in Conway Springs. At the program, 46 firefighters from Argonia, Conway Springs, Mayfield, Norwich, Sedgwick County Fire Station 39, Sumner County Fire District #9, Sumner County Emergency Management, and Viola got a close-up look at various conductors and components of the electrical distribution system and gained a clearer understanding of how the distribution system operates. The demonstration also displayed the severity of injuries electrical contact can cause and what first responders can do to avoid injury while working with and near high voltage.
Low-Voltage Safety Demonstration
Wheatland also offers table-top safety demonstration for local schools or organizations in our service territory. Using a table-top model of a farm, Wheatland personnel demonstrate the value of electricity as well as how to use it safely.
“We take safety very seriously.” said Bruce Mueller, General Manager, Wheatland Electric Cooperative. “We believe that safety is a key component of cooperative principle #5: Education, Training, and Information. We know it is our duty to educate our employees, members and the communities we serve on the importance of electrical safety.”