Taking Safety to New Heights
Servicing our members in remote areas is something we take great pride in at Wheatland Electric. When our crews are repairing electric poles or maintaining towers, it’s not uncommon for them to be hours away from first responders. If an emergency were to arise, crew members have the training to safely lower the person down from the pole or tower, begin first aid, and wait for emergency crews to arrive.
As part of their annual safety training, linemen go through pole top rescue drills. Every lineman in the company has four minutes to don climbing and safety gear, climb up the pole to the “injured man,” secure a rope around the test dummy, and lower him to the ground.
There are additional factors when starting a rescue operation from an electrical pole. Before anyone starts to climb, the mayday call needs to be made over the radio and the victim and pole need to be checked to ensure neither are energized. Quinten Wheeler, manager of safety and compliance, says “When in an emergency situation, the most important thing is to remain calm and go through the proper steps.” Following procedure ensures no one else will be harmed during the rescue operation.
Likewise, when Wheatland Broadband tower crews are out upgrading or maintaining equipment, they must act as first responders in case of an emergency. To provide internet service for our members, part of Wheatland Broadband’s infrastructure consists of a network of 60 towers ranging in height up to 400 feet.
Every two years Broadband tower crews and servicemen attend a two-day tower rescue course where they learn proper climbing and safety techniques, and how to properly lower a potentially injured person down off the tower.
When it comes to the training, Tower Technician Nick Buehler says, “It’s good to get a refresher and to see if there is any new equipment or techniques being used by other tower crews out there.”
Being prepared for any situation is something all Wheatland employees take seriously. Whether working on a 30-foot electric pole or a 400-foot tower, relying on the quick thinking of your co-workers could mean the difference between life and death. Although pole top and tower rescues are only a small part of the safety program, they both have the potential to be the most vital. Through training and refresher courses, crew members give themselves the best opportunity to act as first responders.