Each of us who wear the green and tan every day for Baldwin EMC are proud of the careers we’ve chosen. However, many of us have a title we’re even prouder of: Dad.
Yep, even your local co-op linemen can carve out time to be family men. And since school is just about to start up again, we thought we’d share some of the lessons we as linemen teach our children.
Most of these things are probably going to seem like obvious no-brainers. But folks, you wouldn’t believe some of the things we’ve seen in our line of work.
First of all, electrical distribution equipment is not a toy. Pad-mounted transformers aren’t fun places to sit and take a break. Power poles don’t make good hiding spots during a game of tag. Guy wires aren’t for swinging from and meters aren’t meant for BB gun target practice.
Next, we teach our kids to look where they’re going. We enforce this lesson a lot when we’ve taught our teenagers to drive. But we live in a world full of distractions, so it’s important for even young kids to know if they take their eyes off their destination, they’ll likely end up somewhere they don’t want to be. And if they’re behind the wheel of a vehicle, that somewhere could be face to face with a power pole and an unhappy lineman who might also be your dad. And that’s not even the worst case scenario.
Doing the job right might take more time than doing it quickly. But still not as much time as doing it twice. As linemen, we don’t jeopardize our safety or the quality of our work for the sake of speed. We take our time to do the job right, and we teach our children to do the same thing.
And finally, here’s a big one. You can’t tell if a power line is energized just by looking at it. Neither can we, and we deal with them every day. So, if you see a downed power line, the best approach is no approach at all. If you get into a car accident and a line ends up on your vehicle, stay in it and call 9-1-1. If you have to exit the vehicle because it’s on fire, open the door, stand on the edge with your arms tightly across your chest, and jump out with your feet together. Hop or shuffle away as far as you can, making sure your feet stay together.
If we all work together to teach our children these things, not only will we keep them safe, we might save their lives.