As we saw April come and go, it brought with it the showers that produced our lovely spring flowers. It also heralded the beginning of a potentially stormy season that can inherently include power outages. While Southern Indiana Power strives to provide reliable electric service to our members, there are times when Mother Nature has other plans. Most of us can ride out a storm from the comfort and convenience of our homes. However, there is a group of professionals that spring into action when the weather takes a turn for the worst – co-op linemen.
One of the most hazardous jobs
Braving stormy weather and other challenging conditions, linemen sometimes must climb 40 or more feet in the air, carrying heavy equipment to restore power. Listed as one of the 10 most dangerous jobs in the U.S., linemen must perform detailed tasks on high voltage power lines. To help keep them safe, linemen wear specialized protective clothing and equipment at all times when on the job. This includes special fire-resistant clothing that will self-extinguish, limiting potential injuries from burns and sparks. Insulated and rubber gloves are worn in tandem to protect them from electrical shock. While the gear performs a critical function, it also adds additional weight and bulk, making the job difficult and complex.
In addition to the highly visible tasks linemen perform, their job today goes far beyond climbing to the top of a pole to repair a wire. They are also information experts who can pinpoint an outage from miles away, and use their iPads and smartphones to map outages, take pictures of the work they have done and troubleshoot other problems. In our community, Southern Indiana Power linemen are responsible for keeping over 1,600 miles of lines maintained in order to bring power to your homes, farms and businesses 365 days a year, regardless of the weather conditions.
While some of the tools that linemen use have changed over the years, namely the use of technology, the dedication to the job has not. Being a lineman is not a glamourous profession. At its essence, it is inherently dangerous, requiring work on high voltage lines in the worst of conditions, at any times of the day or night. During major storms, linemen often work around the clock to restore power.
Lineman Appreciation Day was on April 9. Let’s continue the thankful spirit all-year round. If you see a lineman, please pause to thank the power behind your power. Let him know you appreciate the hard work he does to keep the lights on.
STEVE SEIBERT is president/CEO of Southern Indiana Power.