A Rescue in Less Than 3 Minutes

Linemen Leonard Person and Kenny Simmons did it faster than anyone.

Leonard Person and Kenny Simmons, line workers from Tri-County EMC in Dudley and Pee Dee EMC in Wadesboro, respectively, were crowned Pole Top Rescue champions in November at a statewide competition in Raleigh.

The competition among the state's electric cooperatives takes place every two years. This year's had two categories based on the type of fall restraints used by the competitors. Both categories used 100 percent fall protection, but there were differences in how the competitors were secured to the pole. One group secured themselves in the traditional way with a lifeline and life hook, while the other group used personal fall restraints that protect from falls during the ascent and descent.

Leonard Person, a three-time Pole Top Rescue champion, won the category with the new restraints that wrap around the pole, and set a new record, completing the "rescue" in 1:33.80, topping the previous record by more than 26 seconds. Simmons won first prize in the traditional category with a time of 1:36.74. They beat 21 other champions, each of whom won the event at their own cooperative earlier in the year when some 600 line workers participated.

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Click on the photo to view slideshow of scenes from 2012 Pole Top Rescue Competition, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives.

In the Pole Top Rescue simulation, line workers place an emergency radio call, don climbing gear, scale 20 feet up a utility pole, rig a rope, lower a 105-pound mannequin and begin CPR.

The second and third place competitors using the new fall protection were Brantley Lawrence of Pitt & Greene EMC (Farmville) in a time of 1:37.02 and Chris Griffin of Union Power (Monroe) in a time of 1:57.62. Rounding out second and third place for the traditional life line and life hook category were Jason Worley of French Broad EMC (Marshall) in a time of 1:41.65 and Freddy White of Four County EMC (Burgaw) in a time of 2:02.80.

 2012 Pole Top Rescue Competition Scoreboard
 (in alphabetical order by co-op)
Name of Contestant Electric Cooperative Time
(Minutes:seconds)
Matthew Byrum Albemarle EMC, Hertford 2:14.69
Ben Hurley Blue Ridge EMC, Lenoir 2:55.09
Chuck Nance Brunswick EMC, Shallotte 2:51.04
Richard Augustson Cape Hatteras Electric Buxton 2:43.23*
Jonathan Long Carteret-Craven Electric, Newport 2:08.31
Harris Morrison Central EMC, Sanford 2:29.52
Chad Bryant Edgecombe-Martin County EMC, Tarboro 2:34.00*
Shay Reed EnergyUnited, Statesville 2:10.59
Freddy White Four County EMC, Burgaw 2:02.80*
Jason Worley French Broad EMC, Marshall 1:41.65*
Jarrod Norris Jones-Onslow EMC, Jacksonville 2:05.00
Mike Jones Lumbee River EMC, Red Springs 2:49.63
Kenny Simmons Pee Dee EMC, Wadesboro 1:36.74*
Brent Talley Piedmont EMC, Hillsborough 2:44.29*
Brantley Lawrence Pitt & Greene EMC, Farmville 1:37.02
Danny Lee Randolph EMC, Asheboro 2:35.02
James Taylor Roanoke Electric, Ahoskie 2:54.81
Timothy Williams South River EMC, Dunn 2:54.47
Justin Collins Surry-Yadkin EMC, Dobson 2:16.93
Matthew Neal Tideland EMC, Pantego 3:08.36
Leonard Person Tri-County EMC, Dudley 1:33.80
Chris Griffin Union Power, Monroe 1:57.62
Cory Lawrence Wake Electric, Wake Forest 2:29.77

* Denotes competitor wearing personal fall protection.

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