2019 Pole Top Rescue Competition Tests Lifesaving Skills
Fast-paced action highlights just how challenging it is to be a line workerBy Lisa Crawley, North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives
North Carolina’s top electric cooperative line workers assembled in Raleigh on May 30 to determine the 2019 Pole Top Rescue state champion. This biennial competition pits line workers against the clock and each other as they demonstrate essential lifesaving skills, and provides an up-close look at the speed, technique and safety knowledge required to maintain the lines that power the lives of electric cooperative members. To advance to this state championship competition, each competitor had to win a similar event at their local cooperative.
The competition reflects a scenario in which a coworker is in need of rescue from atop a power pole. A lineman (the competitor) recognizes a victim (a 105-pound dummy nicknamed “Kool”) in trouble and calls for assistance. Wearing full climbing gear, the lineman scales the pole to 20 feet, lowers Kool, and begins lifesaving procedures. All North Carolina electric cooperative line workers must complete this same scenario in less than five minutes to maintain their certification to work on co-op lines.
“This championship highlights just how rigorous and challenging it is to be a line worker.”
The state championship winners included Levi Fagan of EnergyUnited (top left) in first place with a finish time of 1 minute, 36.4 seconds. Second place went to Austin Story of Blue Ridge Energy (right), finishing in 1 minute, 37.8 seconds. And Justin Ward of Brunswick Electric (bottom left) finished in third place with a time of 1 minute, 45.9 seconds.
Chris Griffin of Union Power maintains the overall record with his 2014 time of 1 minute, 33.47 seconds.
“This championship highlights just how rigorous and challenging it is to be a line worker,” said Dale Lambert, CEO of Asheboro-based Randolph EMC and the competition’s master of ceremonies. “These highly trained individuals play a critical role in co-op operations, and we can’t thank them enough for the vital service they provide to our members and communities.”
Watch the winning competitor
See footage of Levi Fagan of EnergyUnited, the winner of this year's competition. Then, watch all the linemen as they strive for their best times.
Past Pole Top Rescues and poles