Pole Top Rescue Championship to Test Lifesaving Skills of Electric Line Workers

Raleigh, N.C. —North Carolina’s top electric cooperative line workers will converge in Raleigh on the morning of Wednesday, October 15 to determine the 2008 Pole Top Rescue Champion. The competition tests lifesaving skills in which all electric cooperative line workers must achieve proficiency.

The event will be hosted on the lawn of the Raleigh headquarters building for North Carolina’s electric cooperatives. This building is located at the intersection of Capital and Sumner Boulevards. The competition starts at 9 a.m. on Oct. 15 and is scheduled through 1 p.m. Vying for the state title will be 25 local cooperative champions. More than 600 line workers competed in local and regional competitions this year.

At the Pole Top Rescue competition, a line worker must perform in a scenario which finds a fellow worker unconscious atop a utility pole. The competitor must radio for help, don full climbing gear, scale 20-feet up a utility pole, rig a rope, lower a 105-pound mannequin and begin CPR. Previous winners have completed the competition in less than two minutes.

Two-time defending champion Leonard Person from Tri-County Electric Membership Corporation, headquartered in Dudley, N.C., returns and is the odds-on favorite. In 2006, Person beat his own record and completed the competition in a time of 1-minute, 36.7 seconds. To train for this competition, Person installed a utility pole in his back yard to practice his climbing skills. Person will be one of the first people to compete at 9:30 a.m., which means other competitors will know what they’re up against in the fight to take first place and the $1,000 prize.

The scenario used at the pole top rescue competition is the same one all North Carolina electric cooperative line workers must perform in less than five minutes in order to maintain their certification to work on co-op lines.

North Carolina’s electric cooperatives provide energy to 2.5 million people in 93 of 100 counties, primarily in the rural parts of state. The electric cooperatives own and maintain 95,000 miles of power lines, by far the most of any electric utility in North Carolina.