Pole Top Rescue Championship to Test Linemen Lifesaving Skills

Raleigh, N.C. —North Carolina’s top electric cooperative linemen will converge in Raleigh on the morning of Tuesday, May 23 to determine the 2006 Pole Top Rescue Champion. The competition is a test of lifesaving skills each electric co-op lineman is required to be proficient in.

Triangle Town Center, located at the intersection of Capital and Sumner Boulevards, is the site of the championship. The event will take place on the field in front of Chili’s and Macaroni Grill restaurants. The competition starts at 9 a.m. on May 23 and is scheduled through 1 p.m. Vying for the state title will be 25 local cooperative champions. More than 694 linemen competed in local and regional competitions this year.

At the Pole Top Rescue competition, a lineman must perform in a scenario which finds a fellow worker unconscious atop a utility pole. The lineman must radio for help, don full climbing gear, scale 20-feet up a utility pole, rig a pulley, lower a 120-pound mannequin and begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). To be in the title hunt, a lineman must do this in less than two minutes.

Defending champion Leonard Person from Tri-County Electric Membership Corporation, headquartered in Dudley, NC, returns and is the odds-on favorite. Person beat 24 other local champions in 2003 at the state competition with the fastest time ever recorded at the contest. Person completed his poletop rescue drill in 1-minute, 37.9 seconds. The previous record was 1:38.2 set in 1997 by former French Broad EMC lineman Rocky Flemming.

Person is scheduled to compete at 9:50 a.m., so he’ll have to wait for many other contestants to compete in order to see if he will retain his title and claim the $1,000 first prize. Person credited his 2003 victory to hard work and practice. To get ready for the championship, Person installed a utility pole in his back yard to practice his climbing skills.

The scenario used at the pole top championship is the same one all North Carolina electric cooperative linemen must perform in under five minutes in order to maintain their certification to work on co-op lines.

North Carolina’s electric cooperatives provide energy to 2.4 million people in 93 of 100 counties, primarily in the rural parts of state. The electric cooperatives own and maintain 92,000 miles of power lines, by far the most of any electric utility in North Carolina.