Pole Top Rescue Competition Tests Lifesaving Skills of Electric Co-op Line Workers

North Carolina’s top electric cooperative line workers assembled in Raleigh on Thursday, 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.

During the competition, each line worker must execute a scenario that finds a fellow worker unconscious atop a utility pole. The competitor, dressed in full climbing gear, must radio for help, scale 20 feet up the utility pole, lower a 105-pound mannequin and begin 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.

The state championship winners are:

First Place: Levi Fagan, EnergyUnited, 1 minute, 36.4 seconds
Second Place: Austin Story, Blue Ridge Energy, 1 minute, 37.8 seconds
Third Place: Justin Ward, Brunswick Electric, 1 minute, 45.9 seconds

“This championship highlights just how rigorous and challenging it is to be a line worker,” said Dale Lambert, CEO of Asheboro-based co-op 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.”

A list of all 23 competitors and the cooperatives they represent is below. Additional photos are available in our Facebook album.

Electric Cooperative Competitor Counties Served
Albemarle EMC Matt Byrum Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Perquimans, Pasquotank
Blue Ridge Energy Austin Story Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Watauga, Wilkes
Brunswick Electric Justin Ward Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Robeson
Cape Hatteras EC Jonathan Vernesoni Dare
Carteret-Craven EC Justin Williford Carteret, Craven, Jones, Onslow
Central Electric Cameron Bennett Chatham, Harnett, Lee, Moore, Randolph
Edgecombe-Martin County EMC Blake Fleming Beaufort, Bertie, Edgecombe, Halifax, Martin, Nash, Pitt, Wilson
EnergyUnited Levi Fagan Alexander, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Catawba, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Gaston, Guilford, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Randolph, Rockingham, Rowan, Stokes, Wilkes, Yadkin
Four County EMC Reuben Dunn Bladen, Columbus, Duplin, Onslow, Pender, Sampson
French Broad EMC Brad Payne Buncombe, Madison, Mitchell, Yancey
Halifax EMC Nick Cannon Halifax, Martin, Nash, Warren
Lumbee River EMC Cameron Clark Cumberland, Hoke, Robeson, Scotland
Pee Dee Electric Kenny Simmons Anson, Montgomery, Moore, Richmond, Scotland, Stanly, Union
Piedmont Electric Jonathan Jacobs Alamance, Caswell, Durham, Granville, Orange, Person
Randolph EMC Austin Whitaker Alamance, Chatham, Montgomery, Moore, Randolph
Roanoke EC Russ Flythe Bertie, Chowan, Gates, Halifax, Hertford, Northampton, Perquimans
Rutherford EMC Kyle Daves Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Lincoln, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford
South River EMC Daniel Purvis Bladen, Cumberland, Harnett, Johnston, Sampson
Surry-Yadkin EMC Tyler Stoltzfus Forsyth, Stokes, Surry, Wilkes, Yadkin
Tideland EMC Josh Bain Beaufort, Craven, Dare, Hyde, Pamlico, Washington
Tri-County EMC Parker Kennedy Duplin, Johnston, Jones, Lenoir, Sampson, Wayne, Wilson
Union Power Cooperative Josh Morrison Cabarrus, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly, Union
Wake Electric Cory Lawrence Durham, Franklin, Granville, Johnston, Nash, Vance, Wake