Pole Top Rescue Competition Tests Lifesaving Skills

On Thursday, Nov. 4, North Carolina’s top electric cooperative line workers assembled at Nash Community College in Rocky Mount to compete for the title of State Champion in the 2021 Pole Top Rescue Competition.

The biennial competition pitted line workers against the clock and each other as they demonstrate essential lifesaving skills and provided 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, each competitor had to win a similar competition at their local cooperative.

During the competition, each line worker executed a scenario in which a fellow worker is unconscious atop a utility pole. The competitor, dressed in full climbing gear, had to 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 electric co-op lines.

This year’s state championship winners are:

  • First Place: Levi Fagan, EnergyUnited, Time: 01:53.4
  • Second Place: Jason Helms, Union Power Cooperative, Time: 01:57.9
  • Third Place: Cody Buck, Brunswick Electric, Time: 01:59.8

Chris Griffin of Union Power maintains the overall record with his 2014 time of 1:33.47.

“This championship highlights just how rigorous and challenging it is to be a line worker,” said Louis Duke, North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives spokesperson. “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.”

The competition was held for the first time at Nash Community College thanks to the valuable partnership maintained with North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. Nash Community College offers critical degree and certificate programs in Electric Lineman Technology that help support the vital line workforce across rural North Carolina.