On any given day, most of us come home, flip on a light switch or turn on the TV and do not think twice about that little luxury. But when the power goes out, what do you think about then? Maybe you get frustrated because you were halfway through making dinner for your family. Or maybe a little annoyed that your favorite TV show was interrupted. Do you ever wonder what’s going on outside while you wait for your power to come back on?
When you hear the term ‘first responder’ I’m sure your thoughts go to paramedics, policemen, and firefighters. They should also go to linemen. If a building is on fire or an overhead wire comes down across the road, these other first responders need linemen (or troubleshooters) to make the situation safe for them. If your power goes out, troubleshooters are the ones to show up. They are first responders in their own right.
It takes a special kind of person to become a lineman. Linemen have one of the top 10 most dangerous professions and they’re probably the most under appreciated for the work that they do. Working for a utility company, I talk to these men (and occasionally women) nearly every single day. At times, I’ve overheard conversations with customers. Mostly, they want to know when the power is going to come back on and a lot even want to know what caused it. It’s understandable, but for me, being on the other side of that equation, my priorities have shifted.
There is more to restoring power than flipping a switch and a lot of times, it takes more than one person to complete a job. If you see a troubleshooter or lineman sitting in his truck ‘not doing anything’, it’s possible he’s on the phone with another guy that can come give him a hand. Or he’s calling into dispatch for further directions or to tell us he needs a crew. And chances are if this happens in the middle of the night, it’s going a take a while to get more people out there. Add in rain, wind, snow, and ice and it’s going to take even longer (because while restoring your power is important; safety takes precedence over everything else).
So to the men and women who have dedicated their lives to keeping the power on;
Who work in all weather conditions away from their families so that you may be comfortable at home with yours;
Who work for 16 hours straight, go home for 8 hours to eat, shower, and sleep, and come back and do it all again;
Who put their lives on the line day in and day out;
Who are under appreciated for all the work they do;
Who get called in the middle of the night to come to work;
Who understand the risks and who’s families understand the risks of what’s involved and continue to do the work anyway…
Today, April 18th, is National Lineman Appreciation Day. If you’d rather stay in the comfort of your own home during a storm over working out in the elements, then you too should #ThankALineman.
P.S. As an avid Crossfitter, we voluntarily participate in HeroWODs. These workouts, meant to honor fallen soldiers, are brutal and designed to test our physical and mental abilities. It’s a few moments of discomfort to remind ourselves of what others are sacrificing for us to continue living the way we do. Heroes come in different forms so in honor of today and linemen everywhere, I will be completing the following workout:
400m Sandbag Run (50#)
16 Thrusters (75/55)
3 15′ Rope Climbs
– Rest 3 minutes (‘coffee break’) –
21 Pull ups