Union Power Lineman Ranks Among the Fastest in N.C. at Pole Top Rescue Competition

December 8, 2021

Jason Helms, a lineman at Union Power, ranked among the fastest in the state at the 2021 Pole Top Rescue Competition at Nash Community College in Rocky Mount.

This biennial event pits line workers against the clock and each other as they demonstrate essential lifesaving skills and the job knowledge required to maintain the lines that power the lives of electric cooperative members. Each competitor had to win a similar event at their local cooperative to advance to this state championship competition.                 

During the competition, each line worker executed a rescue scenario of retrieving an unconscious coworker from 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.

Jason completed the rescue scenario with a time of 1:57, placing second place in the overall competition.

“Performing a pole top rescue is one of the many skills linemen learn in a rigorous annual training program that emphasizes diligence and safety. Pole Top Rescue ensures that our linemen are prepared to handle a life-threatening pole top emergency that may arise as quickly and safely as possible,” Lonnie Kirkley, manager of operations at Union Power said.