Accidents, they happen and the chances they will happen to a Lineman you know is large. It’s the truth. It hurts to hear and most of you don’t want to think about it, so you don’t. Hear me out. What is your Lineman doing to mitigate those accidents once they happen? Is he prepared? Does he have the tools he needs to survive if his brothers can’t get to him immediately?
Years back my husband was on a crew in Puerto Rico. The unthinkable happened. They were unprepared and had minimal tools to help their situation. Obviously, better planning on the company’s part comes into play. Luckily the other Linemen were able to make it to the hurt Lineman, and with the help of the locals he was taken to a hospital.
SO, many things can happen on the job. On storm our Linemen are using chainsaws and operating a lot of dangerous equipment. No one thinks anything bad can happen on storm. Storm is one of the worst times to be hurt. There is no power, less resources available to get to a hospital quickly and communication is essentially broken (Look into a Garmin Satellite phone for contact when towers are down). Not the best time to have something happen.
Most bucket trucks and foreman trucks are equipped with AED, and First Aid kits/devices. But really what is in that first aid kit? How often is that first aid kit checked and replenished? Just band aids and some gauzes aren’t going to stop that gaping wound made from the chainsaw kicking back at your fellow lineman. Now, you’re in the middle of the swamp, restoring power, with limited resources, and a rigged way to stop the profuse bleeding in his leg. This is what your training has made your ready for. You take off your belt to stop the bleeding. You now see it’s slowing the bleeding but in no way stopping it. From this point your co worker is passed out from blood loss and you have poor signal to call for help. Now you are kicking yourself for failing to plan. Failing to make sure there is a plan B if your cell signal is diminished. Failing to make sure you had a first aid kit with a proper tourniquet that could save a life.
When the accident happened on the crew my Lineman was working on, his attitude changed. He always carries a well rounded first aid kit with quick clot, and tourniquet. Things you don’t see on a first aid kit on a bucket truck. Not only is it with him, but he also carries it on his person. This way if something happens and the crane can’t get you to the ground in a certain time frame you can stop the bleeding yourself.
In attending the International Lineman Rodeo this year I spoke to Mickey Parker at Safeguard Medical. This was there first year at the rodeo. He was blown away that most first aid kits available on the trucks do not have quick clot or tourniquets. Not one Lineman thought about carrying something like this on their person. Hear me out, I know they already have so much equipment to carry on them for their safety. What happens when the unthinkable happens and they don’t have this small lightweight addition to their safety equipment? Is it worth loosing a brother or their life?
Anyone working in a compromising position like wildland firefighter, arborist, mill personnel all carry a first aid kit on their person. Modern medicine is legit, and we are only getting better but, we don't need to be stuck in the past either. Times change and we need to step up and be ready to help a brother or anyone in need. One time while my Lineman was working in Miami, he witnessed a bad car accident that just happened while the crew was about to leave the lay down yard. Two vehicles side swiped each other in almost a pit maneuver and sent one car barreling towards our yards entrance through a light pole and a bus stop. He was an apprentice at the time and before the smoke settled he was at the overturned car helping the elder lady out of the smoking car. Proper stance is just to look away and let the professionals handle it. He assessed the situation, no down powerlines in the vicinity and traffic was slowed as far as he could see. Noting these hazards and having a crew stuck in show up behind me I made the choice to help.
It's a choice to carry, the choice is yours. If, and when something comes apart, will you be ready
This year we bought a bunch of Safeguard Medical kits to give to our Linemen friends as gifts for Christmas. It may not be a fun/cool gift, but it one day may save their life or someone they know life.