Special Report to Blowing Rock News from Blue Ridge Electric. By Renee Whitener. October 2, 2014. BOONE, NC — To help ensure the safety of emergency first responders and the general public, Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation recently conducted a training program for emergency first responders across its service area. The Watauga District training was held Wednesday evening.
Photographic images courtesy of Blue Ridge Electric
COVER CAPTION: Kelly Huffman, Safety Manager for Blue Ridge Electric, conducts First Responder safety training to help keep first responders and the public safe during emergency response situations. Assisting in the background are Watauga line technicians Richard Butler, left, and Tim Councill, right
Training focused on working safely around power lines and the electric system when responding to emergencies, especially downed power lines which can still be energized. The cooperative’s First Responder Safety Program is designed help emergency responders work safely in their jobs as they encounter electrical dangers involving vehicle accidents, fallen trees, or other rescue and emergency situations near the electric system. Attendees included North Carolina highway patrolmen, forest rangers, police officers, professional and volunteer firemen, and Emergency Medical Services personnel.
The training focused on how to avoid injury or death from electrocution and other hazards. It included an outdoor demonstration of grounding techniques for vehicle accidents as well as a classroom portion focusing on electric hazard recognition. Each attending department received a First Responders Safety training kit to train personnel who were unable to attend. Blue Ridge Electric also maintains a First Responders electric safety portal on the cooperative’s website so fire departments and other first responders can set their own training opportunities.
According to Kelly Huffman, Blue Ridge Electric safety manager, “Blue Ridge Electric provides this and other community safety training because we’re committed to the safety of our public citizens and the special individuals who are continuously training and prepared to respond, night or day, to any emergency situation. “We all share a commitment to serving the public and to keeping our first responders and linemen safe as they fulfill a very special duty in what can be very dangerous situations,” Huffman added.
Blue Ridge Electric is a member-owned electric cooperative serving some 74,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Avery, Wilkes and Alexander counties. Learn more at BlueRidgeEMC.com.