SPECIAL REPORT TO BLOWING ROCK NEWS. By Renee Whitener. May 31, 2019. LENOIR, NC — Blue Ridge Energy line technician, Austin Story, placed second in North Carolina’s electric cooperatives ‘statewide Pole Top Rescue Competition on May 30 in Raleigh.
COVER IMAGE: Austin Story of Blue Ridge Energy (right), joined by other top finishers Levi Fagan of Energy United (top left) and Justin Ward of Brunswick EMC (bottom left). Photo courtesy of Blue Ridge Energy
The competition pits line technicians against the clock and each other as they demonstrate the technical skills, safety practices and rescue procedure knowledge required to work on electric utility lines.
Story place 2nd out of 22 competitors from co-ops all across North Carolina.
Story finished with a time of 1.37.84, and his second place finish out of 22 competitors earned him a $500 prize. Story has worked with Blue Ridge Energy for almost two years; however, this was his third year participating in the statewide competition, as he formerly worked for EnergyUnited. Story works in Blue Ridge Energy’s Watauga district.
During the competition, each line worker must execute a scenario that finds a fellow worker unconscious 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.
Caldwell district line technician, Jerry Gregg, served as an alternate for the Pole Top Rescue Competition.
The electric cooperative serves some 76,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, and Alleghany counties as well as parts of Avery, Alexander and Wilkes counties. Learn more at www.BlueRidgeEnergy.com