LOUISIANA - The lineman is one of the most dangerous jobs in America, and for good reason. These men and women often have to brace the elements of mother nature in order to restore power when it goes out. But the work often starts long before they’re at the utility poles.
"There’s a very certain way that you have to go about doing it. You have to start at the power plant, the transmission lines, the substations and then get out to the little areas where you have roads and houses and individual locations," said SLEMCO Communications Coordinator Mary Laurent.
The lineman is often the person we see in our neighborhood after power goes out, but Laurent says the lineman is just one part of the collective that make up the lineworker.
"You also have underground lineman who work in the pad mount transformers on the ground. You have the substation techs who actually make sure that the power comes into the substation and goes out along the feeders and the roadways. And then you also have the meter techs, and you also have the ride-away tree trimmers," said Laurent.
She says the sheer amount of electricity is what makes this line of work so incredibly dangerous. "These men and women have to be specially trained so that they know how to work around the power lines because to do it improperly means that they can be killed," she said.
For lineworkers in Louisiana, they’re especially important given the state’s long hurricane season.
"It’s crucial, it’s vital and critical that we have enough manpower, enough equipment, enough supplies and material if a storm should hit our service area, that we can restore power as quickly as possible," said Laurent in response to how important they are to Louisiana.
Laurent says becoming a lineman is not a job but a calling. One that requires you to be courageous and willing to face your fears.
If you know a lineworker, be sure to show your appreciation by telling them "thank you" for their dedication to ensuring our communities stay powered while risking their own lives.