Justin Williford, an apprentice line technician at CCEC, 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. To advance to the state championship competition, each competitor had to win a similar event at their local cooperative.
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. Justin Williford completed the scenario with a time of 2:50.
"This championship highlights just how rigorous and challenging it is to be a line worker," said CCEC CEO and General Manager Jake Joplin. "These highly trained individuals play a critical role in co-op operations, and we can't thank them enough for the vital service they provide to our members and communities."
The competition was held for the first time at Nash Community College thanks to the valuable partnership maintained with North Carolina's Electric Cooperatives. Nash Community College offers critical degree and certificate programs in Electric Lineman Technology that help support the vital line workforce across rural North Carolina.