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He Was a Lineman
for the Company

Wall Street Journal, by Michael Devaney

Original Article

Posted By:StormCnter, 11/21/2012 6:04:43 AM

Life without electrical power, as the victims of Hurricane Sandy can attest, is inconvenient, uncomfortable and often boring. For the people who repair Sandy´s damage, however, it can be lethal. I know, because I grew up in a household where the breadwinner worked for a power company. After flying 32 missions over Europe as a ball-turret-gunner on a B17, my dad returned home in 1946 and took a job with Ameren Electric, based in St. Louis. As a kid, if I was still awake when he returned home from a trouble call, I would sit at the kitchen table

      


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Reply 1 - Posted by: Country Boy, 11/21/2012 6:37:59 AM     (No. 9027062)

Rood read.

I heard that there was one man killed (electrocuted) in Sussex County NJ during the recent storm. He was the homeowner (not a lineman). Had a tree on his power line, figured all the power was out. But the electric line was live. Turns out a neighbor had his generator running improperly, and the 220v power went back to the street, killing the man who was cutting down the tree.

If you have a gas generator, please hire a licensed electrician to connect it. The connection system (transfer switch) is designed so that nobody can get hurt.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Reply 2 - Posted by: franq, 11/21/2012 7:41:07 AM     (No. 9027148)

Very nice story. Stands in stark contrast to the Facebook/Arlington girl.

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Reply 3 - Posted by: Mass Minority, 11/21/2012 8:35:45 AM     (No. 9027268)

What a great tribute to a real American working man. I have freinds who were linemen and frequently responded to disasters such as sandy or the Ice storms that battered Canada some years back. It is miserable demanding and dangerous work. Just think as you look out your darkened kitchen window at the driving sleet in 34 degree weather with a 40 MPH wind. Some poor guy is out there, forty feet up trying to splice to hot power cables together while the driving sleet burns his face and he can hardly keep his eyes open.

Then think about doing it for 10 or 12 consecutive 16 hour shifts. All so you can watch the hypervenmtilating talking head tell you how bad the storm is.

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Reply 4 - Posted by: papasparky, 11/21/2012 8:49:35 AM     (No. 9027293)

Having worked at a similar job in my early adult years, I can say "Amen" and spot on to his well written article. The only thing he omitted was how much and for how long those creosote soaked splinters burned when inserted under the tender skin of your belly while sliding down.

After surviving two high voltage fires and my share of "shocking" experiences, I took the advice of a crusty old lineman and "got off those poles while I still had some knees left".

For those who have never felt the exhilaration of climbing a super tall Black Diamond and belting off at the top, once you get there you set back and let your knees lock out backwards, and go to work. Doing this is not using your knees as they were designed to be used, and over time results in knees that resemble cantaloupes. My boss had those knees and was as bow-legged as an old Texas cowboy.

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Reply 5 - Posted by: mikeyt64, 11/21/2012 8:57:07 AM     (No. 9027307)

Although alot of fault can be laid at the doorstep of JCPL (Central NJ power) these guys who work for them deserve alot of gratitude. They were stationed across the street from my home in the schools parking lot (aboiut 10 trucks in all). Great guys and there was no stop in them. Trucks were always running to and from parking lot. And many were from states other than NJ. I thanked them then and now. Thanks.

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