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everything is ready to go the next morning. For Crompton, and for the rest of his crewmembers, ‘a day in the life of a lineman’ is a life calling. “I enjoy working as a lineman,” says Crompton. “It is the only job I have had where you can work all night, four days straight and not only get a good pay- check, but some little old lady in your territory will appreciate the work you did to get her electricity back on. Our members truly appreciate the work we do for them.”


Author’s Notes By James Pratt


Over the past two years working on stories for Oklahoma Living magazine, one thing that continues to amaze me is the smooth teamwork shown by the line crews. Erecting a utility pole is like a well-choreographed Broadway play. Everyone knows their job and does their work without a lot of discussion. Oh, they might make small talk about an upcoming hunting trip or the high school football team, but very little is said about the work at hand. I have worked with a dozen co-op crews and have yet


to hear a lineman say, “Hand me a drill” or “Toss me a shovel.” These needed tools seem to appear out of no- where. Everyone knows his or her job and what is re- quired to get a new pole in place. After the Moore tornado I regularly watched crews remove a broken pole and replace it—including connecting it to the live electric lines—in as little as 15 minutes. I think part of this teamwork is because there is very


little turnover in the co-op electrical linemen jobs, and teams tend to work together for years. They are also trained to follow the Rural Utilities Services (RUS) Construction Standards book that most co-op crews know by heart. The book details how an electric co-op lineman should install a pole or wire a circuit. All co-op linemen are trained to follow these exacting standards so crews from different utilities across the country can work together during disasters and everyone knows what to do and what to expect from their fellow linemen. If you ever wonder what teamwork looks like, watch a


co-op electrical line crew work together. You will be amazed!


16 WWW.OK-LIVING.COOP


NFEC lineman Ben


Fairless rolls up electrical wire during a service call southwest of Elk City.


Working With High Voltage


Fourteen-thousand-four-hundred volts (14,400V)—enough electricity to do really bad things to the human body. It is a silent and deadly force always waiting in the background to strike. Yet electrical distribution linemen must work around this deadly voltage every day. How do they do this?


Find the answer and much more in OKL’s digital edition! Access our digital bonus pages at www. ok-living.coop or through downloading our FREE app via the Apple Newsstand, Google Play or Amazon.


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