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Perspective: Safely Hard at Work

Our Jackson EMC employees work hard every day. Making sure power flows across the 13,600-plus miles of line in our service area keeps us busy all the time. Ice storms challenge the resources of an electric utility like no other natural disaster. The weight ice adds to power lines and tree branches causes power poles and tree limbs to break, wreaking havoc with our distribution system.

When we prepared the February issue of Jemco News we had no idea how relevant that information would soon become.

The mid-February ice storm was one of the worst to hit the Jackson EMC service area in decades. It created outages in all 10 counties we serve, stretching our resources to their limits.

I was proud of every employee during the emergency. All of them gave 100 percent, whether they were answering phones or replacing broken poles. Our employees worked tirelessly around the clock to restore power to those affected by the storm. They were assisted by 600 linemen from EMCs in Georgia, Alabama and Florida, and contractor crews from as far away as Indiana who came to work to restore your power as quickly as possible. Our heartfelt thanks goes out to each of them.

First and foremost, they worked safely. Despite the dangerous conditions, we didn’t have any injuries.

Electricity makes much of this cooperative’s work dangerous. Our linemen work in dangerous conditions to keep our lights on every day. One of the many keys to their safety is that they look out for one another.

Together, they spend countless hours suspended over a truck in a bucket, packed deep in the cab of a truck, stacked clinging to a pole and up to their ears deep in a ditch. In those tight situations, they grow close fast. You can read more about how this band of brothers works together in this issue.

Live power lines carry several hundred million volts of electricity. Electricity helps us live our lives comfortably, but we have to be safe around power lines and equipment. Safety around power lines, both those above and below ground, is critical. In this issue, we remind you to call #811 before you dig. I also want to direct you to www.jacksonemc.com where you can find more safety information, including our Powertown video where both adults and children can learn more about how to stay safe around electricity.