We are amid spring storm season here in northeast Kansas and across the Midwest. Something employees here at FreeState have noticed over the past few years is the increasing amount of people taking interest in storms, weather coverage, and the aftermath.
It’s hard to be in this business and not think of safety when you see some of the activities associated with the “thrill” of spring storms. But most importantly how dangerous conditions can become for not only first responders but lineworkers like FreeState crews (and others).
Did you know that line work is among the most dangerous jobs in the United States? That is why FreeState makes safety a priority. It’s part of the culture here at the cooperative, from the outside in.
We all want to be safe and go home at the end of the day. After storm damage, we’ve seen neighbors helping neighbors and communities coming together, but we want you to stay safe because distractions can be deadly. Downed poles and wires are the most common risk to people following a storm. If you see wires on the ground or broken poles, or other infrastructure not where it should be – never approach it.
Never try to work around downed poles and wires, and never, under any circumstance, move them yourself. We understand the desire to help, and the rush of adrenaline that comes with being in an emergency, but do not make yourself part of the emergency. If you encounter infrastructure damage, stay back and immediately call 911. During these types of situations, FreeState is prepared and ready for a quick response.
Another point to make when it comes to storm recovery is staying back to allow crews to focus on the job at hand. If you come up on a crew, please stay back and let them focus on doing their job. If they ask you to relocate, they are doing so for your safety and theirs. Please give our crews room to work. Slow down if you see them on the roadside.
Often during storm recovery, there are poles, wires, trees, and other debris in the area. So please be safe. Staying inside is the best course of action, but if you must be out, take your time and pay attention to your surroundings. It’s easy to get caught looking at damage or snapping photos, but please remember that distractions while driving are not only a hazard for you but also for those working to help our neighbors.