BEMC lineman places 3rd in statewide Pole Top Rescue Competition

BEMC’s Justin Ward, bottom left, placed third in the NC Electric Membership Cooperatives’ statewide pole top rescue competition for electrical line workers. Pictured here with first place winner Levi Fagan of EnergyUnited, top left, and Austin Story of Blue Ridge Energy, right. {Photo: BEMC)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — We already know the amazing work power company linemen do all the time and especially after a disaster like Hurricane Florence. Now a Brunswick Electric Membership Coporation lineman is earning top marks for his work. Literally.

Justin Ward, a first class line technician for BEMC placed third with a time of 1:45.94 in North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives’ statewide Pole Top Rescue Competition last month in Raleigh. The competition pits line workers against the clock and each other as they demonstrate the technical skills, safety knowledge and rescue procedures required to work on electric utility lines.

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According to a news release Ward has worked in BEMC’s Whiteville district for seven years. This is his second time representing BEMC in the statewide Pole Top Rescue Competition. His third place finish out of 22 competitors earned him a $400 prize at the event.

“We’re very proud of Justin’s performance in this competition,” BEMC CEO and general manager Josh Winslow said in a statement. “Safety is at the core of everything we do at BEMC and our line technicians train year round to ensure they are prepared to respond in any situation that may arise on the job. Justin’s third place finish is a testament to our commitment to safety.”

During the competition, each line worker must execute a scenario that finds a fellow worker unconscious 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 the 103,000 miles of co-op lines across the state.

Ward lives in Whiteville with his wife Madison and sons, Nash and Noxx. He enjoys hunting in his spare time.