In the United States, days, weeks, and months are designated for various causes and celebrations. Some of them are plain silly, like National Banana Cream Pie Day (March 2), but others should give us pause and make us take a moment to reflect. One day of this latter type is April 18: National Lineman Appreciation Day.

It is hard to come up with a group of professionals that more people count on than utility line workers. Sure, we need nurses, firefighters, and teachers, but not every day of our lives. Line workers not only make life better, but they also make it just plain liveable. It is due to their hard work that it is possible to carry on with our lives in relative comfort. Even more, we should remember that not everyone can count on reliable power the way Americans do, and we owe line workers a debt of gratitude.

Modern life in every aspect – home life, work life, and many forms of recreation – would not be possible without an operating power grid. So this April 18, take some time to thank a line worker and let them know that their work is noticed, not just when they help you when the power is out, but every day that the power is on.

Looking Back

Linemen have been on the job for a long time. Utility poles started popping up in the 1840s, starting as telegraph poles. Poles became the standard for telegraph lines, telephone lines, and then power. In other words, linemen have been around, in one form or another, since the mid-1800s! Today, the telegraph is obsolete, and telephones dependent on landlines are almost archaic. But the lineman profession is more critical than ever, and the men and women who work on them deserve to be recognized. 

It took a long time for that to happen. The 113th Congress created the first National Lineman Appreciation Day in 2012, and the first National Lineman Appreciation Day was celebrated in 2013. Congress designated this day to recognize the heroic work linemen performed in responding to Hurricane Sandy, which devastated many communities along the Atlantic Coast in 2012. It was due to the tireless dedication and skill of line workers who came from all over the country that the region was able to recover so quickly.

Safeguard Equipment®: Appreciating Linemen is Our Mission

National Lineman Appreciation Day has special meaning to the founders of Safeguard Equipment: all of them have line workers in the family. This close connection made these entrepreneurs extremely sensitive to the dangers that line workers face every day. They wanted to create products that helped linemen to stay safe, not only for themselves but for the families who love them. 

The scariest times for the families of line workers are when their dads, moms, sons, or other relatives have to go out in a storm to repair downed lines. This often means working at night in bad weather, not knowing what they might encounter. Before Safeguard came along, line workers sent out in these situations often had to depend on clunky voltage detection devices to help them identify energized lines and objects. These devices had limited range and could only detect the presence of voltage in one direction. This situation inspired Safeguard’s founders to bring the personal voltage detector (PVD) into the 21st Century. 

Today, Safeguard manufactures state-of-the-art PVDs that are light, robust, and portable. COMPASS PVDs clip onto a hat and have a 360-degree range of detection. They alert line workers to the presence and location of both electrical fields (voltage) and electromagnetic fields (current). When the unit detects voltage or current, it emits an audible and visual alert.

Safeguard’s latest product, the COMPASS ProTM, goes even further. In addition to voltage and current detection, it can detect injury events: arc flashes, falls, head impacts, and man down. When the detection unit is coupled with the Safeguard app to the user’s Bluetooth-enabled smartphone, the COMPASS Pro can keep an eye on workers in the field, and alert in-house safety teams of any adverse events, so that they can respond with emergency aid. 

Safeguard’s PVDs have already protected line workers from potentially fatal exposure and contact with energized lines and equipment, and Safeguard’s goal is to make PVDs standard PPE for line workers across the country. For more information about our products, contact Safeguard Equipment.

This April 18, join Safeguard Equipment in taking the time to thank a utility line worker for making your life better.