During storm response, linemen often work long shifts and battle extreme weather conditions. Following Hurricane Harvey and Irma, line crews faced many challenges out in the field. Here are some of the top obstacles they faced during the restoration and how they overcame them.
Challenge #1: Droves of mosquitos. To battle the pesky insects during the restoration, linemen slathered themselves with bug repellant and tucked mosquito nets over their hard hats. In fact, AEP Texas ordered thousands of mosquito nets on Amazon.com through an overnight shipment.
Challenge #2: Working in standing water. Linemen wore waders in standing water, but even still, they had to be wary of any unseen dangers such as alligators, snakes, or debris. "There were two-by-fours with nails in them, sharp pieces of tin siding, and a lot of other debris you would expect to find after high winds knocked houses over," says Tom Coad, vice president of distribution operations for AEP Texas.
Challenge #3: Accessing restoration zones. Oftentimes, the broken poles were located in muddy, wet fields or swamped areas. As a result, crews relied upon tracked equipment, backyard machines, specialized equipment such as Marsh Masters, and air boats to reach their desired location. In addition, several of the impacted utilities used drones and helicopters to fly over the damage and help with the assessment of the destruction.