Eversource Foreman Matt Erlick and a team of employees who provided life-saving assistance to a woman, were recognized recently as the winners of Eversource’s 2018 Hazard ID Program, which honors employees for their commitment to safety.
Erlick observed what appeared to be a strange object in a snow bank during a Nor’easter last year, his extensive safety training kicked in and he couldn’t pass by without investigating. Erlick, who was traveling on Route 132 in Tilton, turned his truck around and made a disturbing discovery – the object that had caught his eye was a woman lying in the snow crying out for help. He immediately dialed 911 and called on colleagues to assist.
“It was just a gut feeling that something wasn’t right,” Erlick says of what made him turn around. “It was so cold my hands went numb as soon as they were exposed to the cold. She was in the fetal position up against a large snow bank that plows drive through frequently and she was screaming and crying out for help. I don’t think she would have made it another hour in the elements. We’re out there all hours of the day and night, so watching out for the safety of one another and the public is just a part of what we do.”
Lineworker Mike Grubb, who had been traveling with Erlick in another truck, approached the woman to assist while Erlick called for help over his radio. All available Eversource employees in the area responded to assist, including field meter mechanic Jeff Huckins, electric field operations supervisor John King, Senior Department Clerk Diana Knox, field meter specialist James Lavery, Electric field operations supervisor Josh Letourneau and foreman Doug Sarette. They wrapped the woman in blankets, comforted her and helped her to safety in the heated cab of a bucket truck while they waited for the emergency responders to arrive.
Eversource also recognized several runners-up as part of the awards program, including Bedford foreman David Beliveau and Lineworker James Cheney, who intervened when they observed a local contractor working two feet away from 15 KV wires in a steel lift. Recognizing the immediate danger, they stopped the contractor from continuing his work installing siding on a home and spent time educating him about the hazards of working so closely to a power line.
“We couldn’t believe what we were seeing,” Cheney says. “When we pulled up, I told him he had to get down and stop work immediately. The contractor was hesitant to halt the job, but when we explained the danger, it sunk in. I believe looking out for the public is part of our job. It’s so important that anyone working near wires slow down and ensure that they’re taking the right steps to complete the job safely.”
Other runners-up for their focus on safety were lineworker Mark Byers, lineworker Tyler Coutu, foreman Kevin Duval, Lineworker Lance Marion and field technician Bruce Starer.