Featured image: Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative General Manager and CEO Mike Simpson addresses a packed house of first responders
By Tyler Pruett
RAINSVILLE, Ala.— The Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative (SMEC) hosted a dinner and safety training seminar for all first responders in their coverage area on Monday, March 14. SMEC invited all police departments, sheriff departments, rescue squads, and fire departments from three different counties to show their appreciation and provide instruction on how to safely deal with emergencies involving electricity.
Traditionally, SMEC hosts the event every few years, but after the April 2011 tornados, the co-op decided to reformat the program based on the new experiences of that tragic day. That powerful line of storms reeked havoc statewide, and tied up virtually all first responders and local electric companies.
Mike Simpson, General Manager and CEO of the electric coop, served as the master of ceremonies. With a coverage area of one thousand miles and only two, two-man crews on standby at all times, first responders must often deal with dangerous situations involving downed power lines until repair crews arrive.
“We’re training them in how to deal with downed power lines,” Thompson said. “We also want to promote better communication and cohesion between first responders and the electric coop.”
“Local firefighters, rescue squad members, and police officers do a fantastic job for our communities,” Thompson added. “We wanted to host this dinner not only to keep them safe, but also to show our appreciation.”