The Electrical Worker online
October 2013

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Storm Responders in Your Neighborhood

A year ago this month, the Northeast and parts of the Mid-Atlantic were battered by one of the worst storms to hit the United States in recent memory. Hurricane Sandy combined with a weather front moving in from the west to form a "superstorm" that killed more than 280 people and left $68 billion in damages in its wake. Some parts of costal New York and New Jersey are still recovering.

From the moment the National Weather Service first picked up Sandy on its radar to confronting its terrible aftermath, IBEW linemen were there, ready to respond to the challenges of rebuilding the electrical infrastructure.

It's dangerous, difficult work, requiring our members to stay on the clock for days, sometimes weeks at a time. Without their efforts, residents of New Jersey might still be sitting in the dark.

But as we know all too well, the utility industry is understaffed and lacks the necessary manpower to restore power in a timely manner, leading to a barrage of public criticism about delays and repair bottlenecks.

The utility industry and emergency officials know that the IBEW is an invaluable frontline resource in an emergency response. But they weren't taking advantage of everything we had to offer.

As we report in this issue of the Electrical Worker, utilities are now reaching across branch lines to recruit inside wiremen for emergency response teams to meet the challenges of future Sandys.

We won't give up our struggle to replenish the ranks of retiring linemen, but neither will we turn our backs on our communities in need.

As power professionals rooted in our communities, we have the skills and the personal interest to ensure recoveries happen in a timely manner. And our commitment to the Code of Excellence — with its emphasis on daily on-the-job performance and safety, and building strong employer-employee partnerships to get the job done — is just what America needs to get back on her feet the next time a big storm hits.

Stakeholders in the utility industry get it — let's make sure our neighbors and friends do as well. In that vein, keep your eyes open for our latest TV ad, which is airing on CBS and Fox Sports throughout the NFL season. Residents of the Mid-Atlantic will also soon be seeing an ad focused on the IBEW's contributions to Sandy recovery. You can also watch them on our YouTube channel:


Also: Hill: All in to Win? Read Hill's Column

Salvatore J. Chilia

Salvatore J. Chilia
International Secretary-Treasurer