YEC employees work together as a team to get the lights back on. To give you a glimpse of what it looks like from those working on the lines, we interviewed five operations department employees. Although their job titles, skills and years of experience are different, they all have a common goal to look out for you—our valuable members.
Zack Smith, Michael Hill, Brandon Fite, Tommy Huffstetler and Matt Craven all emphasize the importance of being prepared to stay safe and focused during storm work. When asked, all of them discuss keeping their equipment in good shape, stocking their trucks with materials needed to make common repairs, inspecting their personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure it’s in working order, stocking up on water and snacks and making sure they have spare clothes, especially dry socks.
As far as equipment goes, 11-year employee Michael Hill points out that one of the most useful tools during storm recovery is a chainsaw.
“In a storm, your chainsaw can be your best friend,” Hill says, “so I always make sure it is sharp and running properly.”
Tommy Huffstetler also talks about the necessity of charged batteries and working lights since many outages occur at night.
Just like our employees look out for you, they also look out for each other. Fite, who has only been at YEC for a year, enjoyed working and learning during the last storm.
“It was a great experience,” he says. “I had a great teacher, Matt Craven, leading me and showing me the ropes. I thought it was also great to see how all the guys had the same goal of making sure our members are taken care of and happy.”
That same preparedness also applies on the home front. Smith, a 14-year employee, adds, “When we have the luxury of time to prepare, I will make sure my family is safe, has a plan and is prepared with supplies if needed because, chances are, I won’t be there with them. That helps me focus on my work when the time comes.”
Being prepared helps, but storm recovery is hard work.
“Sometimes it’s tough; you really have to dig deep. Storms can be very physically, mentally and emotionally draining,” says Craven.
While our safety programs and procedures help safeguard our employees against hazards, their real motivation to stay safe lies with being able to go home to their families and helping their neighbors.
Huffstetler says he looks forward to “going home to my family the same way I left them and helping the community in a time of need.”
Craven adds, “We are motivated to always do all that is possible for the member, but we also want to get home safely to our families. My wife and kids are always on my mind, too.”
At the end of the day, they want to get the lights back on—no matter the challenge. Smith says, “For me it’s rewarding to overcome the challenges and help people get back to normal after being without heat, AC, lights, water and so on—possibly for hours or days.”
And it helps to know, as Hill says, “When the lights are on you get to go home to your family.”
They speak for everyone at YEC when they say they want to get the lights back on as soon as possible.