Co-op News

Line Crew Responds to Medical Emergency

By Derrill Holly | ECT Staff Writer Published: July 21st, 2014

An incident involving a motorist in diabetic shock showed linemen at a Colorado electric cooperative back up the “Eyes and Ears’ logo on their trucks with action.

Heath Smith (left) and Kelly Streeb of Poudre Valley REA aided a motorist in need of medical attention while patrolling lines in northern Colorado. (Photo By: Amy Holmquist/Poudre Valley REA)

Heath Smith (left) and Kelly Streeb of Poudre Valley REA aided a motorist in need of medical attention while patrolling lines in northern Colorado. (Photo By: Amy Holmquist/Poudre Valley REA)

“Poudre Valley REA supports the community’s ‘Eyes and Ears’ program,” said Amy Holmquist, communications specialist for the Fort Collins-based co-op.

“Having that logo on our trucks identifies them as safe vehicles, and means our crews can be counted on to provide help during emergencies,” she said.

Such an emergency materialized May 30, as Kelly Streeb and Heath Smith headed out to patrol co-op lines about 30 miles northeast of Fort Collins.

They encountered a vehicle that had drifted into a roadside sign. The driver was motionless behind the wheel.

“We sensed something was wrong right away when we pulled up to the car,” said Smith. “I’m just glad we were there at the right time.”

Streeb, a volunteer firefighter and licensed emergency medical technician, determined the motorist needed medical attention for what appeared to be the early stages of diabetic shock.

They immediately called 911 and stayed with the driver until first responders arrived.

Streeb has said little about the incident due to confidentiality restrictions governing emergency medical responders. But he was glad he was able to use his skills to help the motorist, who is also a member of the co-op.

Poudre Valley REA managers credit training and the linemen’s spirit of community commitment for their ability to aid the man until other help arrived, said Ben Ludington, the co-op’s safety and construction coordinator.

“Many times we’re first responders in storms and other situations,” Ludington said. “It’s important for us as a co-op to have all of our linemen trained in basic first aid and CPR.”

The co-op’s crews always have access to safety and emergency equipment, including first-aid kits, automated external defibrillators and fire extinguishers, Ludington said.

“You never know when you’re going to need to help a fellow lineman out in an accident, or help a citizen who’s in need of medical assistance like Heath and Kelly did on that day.”

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