Thank You to Our Linemen and First Responders

 

After record snowfall, it’s important to remember those who keep us safe

Maine Winter is a fickle beast. And the recent snowstorm reminded us of just how strong that beast can be. Many areas of the state received up to 30 inches of snow in just a two day period (and some parts of the state got over three feet!). Bangor recorded its third-highest one-day accumulation in recorded history with 21.5 inches of snow in 24 hours.

It’s important to remember in times like these, when most of us are home from work and school, stoking the fire and spending time with family, that there are men and women out on the road, working tirelessly in often dangerous conditions to keep our communities safe.

Throughout Maine during a snowstorm, thousands of linemen wake up well before dawn to dig out their driveways and head to work. Many travel long distances across our state (and sometimes throughout New England) to right downed power lines and install, maintain and repair the transmission systems and equipment that keep our lights on and keep the heat in our houses pumping. This is no easy task. Not only are they battling the bitter cold, but they are also dealing with high-voltage equipment that takes extreme caution and care to handle.

Maine’s police officers and firefighters are also on call. Whether they’re digging out a car stuck in a snow bank or checking in on the elderly in our community, our state’s first responders are prepared for any emergency during a blizzard. Moreover, an important and often overlooked part of their job is to communicate with the public. These professionals know best how to avoid dangerous situations during extreme weather. In today’s highly connected world, it’s good practice to follow our local police and fire departments on social media for the latest updates and weather warnings.

I’d be remiss not to mention the critical role Maine linemen and first responders played when I was Governor during the Ice Storm of 1998. Trees, wind and weather downed power lines and blocked roads across our state, leaving nearly 500,000 people without power. Our linemen, police officers and firefighters worked around the clock, and in conjunction with the Maine National Guard 133rd Engineer Battalion, to ensure that Maine families were not isolated without power and food.

All of us in Maine understand the power of Mother Nature, and we are particularly reminded of her awesome ability after a storm like the one we had this February. While we are safe at home, it is good to take time to reflect on all the hardworking men and women who are away from their families, working on our behalf. So again, a sincere thanks to our linemen and first responders for all they do for the state of Maine.