SPOKANE, Wash. — There have been quite a few stories about heroes emerging from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.
Among them are firefighters, search & rescue and linemen who work to restore power. In response, a petition on Change.org suggests these linemen should be considered first responders as well.
KREM 2 reached out to Avista for their thoughts on this suggestion but they were unable to comment.
Inland Power said they already consider their linemen first responders.
"I think you can see in recent history during wind storms all of our linemen worked very, very long hours to restore power to all our members," Inland Power Chief Communication Officer Jennifer Lutz said. "They are first on the scene as soon as it's safe to be able to go out and restore power. Also, they work with a lot of law enforcement and fire departments if there's a car accident impacting a pole they always go and make sure that everything is safe for the community."
We shared this story on our Facebook page and many of you weighed in.
Chris Larson is a firefighter and said he believes linemen are as much a part of the team of first-responders as law enforcement, fire and EMS.
There were also those who didn't agree.
Phillip Martin said, to him, first responders are emergency crews who respond to any and all tragic events. He said while linemen are needed for some situations, they are not needed for all.
But, Brodybro Quiggs posted a comment saying linemen should be considered first responders because they play a crucial role in restoring power those whose lives depend on it, such as nursing homes where residents are on machines that help them breathe.
Washington State law does not recognize linemen as first responders. But, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and Edison Electric Institute (EEI) observe Line Worker Appreciation Day July 10th every year.
There will also be a National Lineman Appreciation Day on April 18, 2018.
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