MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa – Alliant Energy issued an opportunity to media reporters like our very own at KIMT, a hands on experience performing different tasks their workers do on a day-to-day basis. I volunteered to attend the Alliant Energy’s training center in Marshalltown to see just what it takes.
“They start from day one, preaching safety and what it takes, it’s a brotherhood, everybody works together,” said Casey Unruh, a line mechanic for Alliant Energy.
Workers for Alliant Energy, like Casey are spending their Tuesday teaching media reporters how to stay safe while doing their day-to-day tasks. First up was learning how to climb a utility pole with just your hands. Needless to say this wasn’t easy. Special shoes with a spike at the heel were strapped onto your legs. Then a safety harness was attached to catch your fall, you were then expected to shimmy on up. I couldn’t even make it half way.
Climbing utility poles, generally only happens when a bucket on the truck is too large to go into a backyard or other property where they need to fix a line.
Then we learned how to pinch off a gas leak. Those showing me the procedure, explained that cutting off the gas supply as quickly and safely as you can will help prevent further damage to property and people.
Next was digging in the dirt. I was allowed to run a truck with a drill attached and slowly dug into the ground by using the levers inside the cab to do so.
The next thing I knew, I was on my way up, nearly 50 feet up, in an Alliant Energy bucket. I was taken to this altitude to learn how to securely fix an insulator located on the wires atop a utility pole.
Finally, we’re on solid ground agian with a quick lesson from the manager of technical training, Bob Hiatt.
All-in-all, one thing I took from all of this, is how each of these workers who I spent this time in training, love their job, and want you to know, while you may get frustrated when their job disrupts your life, they’re only trying to help.
“ It’s a sense of pride having, everybody relying on our trade, and if they didn’t have electricity, what would we have? Everything revolves around it,” said Unruh.
This is the first time Alliant Energy has offered this hands on training camp.