GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Apprentice linemen with Mississippi Power need to be able to do the best job out there.
“The stuff that they are doing today is building blocks on to them becoming a lineman because what they learn today is going to benefit them in the future,” said Mike Barnes, a Mississippi Power training instructor.
The linemen are required to participate in modules that teach them the basic skills of the job. This particular module is the second part of a four-part program.
“This where we get into the advance training portion of our training,” Barnes said.
Advanced training starts with learning to fix a broken or damaged power line.
“We are going to work on this pole here. We are going to strip it down. We are going to pull the server down, the transformer down, the neutral spool, all material,” Barnes told the trainees before the exercise.
In simple terms, they are taking a transformer apart piece by piece, lowering it down the pole, and building a new one.
They've been taught to check the pole and make sure it is secure by beating it with a hammer to check it for sturdiness.
What’s learned in these exercises is how the power gets fixed if it goes out in your neighborhood.
“A lot of the stuff that we are doing today is stuff we’ll have to do randomly,” Barnes said.
The only difference is that in this exercise, they have to do it without a bucket truck to lift them to the top. They cannot always use the trucks on the job because there are places where trucks can’t go, like in the deep woods, over water or in storm-ravaged areas.
“So because of that, we have to learn the advanced stuff, how to do it out of hooks,” Barnes said.
According to the trainees, harnessing yourself, climbing up the pole and maintaining balance isn’t the hardest part about the job.
"Trying to make sure the cross arms come down safely, that’s probably the most difficult part,” said Armando Jones, a lineman apprentice.
Having two people assisting helps a lot. One man gets the high side of the pole while another grabs the low end.
The apprentice linemen participating in this module have been with the company for less than two years. A person is classified as an apprentice lineman for four to five years.