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Entergy arkansas rescues dangling tree trimmer.

"Hey! How ya doin'?"

It wasn't a typical afternoon greeting in June for troubleman Shannon Garvin. He and fellow lineman Brad Bryant had just jumped into their service trucks and driven about four miles from the Omaha, Ark., substation to town, and they were now looking up at tree trimmer Chris Helms, dangling 40 feet in the air.

"I'm okay," Helms said. "But I can't feel my legs."

Garvin would later recall he knew they had to act fast because Helms' harness was cutting off his circulation.

"The blood begins to pool and that's dangerous," Garvin said.

When Helms' bucket truck hydraulics malfunctioned, he tied himself to a tree limb and tried to repel out of the bucket to the ground, but the knot would not slip. Witnesses alerted the Omaha Rural Fire

Association but the firehouse didn't have a truck and ladder big enough to reach Helms, a native of Hollister, Mo.

John Simpers, the public information officer for the fire association, remembered seeing Entergy Arkansas trucks at the substation, turned on the red emergency light on his personal vehicle and drove to the substation.

"He came flying up there while we were waiting on our switching orders from dispatch," Bryant said. The entire Omaha substation was locked out, representing about 2,300 customers without power in the northwest corner of Boone County.

"The first responder told us, 'One of your people is stuck in a bucket truck.' And I thought that , can't be right," Garvin said. "But we needed to go check it out."

Garvin and Bryant are lifelong friends who graduated from high school together. Bryant began working for Entergy Arkansas in 2000; Garvin followed his classmate into the job a year later. That childhood bond plus hours of Entergy Arkansas safety training kicked in for these servicemen who on a day-to-day basis assess, work and manage jobs alone based out of the Harrison service center.

"I work better by myself," Bryant said. "There's no one to argue with me."

There was no argument from Garvin on how best to free Helms.

"We got there, looked at each other and Brad drove his truck to the tree trimmer," Garvin said.

Neither one of them had a two-man bucket truck so Garvin remained on the ground and used his truck's ground controls to maneuver the bucket beneath Helms while Bryant was inside his bucket, using the upper controls to reach Helms and give him instructions on what they were going to do.

"We transferred the safety lanyard," Bryant said. "To take the pressure off, Shannon raised his bucket to scoop Helms up. Once he decided he could safely bend down, then we cut him loose from the lanyard and Shannon lowered him."

The whole operation took about 15 minutes.

"He shook our hands and we went back to the substation to start getting the customers' lights back on," Garvin said.

Operations coordinator Chris Jones, who monitored the rescue operation, gives his servicemen all the credit.

"They did what they were trained to do," he said.

Caption: Lineman Brad Bryant, left, looks on as tree trimmer he helped rescue is back on the ground unfastening his safety lanyard.

Caption: Entergy linemen Shannon Garvin and Brad Bryant to the rescue of tree trimmer Chris Helms.

Creating and sustaining a safe work environment play integral roles at Entergy Arkansas. Company magazines throughout the 100-year history feature the quick thinking of employees who have been recognized for life-saving actions in their communities.A rescue operation in June highlights the company's emphasis on safety.
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Title Annotation:Shannon Garvin and Brad Bryant
Author:Graham, Sally
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Dec 2, 2013
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