Mid-air rescues? Just arborists re-training

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In this aerial rescue simulation, City workers Jason Roberts, left, and Frank Coogan prepare to go to the aid of “Joe,” a dummy that was “injured” by contact with a high-voltage line and is stuck high up in this beech tree in Devou Park. 


COVINGTON, Ky. - Heights, falling branches, and the inherent unpredictability of chain saws are a few of the dangers confronted by workers in Covington’s Urban Forestry Division who prune about 1,000 trees and cut down about 100 others in a given year. 

While high in the air, they also have to worry about high-voltage electric lines.
 
What keeps them safe?
 
Training and re-training - with “proof” of that instruction established by formal certification and annual re-certification procedures.
 
Having in years’ past taken the full-fledged five-day course that OHSA requires before they perform tree work within 10 feet of power lines, the City’s Urban Forestry Supervisor Jason Roberts, Municipal Specialist Crystal Courtney, and Grounds Worker Frank Coogan are now undergoing line clearance re-certification. 

It includes a written exam and a timed aerial rescue of a dummy posing as a colleague who had been injured after coming in contact with a power line. The “rescue” had to be filmed.

To see a partial video of the "rescue," see the City's Facebook link HERE.

The re-certification is just one example of ongoing training that City workers routinely undergo to both keep themselves safe and reduce the costs to taxpayers, said Trisha Block, Covington’s new Risk Manager.

 
“Residents might not realize it, but our employees are trained to handle more than just their everyday tasks,” Block said.
 
The Urban Forestry Division maintains about 4,000 trees along Covington streets and at least that many more in the City’s parks and green spaces.
 
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Frank Coogan, a Grounds Worker with the Urban Forestry Division, adjusts his lines.