A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

What may look like mid-air rescues is just Covington crew of arborists in re-training exercise

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.

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 (provided photos).

The workers 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.

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.

Roberts, Courtney and Coogan have, 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 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 “rescue” had to be filmed.

Mid-air training

City of Covington Urban Forestry Supervisor Jason Roberts roped up a beech tree in Devou Park to rescue “Joe,” a dangly legged dummy who was electrocuted after contact with a high-voltage line.The simulated injury and rescue training was part of the re-certification OSHA requires before Covington’s Public Works employees can work near power lines while pruning an estimated 1,000 trees each year. That’s Grounds Worker Frank Coogan watching and assisting from the ground.For story: http://bit.ly/2C8k6kJ

Posted by Covington, Kentucky Government on Wednesday, January 9, 2019

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.

City of Covington

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