December 15, 2016

NSP employees receive Lifesaving Award for heroic act

Sandra Voegele doesn’t know what possessed the power line crew to make the trek down her long snow-filled driveway that January day in 2015, but she and husband Toni are thankful they did.

“You can’t see the house from the road. Nobody ever comes down here,” said the resident of Plympton, Digby County. “It wasn’t part of their job but for some reason, they decided to come down to the house to check on us.”

A tree had brought the power line down across their driveway. Leading power line technician Steve Doucette knocked on the door to tell the couple the crew would be getting to work but he felt something was off with Sandra so he went back a few minutes later to check on her.

By then, Sandra and Toni were passed out on the floor due to carbon monoxide from a generator in the basement. Steve and his crew opened the windows and doors, called the paramedics and stayed with the couple as lead power line technician Scott Eisener ploughed their driveway for the ambulance.

“It’s serendipity and we’re extremely grateful. They were just amazing and they even got the power back on! Everybody should have a carbon monoxide detector, that’s for sure,” Sandra said.

On November 15, the four employees received a well-deserved award at the Canadian Electricity Association’s (CEA) Occupational Health and Safety Awards in Toronto.

Powerline Technicians Steven Doucette, Scott Eisener and Ben Robicheau, along with Regional Planner Robert Kelsey, were recognized for their instrumental role in saving the lives of the Voegeles with a CEA Lifesaving Award. It is given annually to any employee of a CEA member utility who was involved in a lifesaving attempt or acted to prevent further harm to someone who was injured or in need of immediate help.

“I’m proud of the team for receiving this national recognition,” said Bill Reid, Safety Manager at NS Power. “The safety of our employees and our customers is the foundation of how we work."

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Photo above courtesy of the Canadian Electricity Association.

The group was recognized through an Award for Merit in Performance (AMP), an internal employee recognition program at NS Power, in 2015. Area operations manager Dave Sweeney recalls the nomination he submitted for the four employees. See video below.