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NB Power employee recognized for pulling woman from overturned car, saving her life

November 28 2017, 10:49 AM

NB Power employee recognized for pulling woman from overturned car, saving her life

On an ordinary morning drive to work at the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station last September, something extraordinary happened to Keith Whitebone - he became a hero.

Coming up on the Musquash highway, out of the corner of his eyes, he and a coworker spotted a car on its roof in the ditch, water coming up its side. Keith quickly pulled over to the shoulder and jumped into action.

“Some sort of calm came over me and I just did what had to be done,” said Keith.

Searching for something to help, Keith found a large rock that he used to break the back window of the car. He crawled inside. Once in the overturned car, he found a woman trapped upside down by her seatbelt.

“I did think when I got down to this lady hanging upside down in anywhere from inches to 3 feet of water, is this poor soul survives this terrible roll over and now she has the potential of drowning,” said Keith. “I wasn’t going to let that happen.”

He was able to cut her free from her seatbelt, and carefully helped her out of the car through the back window. Once out of the car, Keith sat by her side on the swampy ground and helped to keep her calm and comfortable while they waited for emergency responders to arrive.

Keith was nominated for a Safety Recognition Award by his colleagues at Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station, and received a plaque from the Station’s Joint Health and Safety Committee for a company-wide Safety Excellence Award for his actions.

Now, just over a year later, Keith is getting more recognition - this time, on a national level for saving this woman’s life. On November 15 in Toronto, he received the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) Lifesaving Award. The awards are an annual event that publicly recognizes and celebrates incredible lifesaving acts.

“Recognition is appreciated but not needed,” Keith said. “I would give my life for a complete stranger.”

But Keith wasn’t alone is receiving this lifesaving award. Fellow NB Power employee, Trevor Munn, who works in Marysville, Fredericton, also took home this prestigious award in Toronto.

At an annual barbeque for his office’s Joint Health and Safety Committee, Trevor noticed something was off with one of his co-workers. They were choking. Without hesitating, he wrapped his arms around his co-worker and thrust his arms just under their ribs to help dislodge the food in their throat. After a few minutes of this, the food was out and his co-worker saved.

We’re proud of these employees for going above and beyond to help those in need around them.

Learn more about the Canadian Electricity Association’s safety awards and see a full list of winners.

Winter is Coming – We are Prepared. Are you?

November 6 2017, 15:27 PM

Winter is Coming – We are Prepared. Are you?

The warm weather that we have experienced in the summer and into fall can easily lull one into a sense of complacency – but we all know what is coming our way.

That is why at NB Power, even on blue sky fall days that have set record temperatures, we are working hard to prepare for the winter days ahead. Just as we prepare for the inevitable tough weather events to come, there are many things that you, our customers, can do to be better prepared.

The ice storm of January 2017 was a remarkable event for our province. It was the single biggest weather event that NB Power has experienced in our nearly 100 year history.  It cost more than $30 million and resulted in 600 broken poles, requiring 150 new transformers and 52 kilometres of new distribution lines. At its peak, 133,000 customers were without electricity.

Since this event we have been doing engineering work to strengthen our systems in the Acadian Peninsula and other more vulnerable areas of the province.

In the summer, we put more effort into tree maintenance and have been doing more weather modelling to better prepare for the winter ahead.

Our power lines are built to meet or exceed national standards for the construction of overhead lines.  Many are built to an even higher standard, especially along our coastlines. These standards include weather impact criteria such as ice build-up and wind force based on decades of weather data specific to each region of the country.  

But we also know that we are witnessing a new weather reality in our Province, and NB Power will improve and invest in your grid to ensure it will be able to withstand larger ice loads and stronger winds so that we can deliver power safely and reliably to you. 

We have dedicated the week of Nov. 6-10 as Storm Preparation Week and will be doing a number of outreach programs with our colleagues at the N.B. Emergency Measures Organization, but obviously being diligent and ready for bad weather is a year-round endeavor for us and many of our partners. Last summer for example, lightning and heavy wind events posed particular challenges for our teams and customers in several areas of the province.

There are a number of things you can do to be better prepared. Check the service entrance to your home to make sure there are no trees near it which could result in damage to it in heavy winds. Make sure we have your current contact information. Always have a corded phone in your house or a fully charged cell phone. If you have medical equipment that required power to operate, make sure we know about it.

Have an emergency kit ready with a flashlight, first aid kit, cash, and battery powered radio to stay informed of restoration efforts or other important information.

Visit our web site to learn more about storm preparedness and obtain tips on other ways you can be better prepared.

As we move ever closer to winter, I want to personally thank you, our customers, for your patience, support and perseverance as we learn, understand and prepare for the impact of future storms.

We will always work hard to improve reliability and strengthen our distribution systems and we thank you for working with us as we move forward to meet the challenges in the months ahead.

Above all, your safety and comfort is vitally important to us – as is your trust.  We will continue to work towards improvements each and every day to maintain that trust. 

Gaëtan Thomas

President and CEO

NB Power

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