Versatile Emergency Lighting Vital to Utility Crews

A variety of advanced task lighting options can significantly improve the safety and efficiency of utility crews and first responders during outages and disasters
By Del Williams

When natural disasters occur, linemen and work crews must have sufficient lighting to
clear debris, fix power lines, construct new towers, and restore electric service at night or in low
light conditions. Other first responders may have to perform search and rescue operations under
similar circumstances, or battle fires in smoke obscured settings.

Fortunately, a variety of advanced headlamps are available that provide versatile, long-
lasting task lighting to work safely and efficiently, regardless of the environment or conditions.
These headlamps offer powerful user-directed illumination combined with dimming capability,
options on battery type, extended burn times, and those that increase visibility.

Headlamps with Rechargeable Batteries – Inspecting and repairing miles of downed
power lines after a large natural disaster often involves traveling to remote areas. The same can
be true with firefighting, search and rescue operations, and other first responder actions. In all
these cases, linemen and responders may be far from replacement batteries.

Even when work crews have replacement batteries in their vehicles, having a headlamp
with batteries that can be easily recharged in the field and positioned as needed can be important. For example, the Apex headlamp by Princeton Tec mounts onto a hard hat and provides either a powerful spot beam or a bright flood light, utilizing a remote, rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack. The battery pack clips to the head strap or can be moved to the user’s belt or pack with an extended power cable. Batteries are rechargeable through a standard USB cord adapter, so can be plugged into work vehicles during a break or at the end of a shift.

In addition, the headlamp is dimmable, which conserves battery life and extends burn
time. When a lineman appropriately dims a headlamp to adjust it to the surroundings it also
minimizes “blowback,” which is excess light reflected from illuminated surfaces that can
temporarily blind the viewer.

Headlamps that Increase Visibility – In areas with vehicle traffic or where construction
machinery is in operation, increasing the visibility of linemen, work crews, and first responders
can be critical. The same is true when environmental conditions obscure visibility, such as heavy
snow flurries, fog, or when fighting fires.

Besides having personnel wear reflective clothing, work crews can utilize headlamps that
increase visibility. The EOS 360 hardhat lighting system from Princeton Tec provides a hands-
free task headlamp along with a helmet-mounted LED band that can be a constant on or strobe,
and a reflective band for 360° visibility. This can improve safety when there is not enough light
being reflected from a fluorescent vest.

With power outages and disasters seemingly increasing, tools that enhance the ability of
linemen and first responders to safely do their jobs are essential. To this end, utilizing various
task lighting solutions can improve operator effectiveness in the field and facilitate swift power
restoration and recovery.

For more information, visit

Del Williams is a technical writer based in Torrance, California.

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