Some quick thinking by PPL Electric Utilities employees working at a Chester County job site in late July helped get a pregnant traffic control worker medical help after she showed signs of apparent heat-related sickness.
The woman, who works for Flagger Force, was taken to a hospital for treatment and eventually recovered.
The PPL crew “was very considerate and wasted no time assisting our crew member by quickly assessing her condition and calling for the ambulance to assist her,” said Steve Mitrani, assistant manager at Flagger Force’s Harrisburg branch. “Their quick reaction to the situation reflects well on their training.”
Journeyman lineman Craig Lapp, who was among the workers who helped the woman, said a quick call to 911 to request medical assistance was the best decision the crew could have made.
“I’m glad I called when I did,” Lapp said, adding that it took the ambulance about 10 minutes to arrive.
The July 28 medical emergency unfolded about an hour into the pole replacement job.
With one lane closed during the job, Flagger Force had two flaggers on duty. Suddenly, one of the flaggers went rushing to his co-worker, who appeared to be feeling the effects of the temperature, which had reached about 85 degrees.
When PPL workers realized the woman was under some type of duress, they rushed to her aid, eventually putting her into a truck and applying cool towels on her neck.
“My initial thing was to get her out of the heat and get her cooled off,” Lapp said.
It wasn’t long before Lapp found out the woman was about seven weeks pregnant. “Her toes were tingly and her hands were tingly,” Lapp said. “I said, ‘I’m going to call an ambulance.’ ”
The situation drove home the importance of taking proper safety precautions. Following the incident, PPL and Flagger Force agreed to work together to improve communications by providing PPL crews with a flagger crew radio, a change that may help PPL employees respond more quickly to flagger-related emergencies in the future.
Lapp said the bottom line lesson from the incident was to take no medical issue for granted.
“I told the guys that if we ever have someone on our crew that is getting sick, I’m calling 911.”