LINEMAN'S LINGO: Time to learn your lines


By Chelsea Beauchamp 
Our crews speak a language all their own. Eavesdrop on a bunch of linemen getting ready to restore someone’s power, replace downed power lines or upgrade a transformer high atop a pole and you’ll quickly take note of a lot of lingo. 
Let’s demystify the discourse. Here are a few terms and their meanings, in case you overhear some linemen on the job: 
On the wood: Climbing a pole. 
Tooled up: Wearing all the necessary equipment for a task, including safety gloves, safety goggles, hard hat, gear, tool pouch and ditty bag. 
Ditty bag: A small canvas bag on a lineman’s tool belt where he keeps miscellaneous supplies, such as tape, bolts and other specialized items. It’s worn in addition to a leather tool pouch, where he keeps tools such as Kleins lineman’s pliers/cutters, a speed ratchet, hammer, knife and screwdriver. 
Guts: Yes, that’s what it takes for our guys to safely, quickly climb poles and work on dangerous equipment. But in Bluebonnet linemen’s lingo, guts are 6-foot-long, 8- to 10-pound rubber tubes (some utilities use plastic) that cover exposed power lines to keep the crew safe from accidental contact with energized lines. 
Headache: What a lineman on a pole yells before he drops something from above. In other words, “Get out of the way!” 
Sagging wire/up to sag: Sagging a wire is the action of pulling wire from the ground “up to sag,” which makes the wire of uniform height as it stretches to the next pole. If wires are not pulled up to sag, the top (energized) wire can come into contact with a lower wire, which can result in big, dangerous problems, including outages. 
Let Bluebonnet lineman Kenneth ‘Carrot’ Roush, above, tell you all about the lineman’s lingo in this short video:

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