Crews brave frigid temperatures to restore power in New River Valley

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PULASKI, Va. (WDBJ7) The frigid temperatures are no match for power crews who work outside.

Appalachian Power linemen in the New River Valley spent much of the Thursday working to restore power.

It's what they signed up for, and they came prepared for the weather.

"We're extremely busy," said Bubba Smith, a line mechanic for Appalachian Power. "We don't want anybody in the cold."

No matter what the temperature reads, if power is out, then a team of dedicated linemen is working to restore it.

Calls came in early Thursday morning reporting power outages. Bubba Smith and his crew threw on layers of clothes and responded.

"Right now we're chasing the line, trying to figure out who's out and who's not," Smith said.

They're no stranger to doing their job in freezing weather. They have a plan to limit their time outside. The team divides work between each lineman in shifts.

"We'll work 15 to 20 minutes at a time maybe even up to even 30 just depends on these winds. Once we get cold we just come up out of the bucket or shooting a fuse in or whatever we're doing and look at our buddy and tell him obviously we need to warm up a little bit and our buddies take over," Smith said.

Working in the chilly weather is worse than the summer heat, they say, because of the restraints of their extra layers and protective gear, not to mention the bone-chilling wind. But you won't hear complaints from the team.

"It can be extreme at times but in line work we took an oath to take care of the line and we are our brother's keeper so we just take care of each other and work in shifts," Smith said.