Lights On

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Whitney Lambert
  • 4TH Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Ever wonder why the lights come on when you turn on a switch? What would happen if they didn't?

Many people take electricity for granted as long as the lights are on and the coffee is hot. The job of the 4th Civil Engineer Squadron electricians is to ensure the power is always on and no one is left in the dark. Sometimes that job is easier said than done.

Air Force electricians are responsible for many aspects of the electrical systems on an Air Force installation. They install and maintain overhead and underground electrical distribution system components such as transformers, high-voltage fuses and switch gear. Electrical systems personnel also inspect overhead and underground power lines and poles for pest damage, deterioration and loose hardware. The goal is to maintain an uninterrupted supply of electricity to base facilities and housing areas.

"It's great being needed," said Senior Airman Ian McLeod, 4th CES electrical systems journeyman and a native of Mt. Vernon, Ore.

The electrical shop also ensures streetlights, security lighting and traffic system controls function properly. One of the most important roles of an Air Force electrician is inspecting, maintaining and repairing fixed and portable airfield lighting systems including the runway, threshold, approach, taxiway, visual glide slope, obstruction and distance marker lights. Base electricians also play a large role in fire prevention by installing, maintaining and repairing fire alarms, smoke and heat detectors.

"We are rapidly deployable combat-ready engineers who learn new things everyday because it is never the same problem," said Airman 1st Class Lawrence Broaden, 4th CES electrical systems journeyman and a native of Detroit.

Electricians are versatile. They familiarize themselves with manufacturer installation, operating instructions and technical orders for all equipment. They must also understand blue prints, layout drawings, schematics, wiring diagrams, using meters, test devices, indicators and locating equipment to diagnose malfunctions and faults and perform the necessary repair procedures. Electricity can be a very dangerous business.

"Knowledge is everything to be successful," said Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey Mooney, 4th CES electrical systems craftsman and a native of Dayton.

Electrical shop personnel must maintain proficiency in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, first aid, pole top rescue, aerial lift rescue, confined space training and manhole rescue. Compliance with safety and environmental regulations and practices, the National Electric Code, and National Fire Protection Association standards must also be adhered to at all times.

An electrician does more than just turn the lights on and off. They are knowledgeable of all their equipment, life saving skills and combat ready at all times. For any assistance, contact the 4th CES electrical shop at (919) 722-5122.