Tampa Bay area first responders are now in the Carolinas, ready to help out. Others are on their way or leaving soon.
These first responders are going to help the millions in Hurricane Florence’s path.
Members from Lakeland fire and police departments are already on the ground in the Carolinas. They are part of a team from Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Hillsborough counties helping run emergency operations in the Carolinas.
“The decision makers, they get fatigued, they get tired. They’re humans just like all of us and they need relief, so our people actually provide that support and relief,” Lakeland Fire Department’s Assistant Chief of Operations Michael Williams said.
“Fortunately, Florida has many trained people in this because we experience the hurricanes and disasters so were often used for that expertise.”
Power crews from Lakeland Electric are gearing up to go after the storm hits.
“During Hurricane Irma, Lakeland Electric had over 500 Utilities here helping restore out power. One of which was in South Carolina. So we’ve been asked to help them now,” Assistant General Manager of Energy Delivery for Lakeland Electric Joey Curry said.
“Based on the storm path, projection, severity and flooding is going to be the biggest thing they face, we’re protecting our crews will be gone two to three weeks.”
“Usually it’s a lot of tree damage, a lot of wires down, broken poles, so the biggest thing is safety,” Lakeland Electric Line Crew Supervisor Paul Page told WFLA.
Page is one of 18 linemen who will head to Conway, South Carolina to help in power restoration efforts.
They’ll be working in extreme heat and other dangerous conditions.
Page said it’s never easy leaving home.
“They hate to see you go but they understand that it’s all about helping the people in need.”
But these crews are always ready to answer the call.
“It’s a gratifying thing even here at home, getting people’s power back on, because there’s some pretty big smiles when that happens,” Page said.
Lakeland Electric will be sending four line crews and two supervisors for a total of 18 linemen, as well as four line trucks and three service trucks.
They will be assisting Santee Cooper in South Carolina.
Departure time is expected to be 6 a.m. Saturday.
They will be traveling with Gainesville Regional Utilities, City of Tallahassee Utilities and Jacksonville Electric Authority.
The utilities plan is to fuel up their trucks in Jacksonville and then proceed to Myrtle Beach together, arriving late Saturday. This will allow crews to start restoration efforts Sunday morning.