115 trucks from Rochester are delivering storm support equipment to Central Florida
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Right now, Floridians are bracing for a monster storm bearing down on the Sunshine State. As Hurricane Ian approaches Central Florida, so are hundreds of power line, and utilities professionals from Rochester’s O’Connell Electric.
News10NBC talked to them about the task they face once they arrive. O’Connell Electric already sent their first wave of employees on Sunday, and the second wave left earlier on Tuesday.
See more of our coverage:
- Florida resident, and meteorologist’s sister, talks about how she’s preparing for Hurricane Ian
- Former East Rochester man staying put in Florida and bracing for Hurricane Ian
- First Alert Weather In-Depth: Storm Surge From Hurricane Ian
“It’s really an effort to compliment the resources that they already have there with other qualified resources from throughout the country,” said Vice President David Emmi.
A convoy of trucks with all the equipment needed to provide storm support is heading to Central Florida. Emmi is sending 330 employees from all around the state. 155 of them from Rochester.
“So our crews will be performing overhead line construction, and restoration activities as well as providing the tree trimming vegetation management to clear all those down trees out of the way,” said Emmi.
He says the crews will work 16 hour shifts during the day, and staggered hours at night. They will also face some challenges.
“The life once they get out on storm is challenging you now. They don’t always have beds to sleep in. A lot of times they sleep in their trucks, but the utilities do a really good job trying to accommodate them to make sure everybody’ is rested up every day, and ready to go to work,” said Emmi.
Vegetation Manager Jason Borden is one of the drivers who will be on the road for the next 2 days. He says each deployment he’s been on has been different.
“This one we’ve had a day, or two to think about it. So you actually have time to pack, and get everything packed that you want to take with you. When it’s spur of the moment, then it’s a little more hectic,” said Borden.
The tough part, saying goodbye to family. Crews can be away from home for weeks, or even months.
“We have a duty as an electric contractor that works in the public utility space to go and support public utilities when they need it. Our utility customers here, and our utility customers in the southeast have that obligation to the rate payer, and we support them in that. So they’re not volunteers. They’re getting paid to go do this job,” said Emmi.
Crews from O’Connell Electric have helped to restore power after storms that hit places like Texas, Louisiana, and all up and down the east coast.