Local electric company sends 300 workers to get power back to Florida after Hurricane Ian

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – O’Connell Electric deployed over 300 people to help restore power in Florida.

“There’s about 42,000 linemen and tree trimmers in Florida right now that have responded to the hurricane,” David Emmi said, the vice president of power group for O’Connell Electric.

Crews are working 16 hour days if not more. They’ve only been in Florida for a couple days, and could be there for weeks.

“They’re used to packing up and leaving their families for weeks on end, not knowing if they have to sleep in the cab of the truck or if they’re going to have a bed,” Emmi said.

That’s the reality for utility workers, traveling cross country to help pick up the pieces during and after ferocious storms like Ian.

O’Connell Electric in Rochester has about 300 members battling power lines and downed trees.

“Initially we were in Daytona Beach and that was right in the middle of the path of the hurricane, ” said Emmi.

The O’Connell Electric crews have other challenges to navigate in order to do the job, other than just working outside in severe weather.

“Roadways being blocked by water or debris, and secondly, is accommodations so there is very limited hotels as you can imagine.”

Emmi says care packages are sent as often as possible, and the crew has a safety team to help with possible exhaustion.

“So we don’t have a fatigued workforce on our hands, that for our safety team, is critically important for our safety team to manage, because you don’t want people overtired doing dangerous work.”

The crews will stay in Florida until all power is up and running again. By the end of the deployment, their team alone could easily help restore power to about 9,000 people.