SARASOTA- A second wave of Florida Power & Light restoration crews headed out to Jacksonville early Thursday morning after Hurricane Michael.
Crews came from all over the U.S. to lend a hand when devastation struck the Suncoast, one year ago. Irma left millions without power.
“Any storm that impacts us in one part of the state or another, impacts us all and we move our resources, we move our lives to be able to get our communities, our customers, our neighbors, back to normal,” said Jose Labrador, Associate Technical Specialist, Manasota FPL.
More than 20,000 FPL employees and contractors were called to the Suncoast after Hurricane Irma. Now, FPL Manasota crews return the favor to neighbors in the Florida panhandle.
Labrador said, “The first wave is a group right now of about 3,000 employees, men and women; FPL employees and contractors. Boots in the ground that have been deployed before landfall, being able to respond just as it’s safe to do so.”
A second wave of 15 workers and 7 vehicles was sent out Thursday.
“They’re going to be going to heading over to Nassau (county), one of the three staging areas to respond to those affected by Hurricane Michael,” said Labrador.
More than 332,000 outages are projected so far…FPL Reliability Engineer, Joshua Whitaker, expects the worst.
“Based on the preliminary pictures and the estimates I’ve seen, it’s catastrophic damage, a lot of trees, a lot of wires down,” he said.
It all comes down to preparation; working together as a network.
“We’re looking at everything from logistics, to making sure they have the proper fuel, proper equipment, so when our crew are going out there, they have proper tools and resources that they need,” Labrador said.
Employees are working around the clock, facing potentially life–threatening dangers.
“When you’re needed in these times, you try to step up and help your family. I expect a very long tough, tough restoration for us. But we’re ready for the challenge,” Whitaker said.
FPL Manasota crews are slated to stay in the area for 2 weeks.
If you have a question about getting in touch with a loved one in the panhandle, state officials do have an online form you can fill out… to check on their welfare.
Here’s a link to the form to fill out.