SARASOTA COUNTY - Hundreds of trucks and crews are pre-positioning at the Sarasota Fairground staging site preparing for response as Hurricane Ian nears the Suncoast. 

“We have our plans in place and we are ready to respond for our customers and we are encouraging our customers to have those final preparations in place," said FPL Spokesperson, Jack Eble. 

Severe weather, including heavy rain, flooding and high winds, is expected to cause widespread outages throughout Florida’s western and northern peninsula over the next few days.

“What you see behind me is a staging site we have these strategically located around the state these are locations that we feel will see some of the hardest impacts from hurricane Ian and we strategically locate these crews so they are ready to go to restore power as safely and as quickly as possible as soon as it is safe to do so," said Eble. 

The staging site is part of FPL’s 16,000 restoration workforce in response to Hurricane Ian.  

“Make sure that if you have life dependent devices that require electricity that you have a plan for that, make sure you have those plans in place, and if you are planning on using a generator, get the understanding of the manual now, never operate near any openings like a window or a door, just make sure that you have your final plans in place," said Eble. 

FPL officials remind customers there is no need to call if you are experiencing an outage.

“Our smart grid devices will tell us where the outages are occurring at this point, we encourage our customers to call 911 and 1-800-4 outage if they see a downed powerline at anywhere in this outage so at this point we really want out customers to keep safety at top of mind and have those final plans in place," said Eble. 

FPL crews want to remind customers that winds speeds will need to be below 35 mph for crews to able to safely raise a bucket truck and storm surge could serve challenges for the crews, so patience is key.