Two construction crews from Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation will be involved in Hurricane Florence relief efforts.
The crews responded on Friday to Burgaw, North Carolina to help Four County Electric with power restoration efforts.
UCEMC General Manager Jimmy Gregory said about 22,000 people have already lost power in that area.
“We are going to assist in what would probably be an impossible effort for their crews to restore that power,” Gregory said. “Hopefully the restoration efforts won’t take too long.”
The team of 11 will join more than 80 line workers from co-ops across the state who are heading to North Carolina. UCEMC will be taking eight pieces of equipment to the East coast.
“That’s well in excess of $1 million dollars in equipment heading out to North Carolina,” Gregory said.
This will the fourth disaster that lineman Jarman Hicks has responded to for UCEMC. The Livingston resident said it’s a very trying time for everyone involved.
“There’s a lot of things that go through your mind. You have to worry about the safety of not only yourself but your co-workers as well,” Hicks said. “You’re dealing with terrain you’ve never been to and structures you have never seen before. Your dealing with people who have just been through a horrific incident.”
The team will work 16 hours a day in extreme conditions to make sure police have communications and hospitals have power. Hicks said it’s a very humbling experience.
“When you go look at someone who has just lost everything and you are there to help and they are more than proud that you’re there, it’s very humbling,” Hicks said. “We just want to return safe and we appreciate the opportunity to go help these folks.”
Gregory said he will have some very stressful and sleepless nights until his workers return home.
“Our number one priority is that all of our employees return to their families safely,” Gregory said. “It always seems like there’s an accident or two that happens during a major event like this and we hope it doesn’t happen this time.”
The town of Burgaw is about 25-miles West of Wilmington, North Carolina. Four County Electric serves about 32,500 customers in six counties.