PIQUA — Linemen from the Piqua Municipal Power System are heading to Florida to provide mutual aid in restoring power from storm damage due to Hurricane Irma as of Tuesday morning.
“Our guys were staged in Georgia over the weekend,” Ed Krieger, director of the Piqua Power System, said on Tuesday. “We’ve got four guys heading down.”
The Piqua linemen responding to Florida include crew leaders Kevin Grinstead and Justin Foutz and journeymen Dan Cline and Don Nash. They are part of a team of line workers from Tipp City, Hamilton, Piqua, St. Mary’s, and Celina, Krieger said.
On Tuesday morning, the Piqua linemen started heading into Florida to Homestead, Fla. They and other line workers responding to the relief effort will be spending at least 10 days in Florida.
There are over 50,000 line workers heading to Florida as a part of the relief effort, Krieger said. Krieger explained that with big disaster events like Hurricane Irma, municipalities help municipalities in other areas. This is through a mutual aid network via the American Public Power System — which includes over 2,000 electric power systems across the nation, such as American Municipal Power (AMP), of which the Piqua Power System is a member — and part of what they do is coordinate large mutual aid efforts, Krieger said. He added that there is also a team of other AMP members on their way to Tallahassee, Fla.
“We’ve always been a part of mutual aid,” Krieger said. “It’s volunteer.”
Regarding the Piqua linemen who volunteer, Krieger said, “They’ve always stepped up.”
Piqua linemen have responded to West Virginia and Kentucky before to provide mutual aid, and this is their first time responding to Florida.
“We have very skilled and trained linemen. They’re in good hands,” Krieger said.
Krieger expects that the damage from the hurricane is currently being evaluated, but he said that Homestead, Fla. appears ready to host aid workers like the local linemen.
“It’s exciting, and we’ll stay in contact with them,” Krieger said.
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