BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) – It’s a trip these linemen don’t mind making anytime they’re able to help out.
“They’ve returned the favor to us many times, like Hurricane Sally. They came down and helped us and you just got to think about that. Those guys are out there working right beside you even though they don’t have power at their house. That’s a big respect for all of us. It’s a brotherhood. We’re there to help them and that’s what keeps us going,” said Riviera Utilities Lead Lineman Ryan Moreno.
Moreno is traveling with 20 crewmen from Riviera Utilities headed east to Gainesville, Fla. Tuesday, preparing to work 16 hour days if needed once Hurricane Idalia moves across the state.
“We’re going to stay hydrated and work as safe as we can. That’s the biggest thing is keep everybody safe and bring everybody home,” he explained.
Fairhope Public Utilities crews are also leaving Tuesday for Gainesville. A line crew, mechanics and a tree crew are ready to restore power if the strong winds bring down lines and snap trees.
“In a situation like this when you sometimes have a lot of debris a lot of stuff could be tangled up together, there could be trip hazards, there could be fall hazards,” said Riviera Utilities Chief Electric Engineer Scott Sligh.
He says these crews are trained to work in extreme conditions, but they’ll only go out once the winds die down.
“We’ve got wind ratings on the bucket trucks which is 35 mph that you don’t need to be in a bucket above that wind rating. You don’t want to work in lightning,” Sligh said.
Riviera Utilities COO, James Wallace, says once the crews arrive they’ll get all the rest they can before the tough work begins.
“We’ll be on site throughout the night and then first thing in the morning we’ll get up and start to work,” Wallace said.
The crews could be gone for about a week depending on the storm’s impact.