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{mosimage}October 29-- Altamaha EMC lineman load their bucket trucks with supplies and equipment late Saturday night.  They departed Sunday morning for Maryland where they will assist with power restoration efforts following Hurricane Sandy.  Pictured (L-R) are:  Raymond Strickland, Frank Stokes, Dennis Morris, Jesse Lowther and Wil Ledford.

Their assignment is to help crews at Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) repair the damages after the storm passes through the area.  SMECO serves over 152,000 members in 4 Maryland counties:  Prince George’s, Charles, St. Mary’s and Calvert.  A crew from Altamaha EMC aided SMECO in August of 2011 following Hurricane Irene.

In addition to the 5 linemen from Altamaha, approximately 85 electric linemen and a large contingent of equipment from 11 electric cooperatives in Georgia are also headed to Maryland.  Some crews departed for the long journey as early as Saturday morning.  EMCs participating in the effort at this time are:  Altamaha EMC in Lyons, Carroll EMC in Carrollton, Central Georgia EMC in Jackson, Flint Energies in Reynolds, Irwin EMC in Ocilla, Jackson EMC in Jefferson, Middle Georgia EMC in Vienna, Mitchell EMC in Camilla, Snapping Shoals EMC in Covington, Southern Rivers in Barnesville and Tri-County EMC in Gray. 

According to Tammye Vaughn, Marketing & Communications Manager for Altamaha EMC, Georgia’s EMCs have been in constant contact with electric cooperatives in the path of Hurricane Sandy.  “It took just one phone call from Maryland to get our crews and equipment moving in their direction.  Being an electric cooperative means calling upon your neighbors during emergencies.  In the past, we’ve asked for and benefited from the assistance of other cooperatives when we’ve been hit by storms.  It is our duty and privilege to assist others when needed.”

Jim Wright, Vice-President of Training, Education and Safety for Georgia EMC, also serves as the Statewide Crew Assistance Coordinator for Georgia’s 42 EMCs.  Wright says, “Georgia EMC and other utilities have arranged through the Georgia Department of Public Safety Motor Carrier Compliance Division, to provide for the expedited movement of utility trucks and equipment through Georgia heading to the mid-Atlantic.  In addition to the Georgia crews headed to Maryland, we’ve also had preliminary discussions with several other states and additional crews will move out immediately if we receive their call for help.”

Destructive winds and heavy rainfall are a great threat during hurricanes.  The potential for damage from Hurricane Sandy is even greater since the impacts will extend across a widespread area, blowing electric poles and structures to the ground and knocking trees on power lines, shutting off power to many consumers.

Once in Maryland, the EMCs in Georgia will rely on their extensive experience in restoring power following a variety of weather events, including ice storms, tornadoes and hurricanes.  EMCs are prepared to send additional workers and equipment if more help is needed.