Posted: Saturday, September 7, 2019 12:00 am
While others were at home, enjoying a long holiday weekend, Kerrville Public Utility Board linemen were doing what they know how to do best—responding to those in need of power. But this time, the storm and people in need are just a little farther away.
The American Public Power Association coordinates a mutual aid program for more than 2,000 public power utilities to respond to widespread outages. APPA issued a call for reinforcements out to other public power utilities this past week due to Hurricane Dorian.
While the projected hurricane path shifted on Saturday from possibly making a direct landfall in Florida, it could still cause major problems and large power outages for the state with high-speed winds and devastating flooding in areas.
Florida is bracing themselves for the impact from Dorian with 33 public utilities in the state issuing a call for aid. Line workers from more than 20 states are answering the call and heading to Florida, and KPUB’s team is one of those.
On Sunday morning, seven of KPUB’s linemen and field employees hit the road in the direction of Florida, ready to provide help to the City of New Smyrna Beach, just south of Daytona, as Hurricane Dorian advances its way to the U.S. The hurricane, a slow-moving, devastating category five storm, pummeled the Bahamas on Sunday with sustained winds reaching a catastrophic 185 miles per hour and gusts of up to 220.
“This will be my first time answering a call out-of-state for mutual aid,” said KPUB Lineman Taylor Riley. “I’m hoping for the best for Florida after this storm, but I look forward to helping people in need with linemen from all over the country.”
KPUB responded to help restore power in the City of New Smyrna Beach in September 2017, too, after extreme damages were caused by Hurricane Irma, and received a national commendation award from APPA for its efforts in mutual aid.
“It’s a brotherhood in this line of work—no matter where you are from, at the end of the day, we’re all here to help people and restore someone’s power,” said KPUB Crew Leader, David Burley, who responded to New Smyrna Beach in 2017. “The people there in New Smyrna Beach were above and beyond thankful to all of us for getting their power back on, and that makes the entire experience worth it.”
Hurricane Dorian is estimated to be the second most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean and ties the record for the most powerful storm to make landfall, according to the National Weather Service.