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“You’re not a lineman if you don’t live for storm work,” OG&E crews head to East Coast before arrival of Hurricane Florence

OKLAHOMA CITY - As the East Coast braces for Hurricane Florence, some Oklahomans are headed to one of the areas expected to be hit the hardest.

Tuesday, linemen from OG&E said goodbye to their loved ones and hit the road for North Carolina. It's a long trip involving 42 trucks and 79 volunteers not knowing what lies ahead.

"We know a final destination is all we really know right now," said storm lead Kenny McKinzie.

That destination - Raleigh, North Carolina - which is expected to be in the eye of Hurricane Florence.

The brave linemen getting there before the storm hits.

"We're kind of there from the word 'Go,'" McKinzie said. "Instead of kind of trying to get through the aftermath, we're there on-site."

OG&E is no stranger to missions like this; most recently, they were on the scene in Puerto Rico, helping restore power in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Missions like these are made possible through mutual assistance groups.

The volunteers - happy to help, as Oklahoma is no stranger to the effects of natural disasters.

"We go help them, they go help us, that's how it works, you know," McKinzie said. "It's labor for labor."

McKinzie said officials will make assessments, hold safety orientations and then work will be distributed throughout the volunteers.

"It's a lot of the work we do on a day-to-day basis; it's just on a different scale during the storm," he said.

So, what's it like leaving your family and heading into the eye of the storm?

"There's always a little bit of nerves, you know," McKinzie said. "You have a lot of responsibility with this group of people and their families, and you take all of that into consideration and of course the work. You don't know what you're going into."

But, McKinzie said all those nerves go away when the mission begins.

"You're not a lineman if you don't live for storm work. We take a lot of pride in what we do," he said.

OG&E's assistance was requested by Duke Energy.

The group is expected to arrive in Raleigh by Wednesday evening.

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