OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Linemen from the Sooner State are heading to New Jersey to help in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaias.
Sixty-five OG&E crew members left before the sun rose this morning – planning to get there by Saturday to help.
It will be a trip like no other for the team as they’re taking COVID-19 precautions while helping with a great need.
After a quick debriefing, 65 crew members got in their trucks and headed off on a long journey to New Jersey.
“These are linemen but today they are professional drivers,” said emergency preparedness manager Mike Douglas.
The two-and-a-half day trip with time to pause for sleep to an area where Tropical Storm Isaias has wrecked havoc.
Power was knocked out to 3 million customers from North Carolina to New England.
OG&E’s team is part of the requested 10,000 linemen from mutual assistance partner companies.
“Yes there are boundaries and yes we’re competitors but in times like this we are there to support each other,” Douglas said.
Crews are expected to be there for 7-10 days repairing power.
OG&E helps in situations like this often but it hasn’t traveled to this area since Hurricane Sandy and with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – it will be a trip like no other.
Linemen will wear face masks and their trucks will be stocked with sanitizer.
“Obviously if there’s work to be done that requires two people safely that’s what they’re going to do but any other time they’re still going to be practicing social distancing,” said OG&E spokesperson Gayle Maxwell.
Linemen will continue daily online COVID-19 screenings and temperature checks.
Times are tough and the work is hard, but these crews are committed to helping when their name is called.
“This is what we do in the industry, utilities work together,” said Douglas.
Their hope is to complete orientation and begin work on Saturday.
If anyone has to quarantine during or after travel, OG&E has a contingency plan in place.
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