Back-to-back deadly storms have a way of bringing families together, whether they’re related by blood, or share a bond based on their work as first responders.
After Harvey and Irma, first responders traveled from all over the country to help their brothers and sisters in areas impacted by the storms. They included medical personal, and even energy crews. Just a few days after Austin Energy helped colleagues on the Gulf Coast get power back, post-Harvey, they headed to Florida to lend a hand.
Jeff Bradford, a superintendent with Austin Energy, is among them.
Bradford says it took his team two days to travel to Florida. He immediately noticed a large amount of tree damage and issues with electrical lines. Austin Energy is working with crews from JA, the Jacksonville, Florida utility. The two teams are helping restore the city’s power.
“This nation is a community when it comes to line work,” Bradford says. “Just like when Harvey impacted the Gulf Coast, there were lots of resources.”
Bradford believes that seeing the damage Harvey did helped Florida residents understand the importance of evacuating, and putting safety first during Hurricane Irma.
“The customers have been very, very grateful,” Bradford says. “A lot of people can’t understand the type of impact [a hurricane] can have on the electrical infrastructure…It’s critical to have your power up.”
Bradford says many people don’t understand what it’s like to be without power for such a long period of time. He predicts it will be more than a week before Jacksonville’s power is fully restored. He plans to stay in Florida for another five to seven days.
Written by Dani Matias.