Crews in MI ready to help with hurricane relief

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WALKER, Mich. (WOOD) — Crews from around the state are staged and ready to head south to assist in Hurricane Dorian relief

The problem is they don’t know exactly where they’ll be needed. 

Roger Morgenstern of Consumers Energy says 75 lineworkers are staged in Jackson, waiting to be told where to go.

“That’s the thing with these hurricanes,” Morgenstern said. “It’s a little bit of hurry up and wait — the cone of uncertainty. It’s just trying to see what Mother Nature’s going to do and where, but we are ready.”

Morgenstern explains that it’s common for electrical companies to “borrow” crews and trucks from each other under excruciating circumstances.

“Back in July, when we had a big storm, we had crews from six states come up here to help us,” Morgenstern said. “It’s our turn now to go help them. We feel we have an obligation to help them in their time of need.”

Consumers had been originally slated to head to Florida as early as noon Saturday, but an updated forecast model has Dorian completely missing the Florida coast.

“We are remaining in close contact with Florida Power & Light as they track the storm,” Morgenstern said. “At this time, we could also end up in Georgia if they call for mutual aid. If we don’t have something from Georgia Power or another utility by Sunday morning, we will demobilize and head home.”

Another crew built of firefighters, structural engineers, doctors and other volunteers left Saturday morning from Holly. 

Walker Fire Department Lt. Dean England was with them.

“We are part of a state team,” England said. “We train every month for things like this. I went down two years ago to help with (Hurricane) Irma and we rescued 45 people and about 46 cats, dogs and one rooster.”

England’s team of about 75 is still staged. They are no longer bound for Florida, but now maybe the Carolinas if need be. 

“This hurricane is very unpredictable. They don’t know exactly which path it’s going to take,” he said. “If we are needed, basically it’s no different than working in the streets of the city of Walker. You’re there to help people out on what could be the worst day of their lives.”

Both crews will know where, and if, they will be sent in the coming hours and more accurate forecast models are made.

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