MENLO PARK (KPIX) — As Hurricane Irma barrels toward Florida and evacuations continue, crews from across the Bay Area and Northern California were headed into the storm zone.
“It’s what we do, we’re storm soldiers, we’re here to help,” said Todd Steichen, a PG&E supervisor.
Steichen is part of a team of 100 linemen, engineers, and supervisors heading to Florida to help repair power lines Irma brings down, and get the lights back on.
The crews drove on eerily-empty roads into Riviera Beach, Florida to get their gear ready Saturday.
“We have our batteries charging,” said Steichen. “When the rest of our equipment and tools that we shipped by ground get here, we have to load those on the trucks, and we’ll be able to get to work on storm restoration as soon as the storm is passed and it’s safe to get to work.”
Crews from California Task Force 4 out of Oakland and Task Force 3 from Menlo Park Fire Department were also heading toward Florida.
Task force 4 made it to Moody Air Force Base in Georgia, that’s just north of the Florida state line.
The East Bay firefighters were staging there and checking their gear to make sure everything is ready to go.
One hundred Air National Guardsmen from 129th Rescue Wing in Silicon Valley were also in Florida.
Their main mission will be rescues by boat and by air. They used C-130s to fly out two helicopters with the crews.
Florida Power and Light is footing the bill for the PG&E crews responding to help. The California-based Task Force Teams are paid for by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).