Sand Mountain Electric sends personnel to help with hurricane
October 12, 2016 Share

Sand Mountain Electric sends personnel to help with hurricane

PHOTO: Eight personnel from Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative, who were originally bound for Florida, arrived in South Carolina on Sunday to help with damage caused by Hurricane Matthew. (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch)

By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor

tyler@southerntorch.com

RAINSVILLE, Ala. — Earlier this week, Hurricane Matthew recently became the first Category 5 Atlantic storm since Felix in 2007, according to the National Weather Service. At the time of print, 38 deaths have already been attributed to this storm in the United States.

Even though the storm has passed, flooding continues in states along the eastern coast, and millions are still without power. In South Carolina, eight men from Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative (SMEC) answered the call to help a fellow co-op.

 

Hurricane Matthew is the first Atlantic hurricane to reach Category 5 status since 2007. (NASA | Wikipedia.com)

Hurricane Matthew is the first Atlantic hurricane to reach Category 5 status since 2007. (NASA | Wikipedia.com)

SMEC had already dispatched an eight-man team to Florida in anticipation of the damage in that state. After Matthew made landfall, the local co-op assessed that enough personnel were already on-site and sent the team back.

Early Sunday morning, however, the plans changed again, according to SMEC General Manager Mike Simpson.

“We got a call early on Sunday morning requesting help in South Carolina, so we got the same eight guys, we already had everything lined up and most of them hadn’t even unpacked because they expected to be going to help,” said Simpson.

“They left Sunday morning and arrived that night, and should be already working by this morning (Monday),” he said.

When asked what the crews would be assisting with, Simpson said, “They’ll be fixing downed lines and replacing broken poles.”

“They went to Santee Electric Cooperative which is just south of Charleston, almost right on the coast,” Simpson said.

According to Simpson, the local co-op in South Carolina stated this was the most damage and most people without power since Hurricane Hugo, and possibly even more. On Tuesday, a Federal State of Emergency was declared in the state.

After the 2011 tornadoes, which created havoc on Sand Mountain, SMEC received much needed assistance from all over the south.

“After the tornado, we had crews here from South Carolina, Kentucky, Louisiana, and other parts of Alabama. We had around 325 men and 160 big trucks here,” said Simpson.  

“We have a mutual aid agreement with other co-ops across the country. If you have a major storm or a major catastrophe, with a phone call we can get as many crews and help here as we can coordinate, keep material for, and keep working,” explained Simpson.

“As a general rule, in return, we do the same thing,” he added.   

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