(WJBK) - Hundreds from DTE Energy are making their way down to Florida to help with the expected damage from Hurricane Irma. There hundred linemen from DTE and its contractors, plus 100 tree trimmers, are on their way right now.
The crew is expected to arrive in north Florida by Friday afternoon, where they will wait on standby until they are needed.
"They told to pack for two weeks. I've experienced Katrina, and if its gonna be that bad, it'll be longer," says Sid Kinnard. "We're prepared we'll make due once we get there." He's has been dispatched to his fair share of natural disaters during his 35 plus years with DTE Energy.
On Thursday morning, he was among those who headed to Florida before Hurricane Irma hits so they are there when the need arises.
"It feels great to be able to give back to other utilites in times of need. During our March windstorm, we were the recipients of a lot of help and, absent that help, the situation for our customers would've been a lot different than they actually were. So, for us being able to return the favor is something we really embrace," says Brian Calk, DTE Director of Service Operations.
While most everyone else is traveling north, away from Hurricane Irma's devastating winds and heavy rains that have already hammered several Carribean islands, these DTE crews are going towards her and her wrath.
They'll be on standby in the northern part of the state. Their next move dependent on what Hurricane Irma dishes out, and where.
"We just need to make sure safety, safety, safety. We all take care of each other 200 percent, accountable for each other. So, that's our most important objective out here when we go work out of town," says Kinnard.
The lineman and tree trimmers are willing to work 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, for how ever long it takes to get the lights back on. They say they were born to do this and take pride in it.
DTE Energy says it also offered to send a crew to Texas after Hurricane Harvey, but they were told the crew was not needed.