Wisconsin lineworkers heading to Florida to help hurricane recovery

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. — Hurricane Ian is set to make landfall in Florida this week, bringing devastating winds, rain and flooding. Wisconsin workers are stepping up to help the area recover.

Municipal Electric Utilities of Wisconsin put together a mutual aid crew to help electrical crews in Kissimmee, Fla. The crew is made up of at least 40 lineworkers from 22 communities across Wisconsin. MEUW will also send a fleet of bucket trucks, digger derricks and other equipment to help Florida recover.

Two of the linemen will come from Sun Prairie Utilities.

“(It) could be a range of doing linework, could be doing tree clearance, so obviously the trees come down, and the winds take the lines down themselves, so it could be replacing poles, restringing wire that’s come down,” Rick Wicklund, Sun Prairie Utilities’ utilities manager, said.

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The crew will head south on Thursday morning, using Chattanooga, Tenn. as a staging area. The workers will stay in Florida for 10-14 days.

“If you just sit and think about if it was your own community, and if Sun Prairie was totally without power, we have eight linesmen, it would take a lot more people than that to restore everything,” Wicklund said.

This isn’t the first time that Wisconsin has sent help to the Sunshine State. MEUW crews supported Florida’s east coast following Hurricane Irma five years ago.