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Florida Power and Light prepares for hurricanes

Pompano Park is one of approximately 100 designated staging sites strategically located across the state to serve as critical resource centres

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Pompano Park is one of the staging sites designed to operate like a mini city
Pompano Park is one of the staging sites designed to operate like a mini city

As part of its storm season preparations, Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) hosted a week-long “staging site” training which involved use of advanced technology and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

 

More than 1,200 employees trained for what would be a massive logistical response to a major hurricane, including the deployment of thousands of workers, equipment and the use of drones to more quickly survey the damage.

 

The exercise was conducted at Pompano Park Racetrack in Pompano Beach, Florida.

 

During the week’s training, FPL employees participated in damage briefings and performed assessments of equipment. FPL also demonstrated how technology plays an important part in surveying equipment and speeding restoration efforts.

 

Critical to the restoration process following Hurricane Matthew, last year, FPL deployed UAS more than 130 times to quickly survey storm damage in areas that were otherwise inaccessible or unsafe in the storm’s immediate aftermath.

 

“This week’s staging site training is yet another visible demonstration of how FPL prepares year-round to safely and quickly restore power when a major event, such as a hurricane, impacts our customers’ lives,” said Manny Miranda, senior vice president of power delivery for FPL. “This is one of the many ways our employees train for storm season, using a hands-on experience to test our power restoration plans.”

 

Pompano Park is one of approximately 100 designated staging sites strategically located across the state to serve as critical resource centres to move crews and equipment closer to areas hit hardest after a major storm. Staging sites operate like mini-cities; they offer hundreds of crew members a place to rest, eat, refuel and stock up on supplies as they work safely and quickly to restore customers’ service and help get communities back to normal.

 

During Hurricane Matthew, for example, FPL opened 26 staging sites and supporting centres to direct its nearly 15,000-member restoration crew – the largest pre-staging effort of its kind in the company’s history – to speed the restoration process. FPL restored nearly 99 per cent of customers affected by Hurricane Matthew by the end of two full days of restoration following the hurricane’s exit from its service area.

 

“We all must safeguard against complacency, particularly where it concerns hurricanes,” added Miranda. “At FPL, we’ve worked hard to put ourselves in the best possible position to respond to severe weather and we never stop working to improve.

 

“While we have made significant investments in our electric system, we know there still will be power outages following a major storm. Just as we continue to prepare and plan, we encourage our customers to do the same – make a storm plan now for their families and businesses.”

 

 

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