Utility crews work on damaged power lines in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy in Berlin, Md. on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
LAWRENCEVILLE -- Several hundred Georgians from local electric cooperatives and the Atlanta Red Cross have traveled to the Northeast to help with Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.
Two Jackson EMC crews, with personnel from Lawrenceville, Oakwood and Jefferson, left on Saturday to support storm restoration efforts in Hughesville, Md. About 20 Jackson EMC linemen were deployed, and joined 110 other Georgia electric cooperatives to assist the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, said Mark Owen, Jackson EMC Public Relations Representative.
Georgia Power spokesman John Kraft said his company sent 340 employees, including some from Gwinnett, in three segments to help with the efforts in Maryland and Pennsylvania. The first two left on Sunday and Monday, and a third request was made to send more support on Tuesday. Kraft said crews expect to stay a week or two, and this was a more significant response than when Georgia Power sent support to the Gulf Coast earlier this year for Hurricane Issac relief.
Owen said the storm, which made landfall on Monday evening, left an estimated 7.5 million customers without power in seven states.
The Red Cross counted 26 volunteers who left the state, including four from the metro area, said Ruben Brown, media relations specialist with the Atlanta chapter. One of those is Lilburn resident Jeanne Spears, a registered nurse, who is set to help with disaster health in Washington.
Brown said the Red Cross groups were headed to West Virginia and Virginia.
Eight emergency response vehicles also departed, Brown said, to provide support to service centers and shelters and would canvas neighborhoods with water, snacks and meals. Volunteer assignments typically last two to three weeks, Brown said.
"This is unprecedented in every sense of the word," Brown said. "In terms of geographic area and 60 million people being in cross hairs."
Brown said Red Cross volunteers watch the weather like everyone else, and monitor the situations knowing the chances are really good they're going to get a call to go out.
"They plan lives around it in some cases," Brown said.