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Utahns Aid Irma Recovery

Jeff Allred
Rocky Mountain Power
The Rocky Mountain Power crew getting ready to head to the Southeast. An emergency cooperative of electric companies has helped organize the mutual aid effort for this hurricane and other disasters.

More Utahns are headed to the Southeast to help with the Hurricane Irma recovery.

A caravan of Rocky Mountain Power utility trucks and bucket trucks left over the weekend. Irma has knocked out power to around 6 million customers, and the Utah crew – which includes 30 linemen -- will help restore their electricity.

“Power can’t be restored,” says company spokesman Spencer Hall, “unless you have someone who’s trained and has the proper equipment.”

Six nurses from Timpanogos Regional Hospital are already on the scene providing medical aid.

And the Utah National Guard has airlifted a satellite communications hub to Puerto Rico along with six people to operate it, says Lieutenant Colonel Steven Fairbourn.

“So that we can expedite and make the most efficient recovery efforts possible,” he says, “to save lives, mitigate suffering and save infrastructure.”

The Utah Guard team also includes two linguists with Spanish-language skills. They’re serving as liaisons between emergency responders and the public.

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.
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