Red Cross, Horry Electric send help to Sandy impacted Northeast

More than a dozen from Horry County have left to help those in the Northeast as Sandy prepares to make landfall.

Monday morning, ten linemen from Horry Electric Cooperative in Conway left in five trucks headed to Crewe, Virginia.

Electric cooperatives from South Carolina have sent 108 employees to states being directly impacted by Hurricane Sandy. With the historic storm still offshore Monday afternoon, Hurricane Sandy had already knocked out power to more than 115,000 people along the Eastern Seaboard.

"This is a major mobilization of personnel on our part," said Todd Carter, Vice President of Loss Control and Training at the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina. "The forecasts all predict the storm is going to cause widespread damage over a very large area. There's no question our counterparts are going to need a great deal of help once the storm has passed."

The group has packed for 10 days, and are prepared for warm and cold weather.

"We've got our foul weather gear," Burroughs Nobles, the group's foreman said.

"They usually work about 16 hour days, and it's usually in the worst circumstances that we work in," Horry Electric Operations Manager W.I. Jones said.

"You're going to encounter a lot of debris in the roadways and right of ways, you're going to have a lot of trees falling down, and just the wet nasty conditions. I'm least looking forward to the weather conditions-that's usually the worst," Nobles said.

The Edison Electric Institute, a Washington-based group that represents hundreds of publicly traded utilities, warned that power failures resulting from this storm may affect more than 10 million people in the mid-Atlantic and northeast regions, some of whom may be without electricity for up to seven days.

Jones said they have sent crews to aide in disasters like Hurricane Katrina, and train the crews intensely on disaster response.

In addition to Horry Electric, Nanci Conley with the Coastal Carolina chapter of the American Red Cross has already sent five volunteers to the northeast. She adds they expect to send more, but have to wait to see the damage of Sandy first.

"Over the time it could be, 50, 60, who knows, it all depends, many people could go several times, this could be a long duration. "

Last summer with Hurricanes Irene and Lee hitting the northeast, Conley says they had some volunteers stay up and help victims for two months.

"We all have a piece in the pie in meeting the whole needs of disaster clients," Conley said.

If you are interested in helping, Conley says volunteers need to go through training, and would not be able to help with this disaster. However, she says, it is too expensive to store donated items, so if the public is interested in helping Sandy victims, they can make a donation to help purchase relief supplies.