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The FPL Hurricane Sandy travel team leaves for home at the PSE&G staging site in Paramus, New Jersey on Nov. 12, 2012. Photo by Doug Murray/FPL

Coronavirus in Florida

FPL adds COVID-19 precautions to hurricane preparation plans

Those precautions could add some delays to storm response times.

A late June hurricane prep session for Florida Power & Light (FPL) employees will include several new restrictions to comply with social distancing and safety recommendations amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The company plans to do a hurricane response dry run for more than 3,000 employees from June 22-26. This hurricane season, however, features an additional hurdle with the existence of the novel coronavirus. Storms require FPL employees to arrive on-site to help restore power to homes and neighborhoods. That can be difficult in an era of social distancing.

The company says it will require workers to undergo daily health screenings before doing on-site power restoration work.

FPL also typically sets up staging sites in the aftermath of a storm. Those sites offer food, showers and other amenities for crews working in difficult conditions. Those sites will now feature an altered layout to better facilitate social distancing.

“FPL and many of our customers have been through storms together, but this year is like no other,” FPL President and CEO Eric Silagy said.

“We face the real and daunting prospect of staring down something none of us has ever had to deal with: a hurricane and a pandemic at the same time. While the circumstances have changed, FPL’s steadfast commitment to restoring power safely and as quickly as possible has not.”

Crews will also be given masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant tools. FPL will also work to ensure crews are traveling as little as possible.

The company did caution customers that these precautions may lead to some added delays in the event of a storm strike.

“FPL is asking customers for their patience if severe weather strikes during the pandemic,” a statement from the company reads. “FPL’s commitment to work around the clock to restore everyone’s power will not change, but it could take longer to do so under these extraordinary circumstances.”

The 2020 hurricane season began Monday.

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

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