Airmen Restore Power During Weather Emergencies

Posted at 5:41 PM, Jan 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-12 23:58:31-05

Airmen with the 118th Wing of the Tennessee Air National Guard said they're prepared in case problems get worse caused by the expected winter weather on Friday.

If requested by the state, the 118th Civil Engineer Squadron will utilize its 20 generators to help during power outages.

The generators range anywhere from 30 to 100 kilowatts, which would have enough strength to bring power back to a 30,000 square foot facility.

"We obviously know the weather is coming in. Our guys are already alert that they might have a chance to go in," said Major Nathan Smith, deputy base civil engineer.

The 15-member team, also known as the Prime Power unit, underwent its first domestic operation in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

Eight of the strongest generators just returned from the island nation last week after helping restore power to the Muñiz Air National Guard Base near San Juan.

Major Smith and the team were there for three weeks after the initial impact of the storm.

"Everything from restaurants to gas stations to hotels, they were all without power. Everything that came in the island either came through the sea ports or airports, so what we were able to do was establish power at the airport so certain missions can go out from there," added Smith.

The generators brought power back to several structures from medical clinics to maintenance operations buildings.

Since being brought back, mechanics and electricians have been working to recondition the generators in time for the next call.

"It's basically like tuning up your car after it's had a long haul across the country," said Smith.

In addition, the team also provided 500 lbs of donated items, like clothes and toiletries, to the poorest neighborhoods in Puerto Rico.

"There was a lot of wind damage, a lot of water damage, but the people there are very resilient. They were not only grateful to receive items but also grateful that we showed up to help them," Senior Master Sergeant Joe Hagan told NewsChannel 5.