CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Duke Energy has thousands of workers and contractors making their way all over the coast as Hurricane Matthew threatens the Carolinas.
Once they leave Gastonia, the power, tree-clearing and traffic crews will head to the Florence, South Carolina region and stage at the Lauringburg-Maxton airport. The crews are expecting widespread outages.
North Carolina native, Chris Morrison, has been a Duke Energy lineman for 26 years. He says he loves his job, but the hardest part is leaving his own family behind for any potential danger that may come their way.
Many crew members, like Morrison, heading towards the predicted storm areas are ready to spend quality time together. They have been asked to pack for seven to 10 days.
"I spend more time with these guys than my wife," said Chris Morrison. "These are my second family, they got my back, I've got their back."
Many state officials have expressed a concern for power outages.
In a press conference Friday, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory told residents to prepare for prolonged power outages. He said crews will have a huge amount of work on their hands to restore power.
"Just don't assume because your powers out you're going to be priority," the governor warned.
Duke Energy is working to prevent power outages ahead of the storm. "We have been identifying areas prone to flooding, we've been training crews on alternate routes to access areas that may have damage," says Duke Energy spokesperson Meghan Miles.
Despite preventative efforts, Morrison knows there will be a lot of work for him and his crew. He is asking people to be patient and know they are doing the best they can to restore power as quickly as possible.
Crews and emergency officials have been urging those choosing to face the storm at home to be well-equipped with emergency kits including water, a first-aid kit, flashlights, non-perishable food, pet food, medicine and a battery operated radio.
Response teams cannot begin work until after the storm passes through the area. For those wanting to report an outage, text Duke Energy OUT at 57801.
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