The storm hits. Power goes out. Our crews start restoring power. And while our crews do incredibly hard and dangerous work and should be applauded, there is also a less visible team of employees working to make sure the crews know where they are going, what they need to make repairs and more.

From damage assessors to foresters to dispatchers – there are hundreds of people behind the scenes that make the restoration process possible. And in many cases, they are employees who don’t have an official storm role, so they volunteer when and where needed to support their co-workers and keep our customers safe.

With safety our top priority, one of our priorities after a storm are downed wire. We locate them, get them secured, make the public aware and keep customers safe. One way we do this is by assigning wire guards.

In a storm situation, emergency responders like firefighters and police officers may respond to wire-down situations. Our storm team then works to get employees assigned to relieve the first responders. We have over 600 employees trained as wire guards.

The tornadoes that caused devastation in Southwest Michigan resulted in more than 240 downed wires. Our wire guard employees have been working around the clock to keep the area around the wire secure until our crews can respond to make the repairs.

If you’re out surveying for damage and cleaning up debris, be careful. Remember that downed wires can be hidden by shifted items, tree limbs or leaves. If you see a downed wire stay at least 25 feet away from it and anything it is touching. Call 9-1-1 first, and then us at 800-477-5050 to report a downed wire.

Meet one of our wire guards: