Hundreds of linemen from Louisiana were traveling some 800 miles to help if Isabel knocks out electricity on the East Coast. They were to camp out in Virginia, prepared to go anywhere they are needed.
Local power companies were geared up, as well, and ready to respond to whatever damage Isabel brings. But they also were concerned about how customers may respond to damage.
When storms strike, one of the first casualties often is electricity. Ice storms, tornados and hurricanes can down lines and leave whole communities in the dark.
The downed lines pose an even more serious problem. That is why
put on a vivid demonstration Tuesday to show how extrememly dangerous downed wires can be.
Power companies warn that anyone who sees a loose line -- any loose line -- should consider it hot.
"This is the height of hurricane season," Duke Power's Tom Williams said. "It is something we plan for. We drill for."
Whether people have a downed line or their electricity is just out, power companies want them to know they depend on those people to report it.
"There is some concept that people have that we have a large room that shows who's out where automatically," Williams said. "That is not the case."
Tuesday, thousands of power-company personnel were mobilized and ready to deal with the impact of Isabel -- whether it be a simple outage or a massive failure.
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