Responders help with storm's aftermathby Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A team of emergency management officials from Minnesota is working in Massachusetts and New York to help organize the response to Sandy.
Scott Gerber, chief of Excelsior's fire department, and is one of five Minnesotans that rode out the storm in an underground nerve center near Boston. They'll be moving to Albany, New York Wednesday to help work on planning and logistics for the storm clean-up and aftermath.
Gerber says the weather disaster has some familiar elements for Minnesotans like him.
"Certainly the rain, the thunderstorms that are embedded within those," Gerber said. "Dealing with power outages. Having to fight fires in the middle of those types of incidents."
Other officials represent Minnesota's Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Allina Health Emergency Medical Services and Hennepin County. Nearly 500 Minnesotans were called to help with the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans in 2005.
Also on Wednesday, a crew of 30 linemen and six managers from Xcel Energy will leave to help out on another front of the storm, in West Virginia.
The arrangement is part of a mutual aid agreement between utility companies to help each other with major power outages.
Northern States Power Minnesota regional vice president Laura McCarten says Minnesota crews traveled to the same region this summer to help restore power during a heat wave.
"In the summer, they were working in 100-plus degree heat," McCarten said. "Now they're going to be working in two to four feet of snow, but the utility knew our crews, knew how well they worked, and they specifically asked if they could be paired up with our crews, and that's where they're headed."