Met-Ed, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., recently completed its yearly emergency preparation drill focused on testing its storm restoration process in the event severe weather causes widespread outages throughout its service area.
The drill was designed to prepare employees for storm restoration by reviewing restoration processes and storm-management tools critical to quickly getting the lights back on. The hypothetical scenario focused on an outbreak of severe thunderstorms in eastern Pennsylvania, during which a powerful tornado with 170 mph winds touched down in Berks County, toppling trees, snapping utility poles, closing roads and disrupting power to thousands of customers.
More than 30 Met-Ed employees from the Operations, Engineering, Safety, Logistics, Communications, External Affairs, Customer Support, Facilities, Corporate Support and Planning and Analysis groups participated in the four-hour drill.
"This is a great opportunity for us to practice and sharpen our skills in preparation for severe weather as we head into the winter storm season," said Linda Moss, regional president of Met-Ed. "Periodic emergency drills are another way we invest in reliability for our customers, in addition to tree trimming and the continuous work we do to harden our electric system and enhance its resiliency."
The primary objectives of the Met-Ed storm drill included:
- Provide training to employees who are new to their storm roles
- Provide a platform for immediate feedback to refine and improve storm restoration processes
- Identify operational gaps in the storm restoration processes and devise solutions to proactively correct them
As part of the training, Met-Ed used its Incident Command System (ICS). ICS is a nationally recognized and accepted emergency management process used by all levels of government – federal, state, and local – as well as by many non-governmental organizations and the private sector to coordinate the response to major storms or other natural disasters.
Met-Ed conducted the in-person drill in a spacious auditorium at its Reading headquarters. Participants wore masks and took other precautions to avoid the spread of coronavirus. During the past year, Met-Ed employees have conducted storm calls and used electronic storm tools remotely to successfully manage restoration activities in the field.