Madison Public Works and Huntsville Utilities prepares ahead of anticipated Irma aftermath

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. -- Local crews said they are ready if any trees or power lines come down, making preparations to keep the roads clear and the lights on.

Madison Public Works officials said they are ready to do battle with the aftermath of the pesky storm known as Irma.

"All of our chainsaws and heavy equipment have been fueled up, making sure they're all running right and ready to go. We're going to have a standby crew for tonight too," said Mike Gentle.

The biggest problem might be all the debris. Gentle said they work closely with Huntsville Utilities, who he asks the public to contact first if that debris is covering power lines.

"People have to understand that if it's on power lines, our guys can't touch it until Huntsville Utilities gives us the all clear," he explained.

Huntsville Utilities are also standing by, knowing anything can happen.

"It's why we often say it's a wait and see sort of thing, where in a situation like this it's very reactive," said Joe Gehrdes.

Gehrdes said if there are widespread power outages, it will take some patience. They will typically start with the larger outages, and then work their way down to the more isolated ones.

"In an event like this, where the winds won't be isolated to any certain area, we're talking county-wide, if we do have a lot of outages happen that could spread us pretty thin," he explained.

And if those outages do occur, for the customers who might run back up generators, Huntsville Utilities ask that you take precautions.

"If you're feeding that generator into your electric panel, that you have that back feed switch, so that current's not being fed back out on to the grid," said Gehrdes.

That could cause serious harm, even death, to the technician working to restore your power.

Officials also want to remind the public, if you see a downed power line, stay away from it and call Huntsville Utilities.

All officials agree, everyone's safety is the number one priority.