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Kansas City-area doctor, lineman with hurricane experience reflect as Ian makes landfall in Florida

Independence Power and Light
Posted at 4:52 PM, Sep 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-28 18:08:38-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hurricane Ian has made landfall and locals are recounting their experience as they worked to serve communities impacted by the storm.

Independence Power and Light dispatched a crew of six people to help restore power to communities in Florida.

"We see tornadoes come through here," Paul Biesemeyer said. "They’re nothing compared to what a hurricane does."

Biesemeyer is transmission and distribution manager for Independence P&L and has experience working in hurricane ravaged communities following Rita, Katrina and Michael.

“The pole lines are completely down, so you’re just rebuilding everything," he said. "You’re hauling poles out and setting the poles back up. Trying to sort through the wire if you can, but a lot of times just putting up brand new wire and building back everything that was there.”

Biesemeyer said their six crew members are experienced and ready for the chaos Hurricane Ian will produce. They're expected to stay in Florida for two weeks.

“It’s what lineman do," he said. "We go out and we put the power back on, and that’s what lineman do all over the country and that’s their job and they take pride in that.”

While lineman work to restore power, doctors and nurses continue to treat patients in hospitals during the storm.

Dr. Andija Vidic, with the University of Kansas Medical Center, was working in hospitals in Florida when hurricanes Maria and Irma hit.

“With Irma, we had a lot of challenges," Vidic said. "Even with best prepared plans, we had a lot a huge influx of patients shortly after hurricane that came into hospital because they were not prepared.”

Vidic said generators keep the power on inside the hospitals he was working in.

As Ian tears across Florida, he's thinking about his medical brothers and sisters in the storms path.

“My heart goes out to them, because it’s very difficult, because you have to worry about your family and the patients at the same time," Vidic said.