MORRISTOWN, N.J., Aug. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) announced today that it is the first utility in New Jersey to partner with a local electrical trade union to provide damage assessment and public safety resources to help speed the service restoration process following a severe storm or other major event. Known as the JCP&L-IBEW Local 102 Emergency Response Team, the initiative will include International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 102 members who will be available for dispatch following major storms to protect the public from downed wires and other hazards. In addition, the innovative program will enable Local 102 members to supplement JCP&L's existing personnel by helping to assess damage to company equipment. In September, a formalized training program will begin and is designed to incorporate participating Local 102 members into JCP&L's storm restoration process. Ultimately, it is expected about 400 members of Local 102 will begin classroom instruction and field training at a JCP&L facility in Phillipsburg. This new process also will provide JCP&L additional operational flexibility with its own workforce during severe storms or major events. "Because many of the IBEW Local 102 members live and work in our service area, they can use their extensive local knowledge and would be available to be dispatched quickly during severe weather to help identify hazards, provide detailed damage assessments, and protect the public from downed wires, which frees up our crews to do major restoration work," said Jim Fakult, JCP&L president. "This partnership will serve to supplement JCP&L's dedicated workforce. Ultimately, our customers will benefit from this unique Emergency Response Team because the more personnel we have working during a storm, the faster we can get the lights back on." In addition to helping assess damage and protect the public, Local 102 members may also be able to address other electric-related work, such as repairing damaged connections on a customer's house, hooking up generators and helping at water distribution and power charging stations.