MORRISTOWN, N.J., Sept. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) has started damage assessment and public safety training for members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 102 as part of an innovative new program expected to help speed the service restoration process following a severe storm or other major event. JCP&L is the first utility in New Jersey to use a local electrical union to assist with storm restoration activities. More than 50 members of IBEW Local 102 attended the first of several scheduled instructional sessions which took place at Local 102's headquarters in Parsippany last week. Known as the JCP&L-IBEW Local 102 Emergency Response Team, the initiative was announced last month and is designed to supplement JCP&L's existing personnel with trained, local electrical union members who will be available for dispatch following major storms to protect the public from downed wires and to assess damage to company equipment. Nearly 400 members of Local 102 are expected to participate in the training program, which should be completed by late October. "The overwhelming response this collaboration with IBEW Local 102 has received is very encouraging because our customers ultimately will be the beneficiaries of this unique program," said Jim Fakult, JCP&L president. "Although they are not JCP&L employees, these IBEW Local 102 members live and work in our service area, which means their local knowledge can be put to good use by being available for quick dispatch during a large-scale weather event." "The turn out for the first training session exceeded our expectations," said Patrick DelleCava, IBEW Local 102 Business Manager. "The great response adds further proof that this program will be successful and benefit our members, JCP&L customers and New Jersey residents and businesses." The training was conducted by FirstEnergy and JCP&L workforce development staff and reviewed responder personal safety procedures as well as an overview of how the company identifies hazards, assesses damage and protects the public from downed wires. The training sessions are scheduled to continue through October.