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Inside the Tallahassee Recovery | Comcast Crews Work Nonstop to Restore Services after Devastating Tornadoes

Technician working on a lift

A commitment to customers, a desire to help and a passion to serve others accelerated Comcast’s storm recovery in the Tallahassee area. On Friday May 10th, two tornadoes unexpectedly tore through the Florida state capital resulting in widespread damage. The storms along with high winds severely impacted the infrastructure. The wicked weather brought down more than 400 utility poles and countless trees. The damage resulted in service interruptions for Comcast Business and Xfinity customers.

Truck on the road
Storm Team 1 teams travel from all over Florida to help in storm recovery.

Before any severe weather, Comcast readies and deploys a small army known as Storm Team 1. The employee emergency response group is made up of technicians, network maintenance crew members and construction experts across the region and the state. These experienced emergency restoration professionals quickly descended on the Tallahassee area to help in the tornadoes’ aftermath.

Brandon Smith, an Installation and Service Sr. Manager, said the sheer scope of the damage surprised him. Smith was one of more than 200 incredible team members who helped in the recovery. He played a critical role by identifying the hardest hit areas and providing the assistance and tools needed to rebuild part of Xfinity’s network. Smith said he felt the company had a duty to get customers back online as quickly as possible.

“While it’s unfortunate that our customers had to endure these storms, it’s satisfying to get them back online and reconnected,” said Smith. “Being able to take part in bringing normalcy back to a single person is humbling. Seeing all my colleagues chipping in to help our local Tallahassee team and customers reinforces the family aspect of the job.”

Worker kneeling on the ground
Storm Team 1 member assesses the damage to begin the restoration phase.

The logistics faced by Storm Team 1 during a rebuild like Tallahassee is not for the faint of heart. Different teams must rally together to make sure crews are best positioned. Andrew Sweeny, a Comcast Manager of Construction, helped sort through it all.

He credited the crews’ eagerness to help, good spirits and positive attitudes with being the secret sauce. Sweeny said it was amazing and rewarding to see the teamwork in action and how so many different departments from across the company came together as one.

“The technicians and construction team are the true heroes,” said Sweeny. “Getting to work with such great and skilled individuals is a true pleasure.”

Man on a lift working
Storm Team 1 works to restore Comcast Business and Xfinity services to families and businesses in Tallahassee, FL.

Johnny Lara, a Sr. Network Manager, also helped in the recovery efforts. He joined Sweeny in expressing his pride for Storm Team 1’s around-the-clock work.

“From the local project managers to the technicians who volunteered from other areas to help,” said Lara. “We had a gameplan and the team did a great job executing it.”

Worker walking to his truck
Storm Team 1 works to rebuild the Xfinity network in a Tallahassee neighborhood.

Comcast’s commitment to supporting the communities we serve is part of the company’s DNA. To help in the recovery, the technology leader donated a total of $20,000 – $10,000 to the ABC 27 Tornado Relief Fund and $10,000 to the WCTV Tallahassee Relief. The money will support Second Harvest of the Big Bend as they work to help families.

More than 40 Comcast volunteers also helped Second Harvest pack produce boxes and hand out food to 750 local families in need at a tornado relief event with ABC 27.

Comcast volunteer handing out boxes
A Comcast volunteer hands out food boxes to families in need.

Jeff Buzzelli is the Senior Vice President for Comcast’s Florida Region. He said the tornadoes impacted many of the company’s business and residential customers. Buzzelli said Comcast understands the need is great and wants to help an organization that is doing incredible work in the community.

“The work Second Harvest is doing is really going to impact a lot of the families in the Tallahassee area,” said Buzzelli. “We are happy to be one of the key partners giving back during this recovery phase.”

On behalf of everyone at Comcast’s Florida Region, we want to extend a sincere thank you to our customers for their patience and understanding during the recovery process. We also want to thank the amazing team members who helped rebuild our network and restore Comcast Business and Xfinity services. They went above and beyond to bring Tallahassee back online.

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