TRENTON — New Jersey is sending help to Florida to assist with recovery efforts from Hurricane Matthew.

Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police said 80 members of New Jersey Task Force 1, comprised of highly trained police, fire and EMTs, left Joint Base MGuire-Dix-Lakehurst  for Florida late Thursday to help with the anticipated cleanup from the storm's 120 mph winds and heavy rain that has led to the evacuation of 1.5 million residents.

“Although the team being deployed to Florida represents a significant portion of the overall task force, a larger portion of the group and equipment will remain in New Jersey ready to respond to any potential emergency at home," Colonel Fuentes said.

Members of the task force will be able to assist with search and rescue especially in flood situations. according to Fuentes.

JCP&L also sent 80 lines crews, support personnel, managers, mechanics and damage assessors  to Florida to help restore power after the storm according to JCP&L spokesman Scott Surgeoner.

They'll ride out the storm in the Jacksonville area until it passes, according to Surgeoner, "then they'll get to restoration work much like the FPL crews that came to Jersey following Hurricane Sandy," Surgeoner said.

JCP&L and their parent company FirstEnergy are part of a mutual assistance agreement between utilities throughout the United States that is used during a large storm. "Our crews have been in Florida several times over the past 50 or so years because of hurricanes or storms," Surgeoner said.

How long the crews stay in Florida depends on the path of the storm and the extent of the damage, according to Surgeoner

FPL provides power along the entire eastern Florida coast, Orlando and all of South Florida.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at

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