Knox EMA officials scale back emergency staffing

Knox EMA officials scale back emergency staffing


6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Knoxville and Knox County first responders stayed busy Friday morning, responding to medical calls and car accidents.

By 2 p.m. Friday, EMA officials had deployed additional four-wheel drive vehicles to 23 medical calls and seven car accidents.

The Emergency Operations Center (EOC), where they make coordinated decision about emergency response, was activated at 5 a.m. Each emergency agency in Knoxville and Knox County had a representative at the EOC Friday.

Alan Lawson, the director of the Knoxville Knox County EMA, says the EOC activation went very well overall with good decision making minimizing the storm's damage.

From 5 a.m. to 2 p.m., the EOC sent additional four-by-fours to respond to 30 medical and motor accident calls. The city responded to 17 calls with fire engines. The county used their fire trucks to respond to 26 emergency calls.

After 2 p.m., the number of emergency calls decreased, causing officials to scale back on EOC staffing.

"The number of calls that the four-wheel teams are going on is manageable. There haven't been extreme power outages," said Lawson.

Lawson says the number power outages were less than anticipated, but despite pre-treating the roads, the number of accidents was on par with what emergency responders expected.

"It's been slick in a lot of places and we've had accidents and vehicles slide off the road, all the things you would expect in an ice storm," said Lawson.

At 2 p.m., the EOC reduced their staffing levels due to fewer accidents on the roadways.

At 10 p.m. they plan to reassess the road conditions and adjust staff accordingly. Despite scaling back on staffing, the center plans to have several vehicles on standby overnight to assist emergency responders.

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