KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knox County Emergency Management Agency director presented the agency’s storm response efforts to the Knox County Commission Monday night following an EF2 tornado in West Knoxville.
Knox County EMA Director Colin Ickes said they jumped into action immediately.
“We activated our emergency operation center, that’s the central point of coordination and information sharing for all of our emergency response agencies to support the emergency response and the work that the first responders are doing,” he said.
While they aren’t out clearing debris following storms, they help support the emergency personnel who do.
“We work closely with our first responder agencies to make sure they had all the resources that they need, we were coordinating the response for all the emergency 911 calls, plus all the trees down, blocked roads, traffic signals out that kind of thing,” he explained.
Ickes said he believes they responded as effectively as possible in a challenging situation.
It’s been two weeks since the storm and some of those affected are still without a home, or dealing with major damage. Ickes said they’re continuing to work on relief efforts.
“On Tuesday, we’ll be meeting with the Federal Emergency Management Agency vetting the damage assessment information that we’ve already shared with FEMA, and we hope that we’ll be able to get a disaster declaration from FEMA that would help reimburse some of government costs, and potentially help make small business administration loans available to community members who might need that to help get back on their feet,” Ickes said.
He explained that these loans would be available to people affected by the storms.
“It would potentially make low interest loans available to businesses, non-profits, plus homeowners as well as renters that could help with that, but it will be several weeks before we know whether we’ve gotten any FEMA assistance,” he said.
He suggested that anyone who needs assistance with food or shelter due to the storm contact the Red Cross at 865-584-2999. He also said those who need help with cleaning up their property can contact the Crisis Cleanup Hotline at 865-351-0552.