Tennessee agencies prepare to assist neighboring states with Hurricane Matthew response

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Several Tennessee agencies are currently analyzing their ability to send personnel to aid neighboring states where Hurricane Matthew poses a threat.

The agencies preparing to help if needed are the Tennessee departments of Health, Transportation, Tennessee Army National Guard,  Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and Tennessee Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters.

“TEMA has monitored the track of Hurricane Matthew all week, and as it has made landfall we increased our vigilance and communications both with our neighboring states and with our Tennessee and local government partners,” said TEMA Director Patrick Sheehan.

Here is a breakdown of how each department is responding:

TDH is evaluating the availability of state health personnel to assist Atlantic coastal states in the areas of incident management, epidemiology, nurse support, emergency medical services, and environmental conditions.

TANG sent helicopters and crews to South Carolina ahead of Hurricane Matthew’s arrival.  One light utility helicopter) from Nashville is assisting South Carolina Highway Patrol in evacuation route reconnaissance along major interstates.  Two additional crews flying HH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from Knoxville are designated for search and rescue operations.

TDOT is in contact with Georgia and South Carolina, and is on standby to provide assistance with bridge inspection crews and equipment to support the state’s needs.

TNVOAD is working with TEMA and Volunteer Tennessee to have volunteers and equipment staged and ready to mobilize if requested.

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development is coordinating with Tennessee Hospitality & Tourism Association on room availability for those in the impacted states who are self-evacuating from Hurricane Matthew threatened areas. Tourism is providing this availability information at its Tennessee Welcome Centers.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol and Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) are evaluating resources and personnel who could be deployed for public safety needs, or for any needs in Tennessee in the areas of human care and sheltering.  DHS worked with the American Red Cross to place one shelter in Tennessee on standby if it is needed.  The shelter is located at Tri-Cities Baptist Church in Gray, Tenn., and does not have any occupants currently.

The Tennessee Fire Marshal’s Office, a division of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, has been assessing and evaluating local resources through the state’s Fire Mutual Aid System should any of the hurricane-impacted states need search and rescue teams or other aid assistance.

TEMA will coordinate any deployments of state resources or personnel to impacted states through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), which is a national, interstate mutual aid agreement enabling states to share resources during times of disaster.