Recently, the KET HC was requested to present at the Emergency Management Association of Georgia’s annual training summit. Representing the KET Coalition were: Wanda Roberts (TN Dept. of Health), Phil McDaniel (Covenant Health), and John Brinkley (AMR/Rural Metro) The session was entitled: Gatlinburg Wild Fires: A Coalition Response.


To summarize the presentation:

Late on November 28th, a massive wild fire from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park unexpectedly spread to the towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. With very little warning, over 14,000 people were forced to immediately evacuate from the mountain retreats with limited visibility and few egress options, resulting in extremely dangerous and challenging navigation. Local and state mutual aid was requested for both fire and EMS, as first responders rushed to get as many people to safety as possible while mitigating the fire damage to the city centers of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Ultimately, 3,066 people were displaced and in shelters, 191 people required hospital treatment, and 14 people lost their lives. This quickly evolving situation created unique challenges that the KET HC and their member organizations rose to meet.

The presentation covered the following objectives:

  1. Coalition’s role in preparation, response and recovery during a community event
  2. Identified unique event challenges and the processes by which those challenges were met
  3. Defined the Coalition role in information sharing, assistance with resource gathering and patient tracking

The Emergency Management Association of Georgia designs the annual summit for emergency management professionals from EMA, EMS, hospitals, specialty care, as well as other community partners.

Attending coalition members will provide a summary report at the upcoming Coalition meeting to ensure the training information will benefit the entire Coalition. Special thanks to those who went on behalf of the coalition.