Fentress Emergency Providers Meet To Prepare For Tropical Storm Irma

Emergency Management Director James Bilbrey briefs local emergency service providers of the status of Hurricane Irma during a special meeting held Monday.

After tracking Hurricane Irma for several days and learning that its track was heading toward Tennessee, the Fentress Co. Emergency Management Agency called a meeting of  representatives from all the emergency services agencies and related government and utility agencies on Monday, September 11 at 10:00 a.m. at the E-911 Center.

When the group was assembled, Fentress County EMA Director James Bilbrey briefed the group on the progress of Hurricane Irma, which at that time was in northern Florida and moving north on a track which showed that it would hit Tennessee sometime  Tuesday.

While the Hurricane had been downgraded to a tropical storm, Bilbrey cautioned those assembled that it was projected to still have winds of 35-40 miles per hour with possible gusts of 60 miles per hour, which still made it a threat to take down trees and power lines.

It was also projected that the storm could possibly bring 2 inches or more of rain to the area before moving out later in the week.

While not anticipating any major damage from the storm in this area, all the emergency service providers were urged to be prepared, should the storm be more severe than expected.

Fentress County Executive J. Michael Cross, who has been helping coordinate a relief effort  by local citizens to assist Hurricane Harvey victims in Texas for the past few weeks, stated that plans are already being developed to send assistance to the victims of the hurricane and its aftermath in Florida and Georgia which left nearly 6 million residents without power in Florida and south Georgia.

“I can’t say enough about the local outpouring of generosity by local businesses, agencies, and individuals to assist in the relief efforts for the hurricane victims:

“I’m overwhelmed by the all-out generosity,” Cross said.  We’re in the process of sending our 6th truck to hurricane victims in Texas, and we have already had several individuals, along with Potter’s and Parker Charcoal, who have come on board to continue to provide assistance to our neighbors who are victims of Hurricane Irma.

“I cannot  overemphasize the ourpouring of support from Fentress County in money, medical supplies, water and other needed items.  The response was incredible.  This makes me feel very humble and proud,” he added.

Joe McGrogan reported that the Fentress County Rescue Squad had a crew on standby to respond to assist the hurricane victims in Florida if needed.

He expressed his appreciation to all those who have stepped up to help and to EMA Diector James Bilbrey for keeping everyone updated during these two devastating hurricanes.

As of Monday, it was reported that there were over 6 million residents of Florida without power, and even with the assistance of hundreds of emergency crews being sent there to help restore services, it could be weeks before service is restored.

County Executive Cross said that an effort was being made to set up a site where monetary donations could be sent to assist the hurricane victims, and that more information would be forthcoming on this effort.