Capt. Joe Galentine of the Gatlinburg Fire Department
GATLINBURG, Tenn. — As fires rage in California, across the country, a Tennessee city is enacting measures to protect residents and visitors from similar devastation.
The City of Gatlinburg and Sevier County, Tenn., are installing three synchronized Alert AM stations to cover Gatlinburg, communities north and portions of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Galentine surveys the damage.
The goal is to be able to alert residents and visitors about emergencies and dangerous situations wherever they are, whether driving, sitting at home or walking.
According to a press release from Information Station Specialists, the community took action in response to the wildfire that affected the area during Thanksgiving 2016. That event required 14,000 people to evacuate, and according to Gatlinburg Fire Department Captain Joe Galentine, the first responders recognized that they needed a better way to reach residents and visitors with real-time instructions during emergencies.
Gatlinburg has added an Alert AM Emergency Advisory Radio Network from Information Station Specialists. (A recent FCC ruling detailing how travelers’ information stations may be leveraged in emergencies enabled this.)
The Alert AM station will be integrated with signage, outdoor warning sirens and text-based emergency notifications to create an emergency-notification solution. With the Alert AM System, text-based notifications are converted into broadcast messages, which are sent to affected motorists’ radio receivers, the company explained in a release.