Officials Promise Warning System Review



Local officials are promising a review of the Memphis and Shelby County emergency warning plans, following realizations that many in Gatlinburg failed to get evacuation notices during last week's wild fires there.

A joint news release issued Tuesday from Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and Shelby County Mayor Mark Lutrell said “the Shelby County Office of Preparedness and the Memphis Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management are reviewing their early warning disaster plans should a crisis lead to evacuations of homes and businesses.”

Lutrell called crisis management preparation “vital” and Strickland promised to work with county officials for a “coordinated response.”

“Tragedies enable us to pause and review our emergency plans, particularly those that involve large-scale evacuations,” said Dale Lane, director of the Shelby County Office of Preparedness. “Our notification procedures for (television) and cell phone messages are in place should people need to leave their homes and businesses because of fires, exposure to hazardous materials or other threats.”

Memphis Fire Services director Gina Sweat the Memphis Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management “will immediately forward messages to the emergency notification system to give people as much time as possible to find a safe place.”

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