Tag Archives: emergency

State gets flood of gasoline price-gouging complaints

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance’s Consumer Affairs division is investigating about 600 complaints of gasoline price gouging received from consumers, reports WTVF-TV.

Typically, the state would get 5,000 total complaints every year.

“That’s off the charts for us, we are in the midst of of sorting through the overflow of complaints,” TDCI Communications Director Kevin Walters said. 

Prices increased as a result of a pipeline leak in Alabama nearly two weeks ago. Governor Haslam issued an executive order to increase the hours of truckers shipping fuel. Panic over a possible gas shortage prompted drivers to pack gas stations and tap them out throughout the mid-state.

“It was frustrating this weekend,” Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association President Rob Ikard told NewsChannel 5. “There was a sudden and unnatural demand of gas over the weekend.”

Majority of the complaints were from the Nashville metro area with reports of gas prices ranging from $3 per gallon to as high as $9.99 per gallon. 

Under Tennessee law, it is unlawful to grossly charge essential goods or services in a time of emergency. 

There are so many complaints the Consumer Affairs staff is still logging the complaints. State officials say they will go through each complaint with a legal team to determine the validity.

TEMA apologizes for foulup in emergency test

Patrick Sheehan, head of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. apologized Thursday after emergency alerts were sent to mobile devices across the state during testing — and some were not labeled as tests.

Text of statement from TEAM Director Patrick Sheehan, emailed to media
“Today the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency conducted a statewide test of the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts to mobile devices. The purpose of the test was to assess the readiness and effectiveness of the system to address the public during times of emergency. The purpose of this system is essential to ensure we can communicate to save lives and protect property. We timed today’s test to coincide with the beginning of National Preparedness Month and it was designed to have limited impact on the public.

“TEMA spent the last several weeks working with our partners, EAS participants across the state , and the public to prepare for today’s test. Unfortunately, during today’s test we learned valuable lessons about the Emergency Alert System, our protocols, and areas to improve on the delivery of these types of alerts in the future.”

“We have received calls and messages from hundreds of Tennesseans letting us know about problems with receiving messages and the concerns caused by the messages received. In many instances the caveats that the message was part of a test were not received, making it seem like an emergency was imminent. While many are understanding, knowing that we need to test our systems, many have voiced their concerns about the angst this test cause. Please accept my sincerest apologies for any inconvenience today’s test caused.

“In the coming days and weeks TEMA will be reevaluating our protocols and systems. We will not be conducting any public tests of the system in the foreseeable future.

We do these tests to make certain we know about problems before we need the systems. In this regard alone, this test has been very valuable.

Again, please accept my apologies on behalf of TEMA and my gratitude for your patience and understanding.

A TEMA report on TN thunderstorm damage (3 fatalities)

Here is a media advisory sent Saturday by the Tennessee Emergency Managment Agency:

July 9, 2016, 11 a.m., CDT
SEOC Activation: Level III – State of Emergency

CURRENT SITUATION

Severe storms overnight in Tennessee resulted in three (3) fatalities. In Carter County, a 60-year-old male and 40-year old female were killed when a tree fell on them while camping. In Knox County, a tree fell on a female of undetermined age during a severe storm. There are no other reports of fatalities in the State.

Tennessee remains in a State of Emergency, declared at 7:15 a.m., CDT, on July 7, 2016, due to continuing severe weather threats from wave-after-wave of heavy rain and high winds impacting the Middle and East Regions of the State.

FROM THE EAST
East Tennessee was the hardest hit area of the State from the severe storms last night. One storm caused damage through the northern section of the East Region, moving from Claiborne County to the tip of the State into Carter, Sullivan, and Washington counties. A second storm wave moved through the middle portion of the East Region hitting the Middle Plateau and Knox County, and moving through Blount, Cocke, Cumberland, Fentress, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Monroe, Roane, and Sevier counties. A number of East Region counties reported significant power outages, many downed trees, and closed roadways due to debris from the storms. TEMA deployed District Coordinators, last night and today, to help local emergency managers who are working to clear debris, conduct damage assessment, and assist residents.

IN THE MIDDLE
In Middle Tennessee, counties impacted from the first wave of storms on July 7, 2016, were hit again yesterday in two additional severe storm waves. A second round storm yesterday impacted Clay and Overton counties with TEMA deploying a District Coordinator to assist local emergency managers in the event. A third storm last night resulted the National Weather Service issuing multiple warnings, while up to 50,000 people were without power at one point during the overnight storm in Middle Tennessee. TEMA is also still assisting local emergency agencies in Montgomery, Robertson, Stewart, and Sumner counties from the July 7 severe weather.

TO THE WEST
West Tennessee counties report no issues from the severe weather. Many counties are continuing to monitor severe weather forecasts as there is a 60 percent chance of severe weather in the West Region today.

Flooding prompts emergency declaration for parts of TN, KY

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Officials have declared a state of emergency in Tennessee after heavy rains caused flooding in several areas overnight and more rain is forecast.

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency spokesman Dean Flener said on Thursday that crews were performing swift-water rescues in Stewart County. He said several other counties have reported high water over roads and trees down from storms.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for areas of Middle Tennessee through Thursday afternoon. The weather service said as much as 6 inches of rain fell overnight, which led to widespread flooding in Nashville and surrounding areas.

Flener said travel could be precarious and warned that motorists should not try to cross water over roadways.

In Kentucky, heavy rains and harsh winds blew through the area Wednesday, knocking down power lines and damaging buildings in the far western part of the state, including Paducah. In nearby Metropolis, Illinois, the weather service said a small tornado hit and winds gusted up to 105 mph. No life-threatening injuries were reported.

Bills Raise Assault Penalties — Depending on Victim’s Profession

Bills approved by both chambers Tuesday will increase the penalty for criminal assaults if the victim is either a firefighter, emergency worker or a health care professional.
The bills touched off considerable debate in the Senate as Republican Sens. Stacey Campfield of Knoxville and Brian Kelsey of Germantown questioned the wisdom of putting some victims on a higher level than others.
Campfield said the legislation violates the principle of “equal protection under the law” and questioned why a person assaulting a pregnant woman should face a lesser penalty than someone assaulting a doctor or fireman.
Proponents noted current law already makes the penalty higher when the victim is a law enforcement officer and said firefighters, emergency personel and doctors or nurses face greater risk of assault than others.
Both bills now go to the governor. The bill on health care provider assaults (HB306) passed 31-1 in the Senate and 63-31 in the House. The bill on firefighters and emergency workers (SB66) was approved 24-2 in the Senate; 93-3 in the House.

TN 911 Sharing ‘Mountain of Information’ Through Online Mapping

The state agency that oversees emergency communications is upgrading to what’s known as Next Generation 911, reports WPLN, and a bi-product is a sophisticated map that is going to be shared with other parts of state government.
Just as a map, this is more detailed than anything available online and will be updated constantly.
“You know, Google may get out to Perry County every couple of years and we have people who are there on the ground every day.”
(So says) Andy Spears (who) handles public affairs for the Emergency Communications Board. He says the 911 map compiles a mountain of information from property ownership to criminal records. It also has the ability to link cell phone numbers with people and places.
So Spears says the map is going to be used to improve voter registration, enforce drug-free zones and even collect taxes.
“I mean this is a way to make sure people are doing what they’re supposed to be doing. So if they are evading taxes, we want to make sure they pay taxes, absolutely.”

An ‘Incredibly Important’ TEMA App is Available

As of today, reports the Leaf-Chronicle, Tennesseans can download Ready TN, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency’s (TEMA) popular smartphone preparedness application, to iPhone and iPad devices and access the application’s information and resources on hazards and how to be ready for emergencies.
“It is incredibly important Tennesseans take time to prepare for emergencies, and this new app from TEMA is designed to be responsive to our customers, the taxpayers,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said. “Citizens are relying increasingly on their mobile devices for relevant and timely information, and the ReadyTN app delivers critical tips and resources to Tennesseans so they can be prepared the next time a disaster strikes.”
iPhone and iPad owners simply need to search for ReadyTN in the App Store or in the iTunes Store and then download the application to their devices.
The ReadyTN browser landing page in the iTunes Store is http://bit.ly/StqFxU. Once active, ReadyTN will provide location-based information on severe weather, road conditions, open shelters and local government contacts. Preparedness tips for specific hazards and checklists for emergency kit items are also provided in the application’s content

Lawyers Group: Bill Would Give Emergency Room Doctors ‘Unfair’ Immunity

News release from Tennessee Association for Justice
Nashville ― A bill introduced in the Tennessee legislature specifically allows hospitals and doctors to provide negligent medical care in Tennessee emergency rooms. Unless a patient could prove gross negligence, a standard just short of criminal behavior, there would be no accountability or protection. The legislation is sponsored by Rep. Glen Casada and Sen. Jack Johnson, both from College Grove.
“For example, if you go to the ER with chest pains and the doctor carelessly misdiagnoses you with bronchitis and you go home and have a massive heart attack and die, under the proposed legislation there is no recourse for this kind of sloppiness,” stated Keith Williams, President, Tennessee Association for Justice. “In effect, a doctor would have no responsibility for careless errors that could ultimately cost you your life.”
The current standard for medical negligence already affords protections to ER doctors. ER doctors are protected as long as they deliver care consistent with standards set by their peers–other ER doctors. Only if they fail to meet those standards and harm a patient will they rightfully be held accountable under the present law.
The immunity goes one step further and covers doctors in surgery and the OB unit if the patient is admitted through the ER. This means a patient who goes to the ER will have very little, if any protection from negligence during their entire hospital stay.
This legislation has an unfair impact on pregnant women, children and low-income families since they are more likely to use the ER. Kids in sports go to the ER for injuries, pregnant women often go to the ER whey they are in labor, and the elderly frequently rely on the ER for respiratory illnesses. These vulnerable citizens would be without any protection when seeking needed medical care.
HB 174/SB 360 also places a financial burden on the taxpayers. If recipients of TennCare, Medicare and the uninsured are harmed due to carelessness in the ER, Tennesseans will end up paying the bill for a person’s medical care and treatment resulting from the doctor’s careless error. Medical errors cost the Nation approximately $37.6 billion per year, and this legislation would only add to that cost.
“Should a law be passed allowing ER doctors to commit negligent acts on patients in Tennessee? That’s exactly what this bill does.” said Williams. “With 98,000 people dying each year from medical errors, clearly the answer is NO. The focus should be on improving the quality of care – not on lobbyists seeking to pass a license to harm patients.”

TEMA Slow in Making Disaster Recovery Payments

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency knows about a state audit that shows public disaster recovery money is getting paid slowly but a spokesman said there are three public assistance employees and the agency is working as fast as it can.
The performance audit by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office said TEMA takes an average of three months, sometimes longer, to repay local costs for cleanup and repair of public property after a disaster.
“Delaying passing through of funds to county and local governments and certain nonprofit organizations can delay cleanup and recovery work, which can elevate costs and increase problems,” the audit said.

Continue reading