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Saturday, December 10, 2016

In depth....a look inside Gatlinburg.

So many questions have been asked and more questions will continue to be examined. However, we are starting to piece together where things went wrong and why things went wrong. It is much more complicated than simply blaming one person or agency. 

Let's start first on a national level...

Political problems continue to haunt the forestry service.
On 12/09/2016 The Natural Conservatory released the following statement in regards to a much hoped for fire suppression bill. The problem with this legislation is it was tied to a much broader package. 

However, this is not the first time legislation was attempted last year and had limited results.

So has does all this have an effect on Tennessee?


Compare that to what

A forensic look into what went wrong

Also on a national level, the question of could the weather service have done more? Answer is no.

"Service assessments conducted following nine major storms that occurred between 2008 and 2015 found that the ability of the NWS to protect lives during these major events was compromised due to inadequate staffing at Forecast Offices or River Forecast Centers."

Here is what we know right now. While cellphone service did go down an Amateur Radio Net was in operation.

We know that Amateur Radio was working during the fire storm. 

It appears that the only official capacity of  Amateur Radio was in assisting the Red Cross with shelters.

We also can tell that radio traffic at least among the forestry division appears to remain constant throughout the night.

Questions must be raised about the new communication tower.

Did it work correctly?

Reviewing recent county minutes, bids, and other information including FCC permit applications, we can see that the City/County just recently upgraded their emergency tower.

We can also see that they prepared for a power outage and did so by placing a RFP.  (see below)

We can tell that a lot of planning went into the new communications antenna.

NOTE G - LEASE The District entered into a ten year lease in June 2016 with City of Gatlinburg, Tennessee for land to construct a communications tower. This agreement allows for use of the tower by the City of Gatlinburg, Tennessee in lieu of rent. 

Which lead me to this

   Review and consideration for a site plan approval for the replacement of an emergency services radio communication tower for the “City of Gatlinburg and Sevier County E-911,” located at 1393 Ski View Drive, being Tax Map 136, Parcel 1.00, requested by Chief Randy Brackins. Staff presented the request to replace the emergency communications tower located on Ski View Drive in the Ski Mountain Area.  Staff noted that the request consists of the replacement of an existing emergency communication radio tower that is 100’ tall with a new tower of 180’ height.  Staff also noted that the additional height is needed to meet Sevier County E-911 needs to service the various entities throughout the County.  Chief Randy Brackins was present and noted that the FCC required the additional tower height to provide adequate separation with the radio tower equipment and antennas.  Staff further noted that the plan involves the removal of the existing tower and reconstruction of the new tower in close proximity to the previous tower.  Staff noted that there is another tower of the same height in this location and provided the Board with area photos.    
Chief Brackins noted that the tower is essential for Sevier County E-911 in the emergency communications for the County and that the new tower and additional height was required to continue to maintain and provide emergency communications in the City and County.  Staff noted that the engineering detail has been provided to depict the tower specifics as well as soils analysis for the proposed tower site.  Staff added that a survey of the tower location is currently being conducted to depict the exact new location but that the new location will not vary enough to change or impact any adjoining properties or fall zones.  After a brief discussion, Mr. Don Smith made a motion to approve the request.  Mr. Kirby Smith seconded the motion with all members voting aye.  



minutes of the gatlinburg municipal/regional ... - City of Gatlinburg

May 19, 2016 - Signatures of Ownership and Dedication, E-911, Sevier County Electric ... Commercial) District, requested by Silverbell Investments, LLC. .... radio communication tower for the “City of Gatlinburg and Sevier County ... Staff presented the request to replace the emergency communications tower located on Ski ...

Here is the FCC report...

Below is a snapshot of the bid for a generator.

So why the confusion?
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