Knoxville Sends Rural/Metro Ambulances to Hurricane Area

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Knoxville Sends Rural/Metro Ambulances to Hurricane Area

Posted: 08/31/2005
City of Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale announced today the deployment of four Rural/Metro ambulances from Knox County to the hurricane relief effort on the Gulf Coast.

The ambulances will be accompanied by eight Rural/Metro emergency medical personnel.
"In light of this national emergency, we are happy to offer this assistance to the people of the Louisiana and Mississippi gulf coasts," Ragsdale said. "We know our citizens will support this decision. If a disaster of this magnitude happened in our community, we would want others to come to our aid in a similar manner."

Rural/Metro General Manager Mike Collins said the ambulances and medical personnel will be leaving today.

Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam said the city stands ready to offer its emergency resources to assist Rural/Metro if needed.

"We're one community and it's important for us to work together and do anything we can to help each other and the victims of this national tragedy," Haslam said.

The emergency personnel have been advised to take their own food and water. Knoxville Utilities Board is providing 4,000 bottles of water to stock the ambulances. Rural/Metro is also taking its own mobile repeater, to allow radio communications.

In addition to the water KUB is donating to Rural/Metro, the utility is donating 8,000 bottles of water to the water drive being conducted by Citadel Broadcasting of Knoxville (WIVK/WNOX) and will continue bottling water to send to the affected areas as needed.
"We're doing everything we can to help the people devastated by this storm," Mintha Roach, KUB president and CEO said. "KUB released four contract crews earlier this week to assist with restoration efforts. As soon as KUB completes power restoration efforts locally, we'll clear four KUB crews and a supervisor to help in the Gulf Coast area."

Officials from numerous other emergency and law enforcement agencies in Knox County have agreed to lend their assistance should the need arise in Knox County. These agencies include the Knox County Sheriff's Office, Knoxville Police Department, Knoxville Fire Department, Rural/Metro Fire Department and the Knox County Health Department, among others.

Ragsdale said Rural/Metro is responding to a request from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) which came through the American Ambulance Association. FEMA requested 300 ambulances from across the nation.

"Rural/Metro has a national disaster response team whose sole responsibility is to deploy resources where needed in times of national crisis, so it's natural that we would be asked for this kind of help," Collins said. "Although our first responsibility is service to Knox County, Mayor Ragsdale recognized the importance of our mission and authorized this humanitarian effort."