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No Text Alerts during Gatlinburg Evacuations because of ‘Communications Failure’

Officials with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park say the lack of text notifications during the evacuations in Gatlinburg Monday night was due to a “communication failure” between various agencies caused by disrupted communications systems.

Some residents told WATE 6 On Your Side they didn’t receive the alert on their mobile devices and others said it was broadcast after the fire had reached the city.

A spokesperson with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park said in a release Saturday they kept the public aware of what was going on with the fires beginning at 10 a.m. Monday and the downtown Gatlinburg siren alert system was used to warn the public about the threat. Door-to-door notifications began at noon.

The command post contacted the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency at 8:30 p.m. to request an Emergency Alert System evacuation to be sent through the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). However, communications between the agencies was interrupted due to disabled phone, internet and electricity.

“Due to this communication failure, the emergency notification was not delivered as planned through IPAWS, as an EAS message or as a text message to mobile devices,” said the release from GSMNP officials.

Read full article here: http://wate.com/2016/12/02/national-weather-service-no-gatlinburg-evacua...