Emergency personnel break down Eastman plant explosion response


KINGSPORT, Tenn. - When an accident, like the one at the Eastman Chemical Plant happens, Jim Bean with Sullivan County Emergency Management begins to coordinate with local agencies.

"The fire department typically may respond to a perimeter, to a gate, and then the police department goes out and tries to prepare to block of of the roads," Bean says.

He says after receiving calls from concerned citizens, his team mobilized.

"All of our units responded, we got there at different intervals and began monitoring the air for any type of release and it was clear," Bean says.

In emergency situations that impact a specific area, like the Eastman explosions, reverse 911 calls will be sent to keep the community safe and informed.

"It basically works like a telephone call so, you get a call from us saying there is something that is happening and stay in your house, or whatever we could ask," says Sullivan County Public Information Officer Kristen Quon.

Quon says in the case of the Eastman incident, both Kingsport and Sullivan County sent out reverse 911 calls because of the range of the area of possible impact.

"Yesterday the emergency management director did contact us and ask us to send out a reverse 911, so that's what we did," she says.

Bean says the EPA sent teams to check air and water quality. They arrived on scene yesterday and continued their work assessing the situation today. Eastman says emissions were released into the environment, however they have been deemed not harmful.