Support for Wild Fire Families

Resources for Assistance:

Sevier County citizens and officials are reaching out to help those impacted by wildfires by offering services and assistance, including connecting them with employment opportunities, unemployment benefits, insurance adjusters, and building permit applications. A job bank is also being established to connect those who have temporarily lost their jobs with available employment. A link to the GIS map is linked below to show the areas affected by the fire and will be updated continuously.

Special Announcements:

The City has set up a new website to help centralize and organize all efforts to help those effected by the Wild Fires.

The site is: http://www.mountaintough.org/

In partnership with United Way, in an effort to centralize all phone inquiries, there has been a recovery hotline established to help answer questions concerning the recovery. Simply dial toll free 211 Monday thru Fridaybetween the hours of 7am to 6pm.

Also, Beginning Friday, national non-profit, All Hands, will be leading cleanup teams coordinated by the Volunteer Reception Center.

If you are a homeowner and know you will need help cleaning up and sifting through the debris call the hotline: 865-590-9872.

 

1) Distribution Center and Assistance

Pigeon Forge has opened a distribution center for community members at Boyds Bear/American Bandstand building, 149 Cates Lane, just before traffic light No. 10.

Phone: 865-804-1661

 

2) A Multi-Agency Resource Center will open on Monday, Dec. 12th at the former Belz Factory Mall, 2655 Teaster Lane, Pigeon Forge. The center will be open Monday-Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm. This facility will have many agencies under one roof to provide needed assistance to the victims who have lost their homes, those displaced by the fire or businesses who need help.

 THDA, HUD, Human Services, Children’s Services, TN Labor & Workforce Development, TN Highway Patrol, TN Veterans Affairs, TN Financial Institute, TN Economic Development, TN Commerce & Insurance, TN Health & Vital Affairs. In addition, the Sevier Co. Senior Center, Douglas Cherokee, Volunteer East TN, the American Red Cross, Legal Aid of TN, Safe Harbor and Safe Space.

 A list of job openings currently available in the Sevier County area will be provided by the Sevier County Economic Development Council.

 

3) EMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE

Employees:

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development has the following locations available to assist displaced workers in Sevier County.

Community Resource Center, 149 Cates Lane, Pigeon Forge (former Boyds Bear Factory)
Note: This center will remain open seven days a week until services are no longer needed.
Monday-Saturday, 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.

American Job Center, 1216 Graduate Drive, Sevierville
Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 3, 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 4, 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.

Mobile American Job Centers are a computer resource center where dislocated workers can go online and apply for unemployment insurance benefits.  Trained staff are available to assist people applying for benefits.  Workers should bring as much information as possible with them, including bank account numbers, or an address where they can receive a debit card.  Unemployment benefits cannot be issued at the mobile career centers.

Employers:

To make the processing claims as efficient as possible, it is critical employers file a MASS LAYOFF LIST at http://www.tn.gov/workforce/article/disaster-unemployment-assistance.  This list will enable the department to bypass usual investigations into claims and approve claims in the fastest possible time frame.

 

4) To Offer Employment:

Sevier County Economic Development Council

If your Sevier County business can offer temporary employment for displaced workers, please go and fill out an online form at: http://www.scedc.com/list-your-available-positions-in-sevier-county/

This is essential to the establishment of the Jobs Bank.

 

5) To file for unemployment insurance and apply for building permits:

Boyd’s Bear Countywide Supply Distribution Center

149 Cates Lane Pigeon Forge, TN

865-804-1661

Center Hours: Monday through Saturday 9am-4pm and Sunday 1pm-4pm

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance and the Tennessee Department of Labor have set up a Consumer Resource Center in Pigeon Forge. Representatives from the Department of Labor will be available to answer questions about filing for insurance and assist citizens applying for unemployment insurance. They will also have officials to provide forms to apply for building permits and provide guidance for that process for both residential and commercial buildings.

If your home has been destroyed, contact your insurance company first. Those whose homes have been lost are also encouraged to come to the Boyd’s Bear Countywide Supply Distribution Center to meet with representatives from the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.

 

6) Resources for property damage updates:

The best resource for information regarding specific property damage, including a GIS map showing areas affected by the fire. This map is linked below:

GIS Map updated Daily:

http://www.arcgis.com/apps/PublicInformation/index.html?appid=8c18c70f55ac4f81b683454fc7573d76

You can also check the Facebook page at:

https://www.facebook.com/ChimneyTops2Fire

You may also call the Call Center Relief Line: (865) 430-7384

 

7) Information for Sevier County Residents and Businesses

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), in coordination with departments of Tennessee State Government, has compiled the following information to assist businesses and residents in Sevier County as they work to rebuild their lives following the devastating wildfires and to direct those who are interested in helping our Sevier County neighbors.

For updates on the situation in Sevier County, please visit http://www.tnema.org/.

DONATIONS AND VOLUNTEERS

  • TEMA and Tennessee Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (TN VOAD) have set up a call center for information about donating goods and volunteering to help survivors of the Sevier County wildfires. The call center number is 866-586-4483. It is staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST seven days a week.

8) DRIVER’S LICENSE SERVICES

(Source: Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security)

Tennessee citizens who were impacted by the devastating wildfires can apply for a duplicate driver’s license at the Sevier County Driver Services Center, 1220 Graduate Drive, Sevierville. The center is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  In addition, the driver services mobile unit will be parked at the Coordination Center (149 Cates Lane, Pigeon Forge) Friday, December 2, Monday, December 5, Tuesday, December 6, and Wednesday, December 7, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  If you have any questions regarding license issuance, you may contact the customer service center at 866-849-3548 or www.tn.gov/safety.

 

9) FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS

Banks and credit unions in Sevier County affected by the wildfires are able to serve customers through offices in Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. These institutions are able to operate through their main offices and other branch locations not affected by the fires.  The Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions is facilitating communication between these depositories and government agencies.  To contact the TDFI Consumer Resource Section, please call (800) 778-4215 or visit www.tn.gov/tdfi.

 

10) HIRING CONTRACTORS

To protect yourself, only hire licensed contractors. Visit verify.tn.gov to ensure that a contractor is properly licensed to work in the state of Tennessee. Different types of work or work with a higher cost may require different licensure.

Before you hire a contractor:

  • Make sure the contractor is properly licensed. Write down the license number and verify that it is legitimate by visiting tn.gov.
  • Get several bids. It’s best to get at least three bids and check references.
  • Get a written contract that includes the company’s name, address, and telephone number. The contract should also include an anticipated start and completion date.
  • Never pay more than one-third down and do not let the payments get ahead of the work.
  • Make sure the contractor is insured to cover workers’ compensation, damage and general liability insurance.

When hiring a contractor, avoid:

  • A person going door-to-door selling their services.
  • A person who offers services for a short time only, which makes consumers feel rushed and unable to research the contractor.
  • Unmarked trucks or vans, or a refusal or reluctance to set out complete and specific contract terms in writing.
  • Being pressured to pay for more than half of the cost upfront.

To file a complaint about a contractor with the Board for Licensing Contractors, visit http://tn.gov/commerce/article/cont-file-a-complaint or call 800-544-7693.

 

11) HEALTH INFORMATION

(Source: Tennessee Department of Health)

Those involved in search, recovery and clean-up efforts associated with the wildfire response should be aware of increased risk of infection from cuts and scrapes. The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) is now offering free tetanus vaccinations to help those involved in these efforts. Visit http://tn.gov/health/topic/localdepartments to find your local health department. Tetanus is caused by bacteria found in soil, dust and animal waste and enters the human body through a cut or puncture wound.  Because it causes muscle spasms usually starting in the jaw, many people refer to it as “lockjaw.”  Approximately 10 percent of people infected with tetanus die each year.

The TDH also encourages all involved in moving debris from wildfires and tornados to wear protective gear. Depending on the work performed, this may include heavy gloves, eye protection, N95 dust masks, hearing protection, hard hats and other wearables.

 

12) HOUSING ASSISTANCE

(Source: Tennessee Housing Development Agency)

The Tennessee Housing Development Agency encourages landlords in areas impacted to update rental listings on TNHousingSearch.org and to offer short leases for those who have been displaced by the disaster. TNHousingSearch.org, THDA’s rental housing resource website, helps renters find housing and provides a venue for property owners/managers to list housing. The service is free for both landlords and potential tenants. Property owners and managers are invited to call 1-877-428-8844 or visit TNHousingSearch.org for assistance.

 

13) INSURANCE HELP

(Source: Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance)

Sevier County residents who need assistance filing an insurance claim are invited to visit the Community Resource Center in the former Boyds Bears building parking lot located at 149 Cates Lane in Pigeon Forge. Representatives from insurance carriers and the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance will be on hand to answer questions. The Community Resource Center will be staffed Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.

If your home has been damaged or destroyed by fire:

  • Call your insurance company or agent with your policy number and other relevant information as soon as possible. Cooperate fully with the insurance company, and ask what documents, forms and data you will need.
  • Take photographs/video of the damage. Make an inventory of the items that have been lost.
  • Make the repairs necessary to prevent further damage to your property (i.e., cover broken windows, leaking roofs and damaged walls). Do not have permanent repairs made until your insurance company has inspected the property and you have reached an agreement on the cost of repairs.
  • Save all receipts, including those from the temporary repairs covered by your insurance policy.
  • If your home is damaged to the extent that you cannot live there, ask your insurance company if you have coverage for additional living expenses incurred while repairs are being made. Save all receipts to document these costs.

If you have a dispute with your insurer about the amount or terms of the claim settlement, you can contact TDCI for assistance. Link below:

http://www.tn.gov/commerce/

 

14) MISSING PERSONS

(Source: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has established a hotline to coordinate reports of missing persons in the areas affected by the recent wildfires in East Tennessee. Those wishing to report missing individuals believed to be in the affected areas of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Wears Valley may contact 1-800-TBI-FIND. Callers should be prepared to relay as much identifying information as possible, including names, phone numbers, vehicle identification, and last known whereabouts. Recognizing the importance of accounting for individuals who may be missing, the TBI urges the public to refrain from calling to inquire about the status of personal properties in the affected areas. The information gathered by the TBI will be immediately available to law enforcement authorities in the response area for further follow-up.