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Baltimore County News

Stay informed of what's happening in Baltimore County.
Date: Mar 2014

photo of caregiver and elderly gentlemanMichelle Bruns
Caregiver Connection Manager, Department of Aging

Frustration, fear and feelings of being overwhelmed are a large part of caregiving for a loved one.  Sometimes you feel like you are isolated and there is no relief in sight.  Baltimore County Department of Aging understands your feelings and seeks to provide resources and tools to empower and care for yourself.

Plan ahead for your loved one’s safety and security by attending this year’s BCDA Caregivers Mini-Conference.  Doors will open at 8:45 a.m. and close around 12 noon on Saturday, April 5 at the Catonsville Senior Center, 501 N. Rolling Road, Catonsville 21228. There is no admission charge. A light breakfast and beverages will be served. Guest speakers will inform the audience about basic legal considerations, safe driving tips and transportation alternatives, and proper hands-on care techniques. Resource tables highlighting BCDA will be available throughout the morning, staffed by specialists in the field of aging and disabilities.

Here are some comments we heard from last year’s conference:

“I attended the Annual Caregivers Mini-Conference with my mother because she is the primary caregiver for my father, her husband of 56 years. She and I had been overwhelmed with his stubbornness to accept additional care and help for his increasing medical needs,” stated a family caregiver after last year’s BCDA Caregivers Mini-Conference.

photo of woman and her mother“The conference was very helpful in the way we learned about new resources and tips to bolster his acceptance of care. To see my mother more positive about her caregiving was priceless to me, as her only daughter. We went in to the conference feeling burned out and came out with new suggestions and a brighter attitude about our situation.”

If you are a family member caring for an older adult in the Baltimore area, you owe it to yourself to come out for half a day to refresh yourself in your role as caregiver. All are welcome. No pre-registration; just come that day! For more information, contact 410-887-4724.

St. Patricks day emblemDave Goldman, Chief
Bureau of Behavioral Health
Baltimore County Department of Health

On St. Patrick’s Day, it is customary to wear green clothing and honor Irish traditions. On the college scene, wearing green is optional, but drinking green beer – now that’s another story.  The Urban Dictionary calls St. Patrick's Day the most important “alcoholiday” of the year. The trend to use March 17th as an excuse to drink excessively has gained popularity over the years and for some, has become an accepted norm. 

The availability of drinking games, inexpensive drink specials, and failure to check IDs on St. Patrick’s Day  promotes underage and high-risk drinking among patrons of all ages.  Local bars, taverns and restaurants, however, can be a part of the solution to this phenomenon - not just on St. Patrick’s Day, but all year long by exhibiting responsible practices in their sales and service of alcohol. Our County Liquor Board works actively with bar and liquor store owners to offer training and ensure compliance with all applicable laws. 

The list of potential problems caused by underage and high-risk drinking should be the impetus for communities to work together to curb underage and high-risk alcohol consumption.  It is well known that alcohol diminishes inhibitions and affects judgment, which can lead to a variety of poor choices, including unplanned sexual activity, aggressive behavior, academic problems, etc.

So please don’t let this St. Patrick’s Day be another time you “look the other way” when you see festively dressed minors congregating outside of a bar. Do our County a favor and support the efforts of the Baltimore County Combating Underage Drinking Coalition. The Coalition is working to reduce youth access to alcohol, increase community recognition of the associated problems, and pursue policy change regarding underage and high-risk drinking. The Coalition meets monthly and community members are welcome.  For more information about the Coalition, call the Baltimore County Department of Health at 410-887-3828.

image of a mobile phone dialing 9-1-1Jason Bivens, Assistant Chief
Baltimore County 9-1-1 Center

Ever call 9-1-1 in an emergency and wonder why the call taker asks so many questions? You can rest assured that answering questions does NOT delay your help. The dispatcher is generally already sending help while your call taker gets additional information from you. Baltimore County 9-1-1 call takers are trained to ask questions that will help you get the assistance you need as quickly as possible.

Here’s some background on how the 9-1-1 Center works and some important tips to help us help you as quickly as possible.

It is important to stay on the line until you receive instructions to hang up.  

When you call for assistance, remember to dial the most appropriate number based on what you are reporting:

EMERGENCY: Dial 9-1-1

Non-Emergency: Dial 410-887-2222

When you call, we will verify your address or location, get your contact number, and ask some initial questions to determine the nature of the incident and what equipment and emergency response is needed to best help the situation.

AFTER sending your information to the appropriate dispatcher we will ask several additional questions to get more specific details for responding units and we will provide important instructions to you prior to their arrival.  Our highly trained call takers provide potentially life-saving instructions like how to perform CPR, control bleeding, deliver a baby or do whatever the situation demands until help arrives. If you are in danger, you may be instructed to leave the building, secure yourself in a room, or take other protective actions.

While you might not understand why we ask certain questions, or it may seem trivial to you, know that they are for your safety and that of the responders coming to assist you. Please try to keep your answers focused on the question and as brief as you can; we will ask more questions if needed. 

Don’t guess or assume answers – if you really don’t know, then tell us that. 

Don’t withhold information – if you know who a suspect is but you don’t want to say, you could be seriously jeopardizing the safety of an officer.

Call volume in the 9-1-1 Communications Center fluctuates through the day. At any time, we can receive numerous high-priority calls, or perhaps several calls regarding a single incident. This may mean you receive a recorded message. Please, DO NOT hang up! Your call will be answered by the next available call taker.

If you mistakenly dial 9-1-1, please do not hang up before the 9-1-1 call taker answers the phone. The information from your phone still enters our system, and if you aren’t on the phone when the call taker answers, our policy is to send an officer to your location to ensure that you are safe. If you change your mind about needing assistance, stay on the line and explain that to the 9-1-1 call taker. The time spent calling people back who have inadvertently dialed 9-1-1 takes time away from people who need emergency help.

Here are some basic tips for calling 9-1-1. Reading these now may help you if an actual emergency occurs:

1.     Stay calm. Speak clearly. Emergency units (police, fire or ambulance) rely on the information you give to get to you as soon as possible and to be able to help you.

2.     Give your address or location and phone number.  Your address or location is vital information, and we cannot send help if we don’t know where you are.

3.     Quickly and briefly describe your problem. As soon as we know what you need, we will know who to send to help you (police car, ambulance or fire truck). Get to the point as soon as possible.

4.     Describe yourself and/or the suspect. Tell the 9-1-1 call taker where you are and what you look like, including what you are wearing. We want officers who are arriving on the scene to know who they can contact and that you are not a potential suspect. In appropriate situations you will be asked to describe the suspect including race and age.  These questions are not a determinant of whether or not a police officer will be sent but rather to provide the police officer information on what the suspect looks like. 

5.     Listen to the 9-1-1 call taker. Answer their questions and follow any instructions. Remain on the line until the 9-1-1 call taker says it is okay for you to hang up.

6.     Remember: Answering questions does NOT delay your help. At times the dispatcher is sending units while your calltaker gets additional information from you.

YOUR safety is our number one concern.


Revised April 6, 2016