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Keyword: code enforcement

Three stage pilot to target 9 neighborhoods at cost of $770,000

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced an enhanced rat eradication program this morning for nine communities in Baltimore County. The communities were selected after an analysis by Code Enforcement officials and discussions with County Council members and community leaders.  The Plan will provide intensive extermination treatment, increased trash pick-up, and educational follow-up to all homes in the pilot area.  The intensive extermination treatment will cost $170,000, as determined by a competitive bid award.  The increase in trash collection for the targeted areas will cost $600,000 annually, for a total pilot program cost of $770,000.

“We have been working closely with the County Council and community members over the past few months to take a fresh look at how the County can control the rat population,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “We believe that this multi-pronged approach will yield results, and by creating a pilot in 9 targeted neighborhoods, we can evaluate its effectiveness before expanding to other communities.”

The pilot will be comprised of three components. During Phase I, the County has selected two pest control companies to target nine neighborhoods with intensive treatment for eight weeks, with follow up treatments where needed.   Phase II will implement an additional weekly trash collection in these nine communities.   Phase III will involve working with community groups to increase education and to sponsor community cleanups. Baltimore County’s Department of Public Works will provide dumpsters to communities to assist in this effort.

“This is a really important initiative, and I am very pleased that the County will pilot the project before expanding it,” said 1st District Councilman and Council Chair Tom Quirk. “It will be interesting to see the results. It will be very exciting if we can move forward.”

“I am very appreciative that the administration has been so responsive and is willing to try a new approach to control the rat population,” said 6th District Councilwoman Cathy Bevins. “This is a real quality of life issue for families in my district, and I will be monitoring the progress of this effort very closely.”

“This is very good news for my area,” said 7th District Councilman Todd Crandell.  “A lot of people are working very hard to combat this issue, and I am pleased that the County will dedicate additional resources to this fight.”

“The Riverview Community Association, is extremely pleased with the new proposed initiatives and we are more than ready to support and work with County Executive Kamenetz and Councilman Quirk in this effort,” said Ron Whitehead, President of the Riverview Community Association.

“Code enforcement and fines alone have not been as effective as desired,” Kamenetz said. “Partnerships like this and community education must be part of the solution to our trash and rodent problems, and give us pride in our neighborhoods.” 

Over the past three years, Baltimore County has spent $100,000 and eradicated nearly 16,000 properties.

The proposal will be discussed at the County Council work session on April 25 and voted on at the Council’s May 1 Legislative Session.

photo of overloaded outletEd Riesner
 Chief Electrical Inspector

We often hear in the aftermath of a house fire that the cause of the fire was electrical. Since we all have electricity in our homes it’s easy to we feel vulnerable and helpless if you don’t understand how electrical fires get started.

Most electric fires are caused by loose connections, dryer lint, improper use of extension cords, old, non UL approved appliances, or worn out and broken switches and receptacles. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are more than 26,000 residential fires each year linked to electrical problems. In 2012, 8.3% of fatal residential fires were due to electrical malfunctions.

A little knowledge and some diligence on your part can prevent most fires in your home.

1)    Empty the dryer lint tray after each load. Lint is extremely flammable and can be ignited by the heat from the dryer.

2)    Never use extension cords as a permanent wiring method. The wires in a cord are significantly smaller than the wiring in your walls and, over time will heat up and catch fire. Also consider the use of UL rated cords and the addition of surge protected power strips.

3)    Old appliances, switches, and receptacles should be replaced periodically.* They wear out and the connections inside separate slightly. When this happens, the electricity has to jump through the air to make the connection heating the air around the connection and starting a fire.

How often to change them depends on how often the device is used. Usually, light switches should be changed every 10 years at the latest. They crack internally and dry out. You can't see the problem so it's impossible to know that it needs to be changed. Use your best judgment with switches - the older switches were more solid and actually able to withstand much more that modern switches. Receptacles are a little bit easier. When the plugs no longer fit firmly in the socket it's time to replace the receptacle. When appliance cords become worn or the appliance begins behaving badly, it's time to replace or repair it.

4)    If you have aluminum wiring in your home always have a licensed electrician make any repairs. Improper connections, or connection to devices that are not designed for aluminum wiring can start a fire.

5)    If you observe your lights continually dim then grow bright, this could be a loose connection. Contact your utility company.

6)    If you hear a sizzling noise coming from a switch or appliance; Find the circuit breaker for that circuit and turn it off. Contact a licensed electrician to check the circuit.

7)    If you smell ozone, or an unusual electrical smell, this means that something electrical is heating up. Find the source and turn it off. Call a licensed electrician.

8)    If you observe smoke or sparking contact the Fire Department.

It is always a good practice to make sure that the circuits in the breaker box are properly identified. This will help you find the source of a circuit quickly if you have an emergency.

Always check to make sure any appliance you purchase is approved by UL or some other recognized testing laboratory.

Never use unlicensed electrical contractors. Baltimore County licenses over 4400 electrical contractors who are qualified to serve you.

If you have any questions or concerns you may call 410 887-3960 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Revised September 26, 2016