Baltimore County Now
by Mark Hubbard
Baltimore County Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
For many, September means back-to-school, Fall festivals, and football. For emergency managers, it also means National Emergency Preparedness month or an opportunity to raise awareness about the community-wide threats we face that can make life inconvenient or even a bit dangerous.
As I write this article, we are watching the tropics for the typical hurricane season storms that brew and march across the Atlantic ocean. With a little luck, we hope for a quiet season but we all know that weather is one of our most typical hazards. Just a few months ago, the unexpected derecho storm of June 29 illustrated the impact on our daily lives. Days without power in the middle of Summer heat is not a pleasant situation and can even be deadly.
So what can you do? Preparedness is a team sport consisting of emergency managers and planners, government and volunteer first responders, and businesses and citizens throughout Baltimore County. Weathering the storm can be much easier with some simple steps to plan for prolonged power outages. Generally, having a battery operated portable radio and flashlights as well as storing a gallon of water per person, per day, for three days will help you get through most events. You can lean much more by visiting our web site at: http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/emergency_prep/index.html. Here you will find preparedness tips and access to our Twitter feed for updates during emergencies. Also, links to the Federal Emergency Management Agency provide planning help for citizens and businesses. www.ready.gov When weather or other emergencies do strike, Baltimore County emergency managers provide updates on Twitter @BACOEmergency.
One last thought; Baltimore County officials are actively participating with other Baltimore area governments to work with utility companies to improve storm response to severe power outages and improve communications during the response phase so emergency response teams can better direct efforts to help those communities most severely affected. Please stay tuned for more on this as the meetings progress. And from this emergency manager, thank you for being resilient after the June 29 storms. Despite severe damage and power loss, in my opinion, citizens and communities were better prepared than ever to manage the event. It proves that personal planning works so keep up the good work.
by Mark Hubbard
Director of the Baltimore County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
Ready? Set? Good!
That's the theme for personal preparedness when it comes to planning and being ready in the event of a local community or countywide emergency. Several years ago, emergency management agencies throughout the Baltimore region developed the “Ready? Set” Good!” campaign as a way to spread the word that every household is responsible for disaster preparedness.
As you may know, June 1 is the start of hurricane season. And, of course, spring and summer weather increases the risk of severe storms. These storms often cause power loss, local flooding, or other community specific problems. Navigating the recovery process can be much easier if you take a few steps to prepare.
Don't laugh, but in my garage you will find a 30-gallon trash can filled with water. Why? Because in the event of a water outage, I need a ready supply of non-potable water to flush toilets.
Generally, you should have the following emergency supplies available: a gallon of drinking water, per person, per day, for three days; a battery-operated flashlight (kept within reach); and a battery-operated portable radio. This simple kit will ease the pain of the first three days in the event of a prolonged power outage.
Many people also have portable generators, but you must be extremely careful to avoid the possibility of carbon monoxide fumes entering your home. Always operate generators outdoors and at least 15 feet from the home.
So here's your homework: Try to go three days without turning on a light switch or any electrical appliance and don't use the faucet. See my point? It's not fun.
To learn more about preparedness tips and plans, visit the Emergency Management web page at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/emergency
Have a safe and happy summer season, and let's hope for a calm hurricane season.