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Keyword: emergency preparedness

Encourages Residents and Businesses to Plan and Follow County Updates Online

On the first day of the Atlantic hurricane season, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and his top public safety officials gathered at the Bowleys Quarters Volunteer Fire Department to outline the County’s emergency preparedness and to remind residents and businesses to plan ahead in case of severe storms.

Kamenetz and his top public safety and public health professionals outlined the County’s year-round storm preparations. “We provide our first responders with the best equipment and training available and work together with neighboring jurisdictions,” said Kamenetz. “We are prepared and now is the time for residents and businesses to make sure they are prepared as well.”

County officials encouraged people to have an emergency plan and to prepare to get through three days without power and to stock up on water, non-perishable foods, flashlights, batteries and back-up sources for electronic devices like cell phones. They suggested that residents check to see if they need flood insurance and to prepare in advance for medical and prescription needs and for pet care. More information about storm preparedness can be found on the County website at baltimorecountymd.gov/emergency.

Real-time storm updates available on the County’s website and social media platforms

Kamenetz encouraged people to go to the County’s Emergency Management Twitter feed, @BACOemergency, for updates on storm response, sheltering operations and more.

In addition, the County’s new Stormfighter web page allows people to self-report storm-related issues. The system integrates with the County’s GIS mapping technology and provides real-time visual data to assist DPW and emergency managers in responding to severe storms or other localized or regional emergencies. Stormfighter now provides a link to live traffic camera feeds from the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Coordinated Highways Action Response Team (CHART). It also offers a link to the County’s list of road closures, which names  roads that are currently closed due to repairs, accidents, weather or other hazards. This list is updated frequently, so people are advised to check back often for the latest status. State roads and interstates are not included. Information on those roads can be found on the Maryland Department of Transportation’s travel advisories and road closures web page at http://www.chart.state.md.us/incidents/index.php.   

“We have flood-prone areas around the County, and it is very important for people to keep up with storm forecasts and connect online with our County emergency managers for storm response updates,” said County Council Chair Tom Quirk.


Battalion Chief David Bycoffe
Office of Emergency Management

While Tropical Storm Hermine hasn’t quite confirmed her East Coast reservations yet, current forecasts as of midday Friday look like she’ll give the Baltimore region a pass. Even so, it’s still a timely reminder for all of us to make sure we have a plan in place to keep our families safe for any emergency that could come up.

Ready? Set? Good! logoThe Baltimore County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is closely watching the radar and continuing to prepare for the final months of hurricane season. One of the most important things to do when hurricane weather is threatening is to stay informed. We have several ways to provide you with up-to-the minute information. You can follow us on Twitter @BACOemergency or like our official Police and Fire Facebook page. Residents are also encouraged to visit our web site regularly at http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/emergency_prep/index.html  for updated information as well as tips and information on preparation.  Shelter information, evacuation orders and recovery resources will be publicized through these platforms.

No Twitter account or login is required to view @BACOemergency updates – just visit https://twitter.com/BACOemergency. As with many organizational social media accounts, the County’s emergency managers provide outgoing messages but are not in a position to respond to followers.

Hurricanes 101

A hurricane is a significant storm that typically develops in the Caribbean and moves west, often landing in the Gulf of Mexico or the eastern coast of the United States. Meteorologists separate Hurricanes from other tropical storms by wind speed, damage potential, and other technical measurements.  Hurricane season runs from May through November each year, and 2016 has already seen several named storms.

Ready? Set? Good!

There are a number of important measures you can take to prepare for a hurricane, and the best time to do it is when the skies are still clear. Families should prepare a disaster supply kit that includes a flashlight, batteries, cash and copies of critical information, such as insurance information. In addition residents are encouraged to have a supplemental power source for charging communication devices. Those living in homes with well water should have several gallon jugs of water on hand. More information on storm readiness can be found on the County website at http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/emergency_prep/index.html.

County residents are also encouraged to have a family disaster plan. This plan should include a predetermined meeting area and shelter location in case family members are away from home when the weather turns ugly. Baltimore County has several sheltering locations available throughout the County that are opened as needed during disaster events.

In addition, a family communication plan should be prepared which includes a single contact person for all members to call if separated during emergencies. If possible, choose a contact from another region not likely to be impacted by the weather event.

All Hands on Deck

The Baltimore County Office of Emergency Management is constantly preparing to respond, should our community be hit with hurricane activity. OEM believes in a whole community response to disasters, which includes multiple agencies working together to serve all of our stakeholders. This includes not only the County Fire and Police departments, but the departments of Health, Parks and Recreation, Public Works, Health and Human Services, the school system and others. We also coordinate with state and federal resources and our regional partners like BGE, the Red Cross and more. These agencies are ready to provide preparedness, response and recovery assistance to all of our citizens, visitors and business owners. This plan ensures a quick and effective response to the needs of all those we serve.

The Mid-Atlantic region is no stranger to hurricane activity. Taking the time to be prepared and informed will have a great impact on response and recovery whenever the next storm makes landfall in Baltimore County.


photo of heavy snow on awningRecommendations from the County Fire Marshall and Building Engineer…

  • Avoid walking under awnings and other lightweight canopies.
  • Make sure you are able to open your exterior doors in the event of an emergency. You may want to keep storm doors in the open position to avoid these outward swinging doors being blocked by deep snow. Try slightly opening your exterior doors to see that they operate easily.
  • Watch for overhanging snow and ice that may become dislodged and fall suddenly.
  • Avoid being under skylights where possible.
  • Clear roof drainage areas of ice and snow to avoid back up of water into down spouts that could cause ice/snow damming of roofs and gutters.
  • Maintain a path from the exterior exit doors so that you can move to a safe distance from your house in case of fire.
  • Check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide-detectors for proper operation.
  • Check on elderly neighbors and relatives.
  • If you have concerns about the safety of your home, then relocate to a safe structure. Plan ahead with a nearby neighbor to assist in relocating to another nearby home/building.

 
 
Revised September 26, 2016