Baltimore County News
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.
The 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.
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.