Baltimore County News
By David Fidler, Baltimore County Department of Public Works
Seventeen men and women from central China recently visited Towson to learn more about the U.S. experience in land surveying, GIS, land resources management and planning. The delegation from the Henan Province Department of Land and Resources met with experts from the Baltimore County departments of public works and planning for a full day of professional exchange.
“The most discussed topic was the amount of GIS data and survey control information available from Baltimore County to anyone who has access to the internet. The members of the delegation said that similar Chinese information is controlled by the government and not given out freely,” said Pat Simon, Public Works’ Chief Surveyor.
Speaking through their translator, the Chinese officials asked about GIS in County operations, general planning operations and web applications during a lively exchange with Pat Simon, Public Works Chief Surveyor, Doug Adams, Public Works Program Manager, Wally Lippincott, Department of Planning Coordinator, Jennifer Meacham, GIS Planner, and Kui Zhao, Planning Demographer. Ms. Zhao gave her presentation in Mandarin.
From all accounts. Mr. Chen Zhisheng, head of the Henan delegation, found the exchange enlightening and memorable – especially the visit to Towson Best Chinese & Sushi Restaurant on York Road.
By Gerald Chambers, Office Automation Assistant, Baltimore County Department of Public Works, Bureau of Utilities
This holiday season, grease is definitely not the word in your kitchen.
Fats, oils and grease (F.O.G.) poured into kitchen sinks can back up the County’s sewage system. Whether you’re the holiday cook or preparing meals in a restaurant, you can help prevent health and safety problems.
The primary F.O.G. sources are everyday foods such as cooking oil, sauces, butter and shortening. These ingredients make their way into the sewage collection system through kitchen drains. Once inside the system, fats, oils and grease will cool, harden and begin to coat the inside of the sewer pipes. Over time, F.O.G. buildup will clog pipes, restrict the flow of wastewater and result in sewage overflows and/or basement backups. These overflows result in raw sewage overflowing into our streets, parks and homes, exposing the public to harmful disease-causing micro-organisms. In cases of backups on private property, the property owner is often responsible for the cleanup costs.
Here’s how to “Cease the Grease.”
- Never pour F.O.G. into your sink. Instead, put F.O.G. into a small can and store in the freezer until full. When it’s full, throw the can into the trash.
- When there is F.O.G. residue in a pan or on a dish, wipe it with a paper towel before washing and throw the towel in the trash.
- Place a strainer in the kitchen sink drain to catch food scraps and other solids, then empty the strainer into the trash.
These few simple changes every day can help keep our systems flowing all year long.
Baltimore County’s “Cease the Grease” program was created to help prevent sewage overflows and basement backups resulting from fats, oils and grease. For residential customers, Baltimore County is implementing a public education program consisting of educational outreach, informational F.O.G. flyers and a page on the County’s website. For commercial food service establishments, the County enforces F.O.G. requirements under the Food Service Facility Regulations.
For more information, call 410-887-1836 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.