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 Maureen Robinson
Public Information Officer, Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services
When you live in Maryland, you’re used to warm weather, but there’s warm weather and then there’s THIS. While for most of us, a heat wave is just a shirt soaking inconvenience, for some it is a very real danger. While heat-related health issues are preventable, too many die every year because they either don’t know or simply ignore easy prevention tips. During times of extreme heat, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers some easy to follow guidelines:
- Drink more fluids (non-alcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor limits your fluid intake or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink in hot weather.
- Avoid liquids that have alcohol or a lot of sugar – these actually cause you to lose more body fluid.
- Stay indoors and if at all possible in air-conditioning or visit your local shopping mall or public library. Even a few hours spent in air-conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
- Take cool showers or baths, or move to an air-conditioned place to keep cool.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Never leave children or pets in a closed, parked vehicle.
- Some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:
- Infants and young children
- Those aged 65 or older
- Those that have mental illness
- Those physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
Stay cool, stay safe!