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Title: Kamenetz Recognizes Responders Serving in Florida and Texas, Unveils Enhanced EOC

County Officials Remind Residents of the Importance of Being Prepared

On the anniversary of 9/11 and with the nation focused on two historic hurricanes, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and emergency management officials today highlighted local preparedness efforts, unveiled a renovated Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and summarized the County’s ongoing efforts to assist with response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

A press briefing, held in the EOC, featured Baltimore County Fire Department (BCoFD ) personnel recently returned from deployment with Maryland 1-DMAT (Disaster Medical Assistance Team), a U.S. Health and Human Services task force, to areas of Texas flooded following Hurricane Harvey.

In addition, Fire Chief Kyrle W. Preis III provided a summary of activities by BCoFD personnel deployed to Texas and now to Florida as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Pennsylvania Task Force #1, an Urban Search and Rescue team.

The number and placement of Baltimore County personnel on these various task forces has varied since August 28. Currently, five BCoPD are in Florida to assist with recovery from Hurricane Irma – one with DMAT and four with PAT1.

EOC upgrade

The Kamenetz administration recently invested in a comprehensive upgrade to the EOC, including a $152,000 technical upgrade featuring two video walls capable of displaying up to 16 different media sources.

EOC representatives have access to GIS information; a video telepresence to internal and external resources; access to Maryland Emergency Management Agency and Web EOC information; CCTV, including CHART and Baltimore County Police’s Aviation feed; and shared information from EOC command PCs. The upgrade also included new air conditioning, upgraded emergency power and new furniture.

“Working through a disaster is difficult under the best of circumstances,” Kamenetz said. “It’s critical that our personnel have modern facilities and reliable, state-of-the-art technology. Every citizen has an interest in this investment.”

Local Preparedness Efforts

Irma, one of strongest hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic basin, is unlikely to have a significant impact on our region. However, Irma and Harvey – two Category 4 hurricanes that struck the U.S. within weeks – are reminders of the need for every community in every state to prepare.

The County’s preparedness efforts began last week – when Irma’s track was uncertain – with equipment checks and outreach to mutual aid and private and non-profit partners to ensure that contact information and agreements are current. Training for first responders occurs constantly, and EOC representatives meet several times a year for exercises designed to refresh them on processes and procedures during an activation. EOC activations occur when an emergency requires a coordinated, multi-agency response.

StormReady Community Certification

Baltimore County’s preparedness includes certification by the National Weather Service as a “StormReady” jurisdiction. StormReady communities must establish a 24-hour warning points and emergency operations center; have multiple warning systems in place; establish weather monitoring systems; promote public readiness; and conduct emergency exercises.

With hurricane and tropical storm season still at its peak, now is the time for citizens to check home emergency kits and other preparedness needs including emergency contacts, family communication plans, plans for pets, medications and water. More information is available on the County’s website at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/emergency.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017