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Keyword: disaster

Baltimore County businesses and residents affected by the May 27, 2018 severe flooding may apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The SBA recently made the loans available in response to a letter from Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan requesting a disaster declaration by the SBA for portions of Maryland affected by the May 27 weather event.

The SBA's press release on these loans is available here.

Disaster Loan Outreach Centers

A Disaster Loan Outreach Center in Catonsville, staffed by SBA customer service representatives, will open next Tuesday, July 31 through Tuesday, August 7. Prospective applicants for aid will be able to ask questions about the disaster loan program and receive assistance with loan applications.

Baltimore County’s Disaster Loan Outreach Center will be located at the Catonsville Senior Center, 501 N. Rolling Rd., 21228. The hours are as follows:

  • Tuesday, July 31, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, August 1, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, August 2, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Friday, August 3, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 4, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Monday, August 6, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Tuesday, August 7, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Types of Assistance

Businesses and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million through the SBA to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster.  Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered physical property damage.

Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate.

Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes.  Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

Interest rates are as low as 3.61 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for nonprofit organizations, and 1.938 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years.  Loan amount and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.


The deadline to return applications for physical property damage is September 24, 2018.

The deadline to return economic injury applications is April 25, 2019.

How to Apply

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at

Businesses and individuals may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing

Loan applications can be downloaded at Completed applications should be returned to the center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

UPDATE: September 1, 12 noon

Two Baltimore County Fire Department members working with a Federal Emergency Management Agency rescue task force are now assigned to the Angleton, Texas area, about 43 miles south of Houston.

Fire Lt. Byron Welker and Fire Apparatus Driver Operator Steve Yealdhall are assisting with Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts as part of FEMA’s Pennsylvania Task Force #1. The task force has been conducting reconnaissance, search and rescue, transport and treatment and data collection.

Three BCoFD and one Health and Human Services personnel deployed  with MD1-DMAT (Disaster Medical Assistance Team) are assigned to various locations in the flood-stricken region. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

“The people in areas devastated by Hurricane Harvey are in for a very long and difficult recovery,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “We are glad that we could provide assistance and will continue to be responsive to requests for support.”

*** Editors: We have received word that personnel assigned to various FEMA task forces generally are not permitted to send photos and video back to their home agencies. If we receive images that have been approved for sharing, we will post to our social media platforms. 

Original release:

Five Baltimore County Fire Department personnel and one Health & Human Services employee are now deployed to flood-ravaged Texas in a variety of assignments.

Two BCoFD members -- Fire Lt. Byron Welker, a rescue specialist; and Fire Apparatus Driver Operator Steve Yealdhall, a hazmat specialist -- currently are in Katy, Texas, just west of Houston. They are assigned to boat operations as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Pennsylvania Task Force #1, a team of specially trained first responders based in Philadelphia.

Welker and Yealdhall are regularly assigned to BCoFD's Texas Fire Station, home of the County's Urban Search and Rescue team.

EMS Lt. Kevin Palmer and EMS Lt. Rick Blubaugh deployed last weekend with the MD1-DMAT (Disaster Medical Assistance Team) to help provide medical care to victims of Hurricane Harvey.  They are awaiting mission specific direction at this time.

DMAT provides medical care during disasters that overwhelm health care infrastructure.

Fire Capt. John Amrhein and Terry Sapp, Coordinator of Public Health Emergency Preparedness for the Department of Health and Human Services and an EMT, deployed yesterday with the MD1-DMAT.  They are engaged in initial briefings and awaiting missions in the region.

When disasters occur, FEMA organizes special task forces across the nation and selectively activates them. It also solicits aid from agencies across the country based on specific needs.

Baltimore County has a long history of providing resources in times of national emergency. Over the years, Baltimore County Fire Department members have responded as members of federal task forces and upon request to disasters including Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 attacks at Ground Zero in New York.

"Our hearts are with everyone affected by this unimaginable disaster," said County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. "We are so grateful to be able to contribute to the recovery effort."

Two of Central Maryland’s most serious weather disasters – tornadoes and flooding – commonly occur during the spring and summer months.

Local emergency preparedness officials encourage citizens and business owners to take time now to:

  • Review their home and business emergency plans – or to develop one, if they don’t have one.
  • Familiarize themselves with where to go and what to do when tornadoes threaten.
  • Educate licensed drivers to “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” when confronted with standing water in roadways.

Flood Safety Awareness Week

The National Weather Service declared March 13 to 17, National Flood Safety Awareness Week.

Floods and flash floods take more lives than any other weather disaster. More than half of those fatalities occur when vehicles are swept away by flood waters.

The National Weather Service’s “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” campaign raises awareness about the hazards of attempting to drive through floodwaters. Visit for detailed information about this campaign and other flood safety issues.

Also, – the web site of the National Flood Insurance Program – is an extremely valuable resource about flood risks and flood insurance. The site contains the most recent information on flood maps and allows you to enter your zip code for information about your level of flood risk.

Tornado Season

Though tornadoes are usually associated with the Midwest, they are fairly common in Maryland as well. The conditions that spawn tornadoes can occur at any time of year, but especially in spring and summer.

Bookmark the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) excellent resource on tornadoes, This site includes where to go and what to do when a tornado is sighted.

Revised October 16, 2020               
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