Skip Navigation

COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates and Guidance

The County is taking a number of actions to keep residents safe and minimize the spread of COVID-19. Find status information for County operations and services.

Public Safety News

 

Baltimore County Police and Fire News

Official News Blog of Baltimore County police, fire, homeland security and emergency management. Call 911 to report crimes in progress and emergencies.
Keyword: emergency operations center

Local emergency management experts will conduct a severe storm preparedness exercise tomorrow morning, May 15, for agency representatives to Baltimore County's Emergency Operations Center. 

The exercise, hosted by the Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management, will pause at 10:30 a.m. for a press briefing in the EOC with County Executive Johnny Olszewski and the heads of agencies involved with emergency response. **Media should report to the Security Desk in the Historic Courthouse, 400 Washington Ave., 21204, to be escorted to the EOC.

The exercise will feature a realistic hypothetical scenario involving flooding from a Category 1 or 2 level hurricane impacting the County's coastal east side communities.

"Recent history shows that coastal areas like Bowleys Quarters, Turner Station and Miller's Island are extremely vulnerable to tropical systems affecting the mid-Atlantic. An effective response to these events requires preparation and partnership with our residents and businesses," Olszewski said.  

National Weather Service Meteorologist Chris Strong is scheduled to attend the exercise and present an overview of the forecast for the 2019 Atlantic storm season. Hurricane season begins June 1 and continues through November 30.

Threats to Baltimore County

Threats to Baltimore County during hurricane season include coastal flooding and storm surge, the subject of tomorrow's exercise. 

Inland communities along creeks and rivers are vulnerable to flooding during heavy rain events.

High winds with the potential to bring down power lines and trees can cause power outages anywhere in Baltimore County.

The Olszewski Administration believes it is crucial to prepare for flooding events that are becoming more frequent and intense due to climate change and rising sea levels. 

Preparation and Response

Disaster response training for first responders --including swiftwater and dive teams, helicopter rescue units and other specialized units -- occurs throughout the year. Prior to an approaching storm, routine preparedness includes equipment checks and outreach to mutual aid and private partners to ensure contacts and mutual aid agreements are current.

Exercises like the one tomorrow are held several times a year in the EOC to refresh agency representatives on processes and procedures used during an activation. EOC activations occur when an emergency requires a coordinated multi-agency response.

Public education and outreach occurs continually. "Prepared, engaged residents are essential to our ability to respond to disasters," said Jay Ringgold, Director of HSEM; the greater the number of households that assemble emergency kits, secure flood insurance and plan for pets and vulnerable family members, the better the County's ability to withstand a severe weather event.

Emergency Communications Platforms

Before, during and after emergencies, Baltimore County provides information via Twitter, @BaltCoEmergency. For those who choose not to register for Twitter, posts are shared on the County's "Stormfighter" web page.

 

 

 

 

 

a

Emergency Management officials this afternoon will conduct an exercise designed to refine the County's preparedness for winter storm emergencies.

The exercise will be held in the Emergency Operations Center and will include representatives from Public Works, Fire, Health & Human Services, Police, Aging and other relevant agencies. It asks EOC representatives to respond to a hypothetical scenario involving a serious snow/ice event.

The EOC activates for major emergencies involving a coordinated, multi-agency response.

A briefing for media representatives is scheduled at 2 p.m. Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski and top emergency management, public safety, public works and public health officials works will provide an overview of current, agency-specific preparedness issues.

"Our top priority during weather emergencies is the safety of our residents and visitors,” County Executive Olszewski said. “Training is part of preparation for events that will affect our county, sooner or later. We are committed to helping the County get back to business quickly and efficiently. We must do everything we can to ensure roads are passable as soon as possible; we recognize how important it is to minimize time lost at school and at work."

Winter Storm Emergencies

In the Baltimore region, winter storm emergencies requiring EOC activation typically involve significant amounts of snow and/or ice. Concerns include power outages and difficulty or inability to clear roads.

"With this exercise, we've designed an especially challenging, worst-case scenario involving power outages, building collapses and logistical problems responding to the needs of vulnerable people," said Jay Ringgold, Director of the Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management. "We want every agency to prepare for the unexpected and for unusual obstacles."

Emergency Management officials will use this opportunity to remind every Baltimore County household and business of the importance of personal emergency preparedness, including looking after vulnerable relatives and neighbors.

Following national protocols, Emergency Management recommends that everyone prepare to get through three days without power. Preparation should include:

  • Having flashlights and batteries on hand
  • Charging electronic devices and obtaining a battery-powered radio to receive information during extended emergencies
  • Stocking up on water, non-perishable foods, medicines, infant supplies and pet supplies

Fire and Emergency Management officials remind residents who use generators as an alternate source of power to place them a safe distance from the home to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Staying Informed

Information about weather emergencies, including snow removal, is shared on Twitter @BaltCoEmergency. Please follow us. 

For residents who choose not to use Twitter, all @BaltCoEmergency posts are shared on our "Stormfighter" web resource. Storm-related concerns and complaints may be submitted on the "Stormfighter" site.

Update: 5:30 p.m.

Baltimore County Public Works crews continue to work constantly on snow removal. The goal is still to reach most (but probably not all) county streets at least once by tonight. However, we ask constituents to be patient and to understand that this is a herculean task because of the size of the county -- we have 2,600 miles of county road -- and the huge volume of snow. It takes far longer to move 30 inches of snow than to move 15 inches of snow. There will be roads that our crews miss or cannot plow because of the conditions.

Our crews will not stop working until every road is clear. If you have a medical, fire or rescue emergency, call 911. Otherwise, we appreciate your patience; completion of this task is likely to take several days.

We are not able to provide a schedule of plowing.

Some important reminders:

  • Responsibility for plowing or shoveling sidewalks and private driveways and roads rests with the property owner. Baltimore County DPW and Fire crews cannot plow or shovel sidewalks, private driveways, or roads.
  • County plows cannot stop at every driveway to avoid piling snow in front of the driveway. We understand the inconvenience and appreciate your patience.
  • The goal at this point in the storm recovery is to reach every road once. As of this morning, Public Works crews still had not reached about 1,000 roads. We must reach these roads before we return for additional snow removal to roads that were plowed earlier.

If you have not seen a plow at all by tomorrow morning, please contact Highways using this form.

Trash & Recycling

Regarding trash and recycling: Recycling is canceled this week.Trash will be collected when and where conditions permit, until further notice. There is no alley pickup; move trash to the front curb.

Original post:

The Baltimore County Emergency Operations Center remains active as the County continues to coordinate a multi-agency response to this historic, unprecedented snowstorm.

Updates regarding snow removal and other public concerns related to the storm are posted on Twitter @BACOemergency and on our "Snowfighter" web page. (These updates appear on our other social media platforms as well.)

Concerns about Snow Removal

Please bear in mind that this is a historic storm. If you have a medical, fire or rescue emergency, call 911. Otherwise, please be patient as our Public Works and other emergency personnel continue to work 24/7 to help the County recover from this catastrophic event.

Our Public Works crews have been and continue to work 24/7 to reach all public, county roads. Crews follow a plowing schedule that prioritizes main arteries. Crews hope to reach the side streets by tonight or tomorrow. Please note that at this stage of snow removal DPW's goal is to make a road passable; we are not able to clear all lanes at this point. In rare cases, plow drivers may find a road impassable and cannot plow it.

If you wish to share a concern about snow removal, email snow@baltimorecountymd.gov. These concerns will be reviewed, triaged and shared with the appropriate personnel. Though you may not receive a written reply, your email will be read and processed.

Our non-emergency snow phone line (410-887-3560) remains open, but we ask you to use discretion in calling. We are receiving hundreds of phone calls, and our call takers are doing their best to keep up. If you call, you may receive a busy signal. Again, we appreciate your patience.

Some important reminders:

  • Responsibility for plowing or shoveling sidewalks and private driveways and roads rests with the property owner. Baltimore County DPW and Fire crews cannot plow or shovel sidewalks, private driveways, or roads.
  • County plows cannot stop at every driveway to avoid piling snow in front of the driveway. We understand the inconvenience and appreciate your patience.
  • The goal at this point in the storm recovery is to reach every road once. As of this morning, Public Works crews still had not reached about 1,000 roads. We must reach these roads before we return for additional snow removal to roads that were plowed earlier.
 
 
Revised October 16, 2020               
A new website for Baltimore County

We're working to provide you with a better experience, and want your feedback. Learn more about our project and give your feedback.