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Keyword: eoc

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

The Baltimore County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) which opened 6 p.m Friday to coordinate a multi-agency response to this historic snowstorm, remains active.

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.)

The major concerns at this time involve treatment for dialysis patients exhibiting symptoms such as swelling and shortness of breath; unoccupied vehicles blocking the roadways and impeding the progress of snow plows; and challenges in clearing snow from some side streets and cul-de-sacs.

Dialysis Patients

Emergency Management officials are concerned about dialysis patients who exhibit symptoms (swelling, shortness of breath, heart palpitations) and need treatment from their dialysis center. If you are experiencing symptoms, call 911; EMS personnel will respond and take you to a hospital.

Vehicles Blocking Roads

Our snow plow drivers report numerous unoccupied vehicles blocking roadways and preventing snow removal. Police will notified about unoccupied vehicles and will take appropriate action, which may involve towing the vehicle. Police are responsible for notifying the car owner.

Emergency Management officials encourage people to continue to stay off side streets at this time. If your vehicle gets stuck in snow, call 911 for assistance; please do not leave your vehicle unattended.

Snow Removal

Public Works crews continue to work 24/7 to clear roads of snow. Please bear in mind that this is a historic storm. If you have a medical, fire or rescue emergency, call 911. Otherwise, we appreciate your patience.

As of this morning, Public Works crews had made a single pass on the majority of county roads. Please note that this does not mean the road has been cleared, or that multiple lanes are open, or that every driveway has access to the road. The goal at this point is to make the road passable to as many motorists as possible.

Snow removal efforts are most challenging on the west side of the county at this time.

Crews will continue working through the week to clear roads of more snow.

Important reminders:

  • Responsibility for plowing or shoveling private driveways and private roads and  clearing vehicle rests with the property owner. Baltimore County DPW and Fire crews cannot plow or shovel private drivewaysm private roads or vehicles.
  • County plows cannot stop at every driveway to avoid piling snow in front of the driveway. We understand the inconvenience and appreciate your patience.
  • Plow drivers are finding it difficult or impossible to reach courts and cul-de-sacs. If you live on a cul-de-sac or court, it will take time for snow removal at your address because the County cannot plow there and must bring in backhoes or front loaders.
  • For safety reasons, avoid shoveling snow into the street. 

Contacting Us

If highways crews have not made a single pass on your street, call us at 410-887-3560; our calltakers are receiving thousands of calls, and we appreciate your patience if you have difficulty getting through. If our crews have made a single pass on your street, please do NOT call us at this time. Crews will return for additional plowing once every street has been reached at least once.

You may also email us at snow@baltimorecountymd.gov; you may not receive a written reply.

 
 
Revised June 27, 2017