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Keyword: exercise

Local Emergency Management officials today conducted a winter storm preparedness exercise for agency representatives to Baltimore County's Emergency Operations Center. 

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

This exercise asked EOC representatives from Fire, Police, Public Works and other agencies to respond to a hypothetical scenario involving a serious ice storm. Concerns include power outages and difficulty or inability to clear roads.

"Our top priority during weather emergencies is the safety of our residents and visitors,” County Executive Olszewski said. “Our second priority is helping the County get back to business as quickly as possible. We understand how important this is to people, following severe snow and ice storms, to minimize time lost at school and at work.”

New Online Plowing Status Tool

During a press briefing at the exercise, County Executive Olszewski and Department of Public Works officials unveiled a new online tool that lets residents monitor snow plowing efforts during snow events. This “Snow Route Status Map” will provide a color-coded, near real-time status report on plowing activity on all of the County’s 164 snow plow routes.

“This new tool is another critical step toward increasing government transparency,” Olszewski said. “It will improve residents’ experience during significant snow events by helping people better understand where our crews are working.”

During significant snow events, residents are eager for street plowing information. The new Snow Route Status Map gives residents more direct, immediate access to the latest information regarding the salting and plowing of specific snow routes.

The status of each route is identified as follows:

  • Red. Salting and plowing have not started.
  • Yellow. Salting and Plowing is in progress.
  • Green. Operations are complete.
  • Gray. County slating and plowing unavailable. 

Data for this new tool is provided by DPW crews, who send progress reports to supervisors. Plowing times vary by snowfall event.

Staying Informed

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

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.

Information about weather-related closing information is available at https://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/News/weather/index.html

Personal Preparedness

Following national protocols, Emergency Management recommends that every household 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. 

The Baltimore County Police and Fire departments will be conducting a functional training exercise on Monday, September 30. The exercise will take place at Towson High School located at 69 Cedar Avenue, off of York Road in Towson, 21286. Baltimore County Public Schools will be closed on the day of the exercise.

The public should be aware of the increased presence of emergency response vehicles and personnel at this location beginning as early as 6:30 a.m. and ending by 3:30 p.m. Roads in the area will not be closed; however, the public is asked to avoid the school grounds during these hours so as to not interfere with the activities. This exercise will be held rain or shine.

The exercise will include simulated active shooter and mass casualty incidents inside the facility. It will allow first responders to test safety and operation tactics, as well as assess and evaluate facility response plans.

No live weapons will be used during this training.

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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Revised October 16, 2020               
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