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Keyword: preparedness

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. 

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.

Baltimore County emergency preparedness officials remain concerned about the potential for inland flooding and fallen trees, though rainfall totals are expected to be less than feared and Hurricane Joaquin is forecast to stay off the Atlantic Coast.

Emergency managers have received regular briefings from the National Weather Service and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency since Wednesday. The current forecast calls for 2 to 3 inches of rain today and tonight, with the likelihood of inland flooding of streams, rivers and roads and some minor shore flooding in southeastern Baltimore County. Winds with gusts of up to 30 mph are forecast and could bring down trees and power lines.

The latest models show Hurricane Joaquin staying far enough off the coast that little to no rain and wind should affect Central Maryland. 

Emergency managers continue to monitor weather conditions.

Call 911 to report flooded roads, fallen trees or other weather emergencies.
       

 
 
Revised June 27, 2017