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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.

Water and Power Outages

Water and power outages are common emergencies. Power outages often are weather-related. Water outages typically are the result of water main breaks and pumping station failure.

The Baltimore City Department of Public Works owns and operates the metropolitan water system serving Baltimore County and neighboring jurisdictions. The city handles repairs and maintenance of water mains and related infrastructure.

Preparing for Three Days

Every household, business and institution needs an emergency plan for dealing with such outages for up to three days. Most emergency management agencies across the U.S. expect citizens to prepare to get along without water or power for up to three days following a serious outage.

Water Outages

Families should have enough bottled water on hand to get through a water outage lasting up to 72 hours. According to federal standards, that is at least one gallon per person, per day, for drinking and sanitation. If you are a pet owner, purchase and store extra water for your pets. Count a pet as a person when figuring how much water you need.

If you are an elderly person or a person with disabilities, ask a family member or a friend to purchase extra water for you. If you have vulnerable relatives or neighbors, make sure they have extra water. Do not wait until an outage occurs.

A tip for citizens on the municipal water system: During an outage, pour water down your toilet bowl to flush it manually. Consider purchasing additional water strictly for flushing. In winter, melt snow on top of the stove, if possible, and pour down the toilet to flush.

FEMA provides useful information about storing water. FEMA also provides information about safe, alternative water sources and purifying questionable alternative water sources by boiling or chlorinating.

Power Outages

  • Flashlights with extra batteries are essential. Powerful battery-powered lanterns are a wise investment. Do not use candles during a power outage because of the risk of fire.
  • Portable generators are popular and useful during a power outage. But they emit deadly carbon monoxide gas and must never be used indoors. Always place generators at least 15 feet from doors and windows.
  • Some families use dry ice for refrigeration following an outage. Baltimore County does not provide dry ice.
  • Families with members who have power-dependent health needs (oxygen, dialysis and others) should have an emergency plan in place that addresses these issues.

After Three Days

After three days, Baltimore County's Office of Emergency Management may provide affected residents with emergency water or—in case of a power outage—emergency shelter.

Revised September 8, 2020         


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