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 today'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," Ringgold said; 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.