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Be Prepared for the Effects of COVID-19 on 2020 Hurricane Season

Coronavirus Concerns May Change Sheltering and Evacuation Plans; Make Sure Your Kit has Masks, Other Safety Gear; Remember to Know Your Zone The Know Your Zone Logo. A Hurricane Icon with the Maryland State Flag image in it. Text reads "Know Your Zone It's as easy as A-B-C"

Reisterstown, Md. (June 10, 2020) — The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is updating response procedures to include COVID-19 components as it plans for the 2020 hurricane season, and encourages Maryland residents to do the same. Disasters will not wait because of the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and evacuation, sheltering, and access to essential preparedness items will be different than in years past.

“We all need to take a closer look at our hurricane preparedness because of COVID-19,” said Russ Strickland, MEMA executive director. “It is more important than ever to make sure you have a family emergency plan and be ready to follow the directions of local emergency officials.”

MEMA has been working with other state agencies, local, and federal partners to update hurricane —and all natural hazards— plans for the months ahead. Planners are working to identify shelters with less open space and more individual rooms, such as hotels and motels, apartments and rental properties.

It also may be important to allow extra time to evacuate because shelters might be farther away. As always, you are better off locating shelter with family or friends outside the expected danger zone or stay at an accommodation of your choice. But state, local, and nonprofit partners will still provide shelter options.

We also understand that many people are under financial and psychological stress because of COVID-19, and the start of hurricane season can add to that stress. One way to alleviate some stress is to prepare ahead and plan for things you can control.

Make sure you have a plan if you need to evacuate, prepare a disaster supply kit to the best of your ability, and follow weather information so you will know if a tropical weather system is headed toward the Middle Atlantic region. You should also make sure the supply kit has adequate masks and hand sanitizer for everyone in your evacuation group.

Marylanders also should Know Your Zone to see if the places you live, work or visit are in one of Maryland’s three evacuation zones. The Know Your Zone program allows local emergency officials to order evacuations by letter zones (A, B and C). To learn more about Know Your Zone or to see if you might be in an evacuation zone, please click here.

Remember that even if you are not in one of the Maryland evacuation zones, you could still feel the effects of hurricanes and other hazards. Hurricanes can spawn flash floods, severe thunderstorms, and tornadoes many miles away form the eye of the storm and 100 miles or more inland.

Here are some additional considerations while planning for hurricanes and other hazards during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • If you must evacuate, bring items such as hand sanitizer, cleaning materials, and two cloth face coverings per person. Children under 2 years old, people who have trouble breathing, and people who cannot take the cloth face covering off without help should not wear cloth face coverings.
  • Pay attention to emergency information and alerts.
  • Determine your best protection for high winds and flooding.
  • Keep in mind that your best protection from the effects of a hurricane may differ from your best protection from disease.
  • Unless you live in an evacuation zone, make a plan to shelter-in-place in your home, if it is safe to do so.
  • If you live in a mandatory evacuation zone, make a plan with friends or family to shelter with them where you will be safer and more comfortable.
  • Check with local authorities for the latest information about public evacuation shelters.
  • Only use outdoor generators that are at least 20 feet away from your home and away from windows, doors, and vents.
  • Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters.

For more information about hurricane preparedness, please visit MEMAFEMA, the National Weather Service and the American Red Cross.

To receive alerts, tips, and resources related to COVID-19 and other threats and hazards affecting or that may affect Maryland during this hurricane season and beyond, text “MdReady” to 898211.

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CONTACT:
MD COVID-19 Joint Information Center, pio.mema@maryland.gov
24/7 line: 877-636-2872


Maryland Business Emergency Operations Center Delivers Crucial Intelligence, Guidance to Maryland Businesses During Global Pandemic

Vision, Collaboration, and Reliability are MEMA’s Core Values

 

Maryland Virtual Business Operations CenterREISTERSTOWN, Md. (April 23, 2020) — During emergencies and disasters, close collaboration between the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the private sector is critical in protecting citizens and rebuilding communities. The Maryland Business Emergency Operations Center (MBEOC) is MEMA’s two-way conduit for information sharing between public and private sector stakeholders.

All Maryland businesses are encouraged to find out more information on the MBEOC and MEMA’s Private Sector Integration Program (PSIP) and to consider joining. Signing up is easy and only takes a few minutes. Please visit https://mema.maryland.gov/community/Pages/PSIP-Welcome.aspx

“Public-private partnerships are an essential component of MEMA’s vision to shape a more resilient Maryland where communities thrive,” said Russ Strickland, MEMA’s Executive Director. “Relationships must be built and fostered before an emergency, and that is essential to what we do. Our commitment to businesses in Maryland does not start with an MBEOC activation, rather, we have been working with the private sector and preparing for all hazards as part of MEMA’s Private Sector Integration Program to be ready for an emergency such as the COVID-19 global pandemic.”

The MBEOC is an operational information sharing structure created to enhance communications and collaboration with private industry partners and ensure their integration into disaster operations at a strategic and tactical level.

The MBEOC works to:

  • Assist MEMA’s State Coordinating Function Liaisons by identifying potential sources of operational support and providing situational awareness during response and recovery phases of a disaster.
  • Improve situational awareness across affected areas and facilitate information sharing between public and private sectors on existing needs and capabilities during a disaster.
  • Engage key stakeholders who can bring resources, capabilities, and expertise to support disaster response and recovery operations.
  • Coordinate requests for information about critical infrastructure sectors through through the United States Department of Homeland Security Critical Infrastructure and Security Agency’s (CISA) National Infrastructure Coordination Center (NICC).
  • Foster mutually-supportive relationships that strengthen public-private partnerships.

To this date, the MBEOC in partnership with the Maryland Department of Commerce has been able to:

  • Identify vendors for COVID-19 emergency response.
  • Coordinate donations of products and services with submitted requests of need.
  • Conduct regular coordination calls with PSIP members to share information and answer incident specific questions while coordinating with the Governor’s office and other state level elected officials.
  • Serve as the operational conduit between business and government.

During incidents the MBEOC provides a Daily Situational Report with timely information to its members in order to assist them with daily planning and emergency response operations. For a comprehensive exchange of information, the MBEOC institutes a twice a week call to engage the State’s PSIP members and grant them the opportunity to brief out operational information on industry, success stories, issues at hand, and future supply chain concerns. These calls collect information to assist with State operations and future supply chain interruption.

Below are some of the MBEOC success stories with PSIP partners:

  • Maryland Beverage Association donated Power Bars to Maryland Food Bank. Coordination occurred through MBEOC and the Maryland Department of Human Services.
  • Maryland Retailers Association encouraged the increase of the allotment of the maximum purchasing limit for childcare centers or providers with Maryland State Department of Education’s Office of Childcare.
  • Maryland Retailers Association communicated enforcement concerns about state and local executive orders.
  • PSIP Partners Walgreens and CVS approved Department of Aging government purchasing cards in their stores.
  • National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) small business partners in Maryland have been able to assist with State procurement requests, specifically tents, for temporary medical service locations.
  • Rumor control and guidance on communication to industry regarding COVID-19.

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CONTACT:
MD COVID-19 Joint Information Center, pio.mema@maryland.gov


Your Donations are Needed, Please Help If You Can

Your help is needed to keep our medical professionals safer on the front lines. Please consider safely donating, if you can. “If we all do our part to rise to this challenge and to meet this moment, we will get through this together.” ~ Governor Larry Hogan

Necesitamos su ayuda para mantener a nuestros profesionales médicos de primera línea protegidos. Por favor, si puede, considere donar de manera segura. “Si todos hacemos nuestra parte para enfrentar este desafío y enfrentar este momento, lo superaremos juntos”. ~ Gobernador Hogan

 


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Donations Needed for those risking their lives to care and provide for others. Donate Specific Items.

  • UNUSED (in original packaging):
    • N95 Masks (with or without valve)
    • KN95 Masks
    • Protective Face Shields/Goggles
    • Nitrile Gloves
    • Hospital Gowns
  • UNOPENED:
    • Bleach
    • Disinfection Cleaners
    • Sprays
    • Hand Soap
    • Hand Sanitizers
  • Wipes
  • Tyve
  • Suits
  • Rubber Boots
  • Handmade Masks*

*Handmade masks should adhere to CDC guidelines at cdc.gov.

See Locations and Times on Continuing Page

 

Donations Needed for those risking their lives to care and provide for others.

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Donations Needed for those risking their lives to care and provide for others.

Drop off Locations are open.

Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. &

Saturday – Sunday: 8a.m. – 5p.m.

Hagerstown
Mt. Aetna Retreat Center
10375 Retreat Way, Hagerstown, MD 21742
(240) 347-0575

Ellicott City
3291 St. John’s Lane, Ellicott City, MD 21042
(240) 342-6160

Silver Spring
15930 Good Hope Road, Silver Spring, MD 20905
(301) 678-3620

Cambridge
3105 Mallard Court, Cambridge, MD 21613
(410) 357-1464

Donation Facility Safety Procedures:

  • ACS Volunteers will adhere to social distancing and wear appropriate protective equipment.
  • Donations are received in a designated location.
  • All items are inspected, inventoried, and distributed.

For more information email NGS.mema@maryland.gov.

See Specific Items Needed on Previous Page

 

SE NECESITAN DONACIONES PARA LOS QUE ARRIESGAN SUS VIDAS POR CUIDAR Y PROVEER A LOS DEMÁS

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SE NECESITAN DONACIONES
PARA LOS QUE ARRIESGAN SUS VIDAS POR CUIDAR Y PROVEER A LOS DEMÁS

Donaciones de Artículos Específicos

  • SIN USO (en su empaque original):
    • Mascaras N95 (con o sin válvula)
    • Protectores Faciales
    • Gafas de Protección
    • Guantes de Nitrilo
    • Batas de Hospital
  • SIN ABRIR:
    • Cloro
    • Limpiadores Desinfectantes
    • Sprays
    • Desinfectantes de Manos
    • Paños Húmedos Desifentactes
  • Trajes Tyvek
  • Botas de Goma
  • Mascarillas Hechas a Manos*

*Las máscaras hechas a mano deben adherirse a las
regulaciones del CDC en cdc.gov.

Vea Lugares y Horarios en la página siguiente

 

SE NECESITAN DONACIONES PARA LOS QUE ARRIESGAN SUS VIDAS POR CUIDAR Y PROVEER A LOS DEMÁS

Image description:

SE NECESITAN DONACIONES
PARA LOS QUE ARRIESGAN SUS VIDAS POR CUIDAR Y PROVEER A LOS DEMÁS

LOS CENTROS DE ENTREGA ESTÁN ABIERTOS

Lunes – Viernes: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.  y
Sábado – Domingo: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Hagerstown
Mt. Aetna Retreat Center
10375 Retreat Way, Hagerstown, MD 21742
(240) 347-0575

Ellicott City
3291 St. John’s Lane, Ellicott City, MD 21042
(240) 342-6160

Silver Spring
15930 Good Hope Road, Silver Spring, MD 20905
(301) 678-3620

Cambridge
3105 Mallard Court, Cambridge, MD 21613
(410) 357-1464

Procedimientos de Seguridad de los
Centros de Donaciones:

  • Los voluntarios de ACS se adhieren al distanciamiento social y usan el equipo de protección adecuado.
  • Las donaciones se reciben en un lugar designado.
  • Todos los artículos son inspeccionados, inventariados y distribuidos.

Para obtener más información, envíe un correo electrónico a NGS.mema@maryland.gov.

Revise los Artículos Específicos que se Necesitan en la página anterior


Maryland Coronavirus (COVID-19) Rumor Control Page Launches

Empowers Marylanders to Call Out False Information, Promote Facts

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (April 7, 2020) —The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), in partnership with the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), and the Maryland Department of Information Technology (DoIT), today launched the Maryland Coronavirus (COVID-19) Rumor Control Page.  Marylanders are encouraged to visit the page at Bit.ly/Md-Covid19-Rumors.

“As part of the State Response to COVID-19, MEMA stood up its Joint Information Center to provide the right information to the right people at the right time so they can be empowered to make the right decisions,” said Jorge E. Castillo, MEMA’s spokesperson.  “We have been dispelling rumors and providing factual information since then, and we want Maryland residents to be able to participate in the process by helping us identify rumors and false information that could unnecessarily cause panic or worse, result in decision making that could lead to severe injuries or even death.”

Maryland’s Rumor Page allows visitors to:

  • Read through several existing rumors and find the correct information in a variety of topics, including
    • The Novel Coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19
    • Maryland and Federal Government Orders
    • Supplies
    • School / Education
  • Subscribe to updates to be notified immediately once a new rumor has been identified and dispelled.
  • Ask a question.
  • See a digest of trusted sources and see their latest and most relevant social media posts in real time.
  • Share the page easily to Facebook, Twitter, email, and more.

“If you see something, say something,” continued Castillo. “You can say it by clicking on the Submit a Rumor button on the right side of the page.”

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CONTACT:
Maryland COVID-19 Joint Information Center: pio.mema@maryland.gov


Hours Expand for Medical, Cleaning Supply Donations

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (April 2, 2020) — Disaster relief agencies have extended the operating hours of the four locations around the state to accept donations of specialized medical equipment and some cleaning supplies to support COVID-19 response efforts. Maryland Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) and the Adventist Community Services (ACS) have partnered to coordinate the collection and dissemination of these vital supplies. These efforts are in support of and in coordination with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency and other state agencies who are responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The four donation drop-off locations in Maryland, with contact information for those with questions, are as follows:

  • Cambridge – (410) 357-1463: 3105 Mallard Court, Cambridge, MD 21613 Visible from Route 50. Drop off in the parking circle.
  • Ellicott City – (240) 342-6160  3291 St. John’s Lane, Ellicott City, MD 21042
  • Hagerstown – (240) 347-0575: Mt. Aetna Retreat Center, 10375 Retreat Way, Hagerstown, MD 21742 May also be listed as 21905 Mt. Aetna Road.
  • Silver Spring – (301) 678-3620: 15930 Good Hope Road, Silver Spring, MD 20905  Corner of Route 198 and Good Hope Road. Entrance right off of Good Hope Road, lower parking lot.

The updated hours for these locations are:

  • Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Saturday & Sunday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Officials will ONLY accept the following items:

  • Unused N95 masks with or without valve
  • Protective face shields/goggles in original packaging
  • Unused nitrile gloves in original packaging
  • Unused hospital gowns in original packaging
  • Tyvek suits
  • Rubber boots
  • Bleach – must be unopened and unused
  • Disinfectant cleaners, sprays, and wipes– must be unopened and unused  
  • Hand soap
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Respirators
  • Surgical Caps

Handmade, prototype, or unapproved personal protective equipment WILL NOT be accepted. Food and household donations also WILL NOT be accepted. In addition, DO NOT bring cash to these locations. Residents are encouraged to send monetary donations to local nonprofits and churches for support during this challenging time.

ACS volunteers will be wearing appropriate protective equipment (such as masks and gloves) when donations are received and will adhere to all social distancing guidelines. A specific identified place at each location is designated to receive donations. Items will then be inspected, inventoried, and distributed.

The warehouses are being operated in compliance with all orders from Governor Larry Hogan, which allows for the operation of  “any non-profit organization or facility providing essential services to low income persons, including, without limitation, homeless shelters, food banks, and soup kitchens.“

The following information can also be found in Spanish, here. An accessible Spanish document is available upon request.

Members of the public with any questions about this program should contact ngs.mema@maryland.gov.

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CONTACT:
MD-COVID-19 Joint Information Center, pio.mema@maryland.gov, 410-517-5199


Voluntary Disaster Relief Agencies, MEMA Partner to Provide Drop-off Sites for Medical, Cleaning Supplies Donations

Reisterstown, Md. (March 29, 2020) — Disaster relief agencies are partnering to open four locations around the state to accept donations of specialized medical equipment and some cleaning supplies to support COVID-19 response efforts. Maryland Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (MD VOAD) and the Adventist Community Services (ACS) have partnered to coordinate the collection and dissemination of these vital supplies. These efforts are in support of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency and other state agencies who are responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“I would like to thank the voluntary organizations active in disaster for assisting Marylanders in this time of need,” said MEMA Executive Director Russ Strickland. “This network of donations centers allows the community to help those on the front lines of fighting this virus. We could not respond to the challenges of COVID-19 without a whole of community effort.”

Officials will ONLY accept the following items:

  • Unused N95 masks with or without valve
  • Protective goggles in original packaging
  • Unused nitrile gloves in original packaging
  • Unused hospital gowns in original packaging
  • Tyvek coats and bodysuits
  • Bleach, Lysol, cleaning supplies – must be unopened and unused
  • Face shields
  • Hand sanitizer

Handmade, prototype or unapproved personal protective equipment WILL NOT be accepted. Food and household donations also WILL NOT be accepted at these locations. Also, DO NOT bring cash to these locations. Residents are encouraged to send monetary donations to local nonprofits and churches for support during this challenging time.

The four donation drop off locations in Maryland are:

  • Cambridge: 3105 Mallard Court., Cambridge, Md. 21613 Visible from Rt. 50. Drop off in the parking circle.
  • Ellicott City: 3291 St. John’s Lane, Ellicott City, Md.. 21042
  • Hagerstown: Mt. Aetna Retreat Center, 10375 Retreat Way, Hagerstown, MD 21742 May also be listed on GPS as 21905 Mt. Aetna Road
  • Silver Spring: 15930 Good Hope Road, Silver Spring, MD 20905 Corner of Route 198 and Good Hope Road. Entrance right off of Good Hope Road, lower parking lot

Locations will be open:

  • Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday hours are 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

ACS volunteers will be wearing appropriate protective equipment (such as masks and gloves) when donations are received and will adhere to all social distancing guidelines. A specific identified place at each location is designated to receive donations. Items will then be inspected, inventoried, and distributed.

Members of the public with any questions about this program should contact ngs.mema@maryland.gov

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CONTACT:
MD-COVID-19 Joint Information Center, pio.mema@maryland.gov, 410-517-5199


MEMA Holds Continuity of Operations Workshop with State Agencies to Support Planning Efforts

Workshop Part of State’s Preparedness Efforts for COVID-19

Reisterstown, Md. (March 3, 2020) — The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) held a planning workshop today to assist State agencies in the revision and update of their continuity of operations plans (COOP). The planning workshop is part of the State’s continued response to COVID-19.

“Community transmission of COVID-19 has the potential to disrupt the important work of state agencies because of absenteeism and the need for social distancing,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “With this workshop we were able to help agencies review their plans and procedures to ensure they can continue to provide vital services to our residents during a public health emergency.”

Continuity of operations plans are developed to allow for continuation of essential services in spite of disruptions, such as extended loss of power, internet connectivity, loss of facilities, high employee absenteeism, or the need for social distancing. Agencies develop plans that include procedures such as working from alternate locations, finding backup power or internet connectivity, and accommodating increased use of telework or telecommuting.

“While we are looking at this from a state agency perspective, developing COOP plans is important for everyone,” said MEMA Executive Director Russ Strickland. “Individuals, businesses, and organizations should always have plans in place, and they should practice their implementation before they are needed. That need is heightened because of the potential disruption from COVID-19.”

State agencies continue to prepare for COVID-19. They began coordinating efforts in early January and will continue to do so as the threat of COVID-19 to Marylanders evolves. Agencies have worked to jointly identify capabilities and develop plans to respond to infectious diseases. Collectively, agencies are leaning forward to not only respond to COVID-19 but also to ensure that they can continue to deliver critical services to the public.

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CONTACT:
Jorge Castillo, jorge.castillo@maryland.gov, 443-381-3518
Ed McDonough, ed.mcdonough@maryland.gov, 410-446-3333
24/7 line: 877-636-2872

Governor Hogan Proclaims Inaugural Maryland Winter Safety Week

MEMA, FEMA, National Weather Service, State Agencies Partner to Increase Public’s Awareness of Winter Hazards  

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (December 2, 2019) —The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is partnering with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Weather Service (NWS), the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDoT SHA), the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), the Maryland State Police (MSP), and local and state emergency management coordinators to encourage all Marylanders to learn more about winter safety and the importance of winter emergency preparedness. Maryland Winter Safety Week extends from December 2 through December 8, 2019. An official proclamation will occur on Monday, December 2 at the MDoT SHA Annapolis District Office. Accompanying the proclamation officials will host a press conference with representatives of each of these state agencies.

“Winters in our state bring frigid temperatures, intense winds, dangerous ice, and heavy snow, so I urge Marylanders to start preparing now,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “By being prepared, staying aware, and using common sense, we can all enjoy the winter season.”

According to the Maryland Department of Health, since the winter of 2013-2014, there have been 208 cold-related deaths in Maryland.  This includes 61 cold-related deaths in the 2017-2018 winter season and 54 cold-related deaths during the 2018-2019 winter season. Thirty percent of these deaths occurred in Baltimore City alone.

Further, a 2014 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that of the nearly 11,000 weather-related deaths reported nationally between 2006 and 2010, 63 percent were attributable to excessive natural cold.

“If history is any guide, it’s likely that our state will experience some severe winter weather over the next few months,” said Russell Strickland, MEMA’s Executive Director. “Our message is simple: Make preparations now so you can avoid the last minute rush for snow shovels, salt, and other winter essentials, but most importantly, be informed, and be prepared.

Among the several hazards that winter weather brings are the health risks posed by sustained exposure to extreme cold. It can lower body temperature, weakening the immune system, and it can aggravate chronic diseases like asthma, arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular and lung disease, and mental illness, among others.

Thousands of people are also at risk indoors if their power has been shut off, or they do not have the financial means to increase the temperature in their home.  For those with chronic diseases, a cold interior may be a dangerous environment. Cases of carbon monoxide exposure peak during the winter, when people are more likely to use generators, stoves, and home heating systems that may not be properly maintained. If it is unsafe to  run a gas lawnmower or a car in a given space, it is also unsafe to run a portable generator.

MEMA and other state partners have gathered a number of winter preparedness and safety tips that will be shared throughout Maryland Winter Safety Week and the winter season through our social media channels. Here are some of the highlights:

  • When cold weather hits, you should check on the welfare of family, friends, and neighbors who are particularly vulnerable to cold, snow, and ice – this may include the elderly and those with access and functional needs.
  • Build a home preparedness kit that includes winter supplies such as snow shovels, ice melting products, extra warm clothes and blankets, flashlights, and batteries.
  • Follow a trusted weather source, such as the National Weather Service and local news media, to be aware of any predicted frozen precipitation or severe cold temperatures.
    • Sign up for Emergency Alerts in your area and determine how you will receive information if you are traveling out of town.
    • Visit Ready.gov/alerts for more information on emergency alert options.
  • Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter travel
    • Check and winterize your vehicle, including all fluids, wiper blades, lights, and systems before the winter season begins.
    • Have a car emergency kit in your vehicle.
  • Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
  • Identify your pet with up-to-date name tags and rabies tags; include your cell phone number on the tag. Or, your pet can be microchipped, and most vets or animal control agencies can scan the chip to help locate the owner.
  • Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.
  • Leave the heat on in your home and set the thermostat to no lower than 50° Fahrenheit If you will be going away during cold weather.
  • Practice safe cooking behaviors since cooking is the biggest cause of home fires and fire injuries.
  • Consider using battery-operated flameless candles. They look and smell real! Learn more about candle fire safety from the U.S. Fire Administration at www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/holiday.htm

In addition to these tips, please check out this winter preparedness tip video (bit.ly/Winter-Preparedness-Tips) on our YouTube Channel.  Additional information about winter preparedness can be found on our website (www.mema.maryland.gov), our Twitter feed, our Facebook page, our LinkedIn page and our YouTube site.

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CONTACT:
Jorge Castillo, jorge.castillo@maryland.gov, 443-381-3518
Ed McDonough, ed.mcdonough@maryland.gov, 410-446-3333
24/7 line: 877-636-2872


As Thanksgiving Approaches, MEMA Reminds Maryland Residents it is Maryland Travel Safety Week

Focus is Year-Round Safety on All Transportation Modes 

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (November 21, 2018) — The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has been promoting Maryland Travel Safety Week in an effort to ensure that residents are equipped with the latest travel safety information as we approach the busiest travel week of the year. MEMA would like travelers to remember two things:

  1. Know Before You Go.
  2. If You See Something, Say Something.

“While next week is one of the busiest travel weeks of the year, we should always be mindful of safety as we move about,” said MEMA Executive Director Russ Strickland. “By paying attention to your surroundings and taking common sense precautions, safe travel can be a year-round proposition.”

MEMA designated November 18 – 24 as Maryland Travel Safety Week in preparation of the beginning of holiday travel to encourage safe travel all year on all modes of Transportation.  MEMA encourages travelers to learn about safe travel practices whether using roads, air or rail, and as pedestrians and bike riders.

MEMA encourages Marylanders to review some of these simple practices recommended by safety specialists covering a variety of transportation methods and to remember, Know Before You Go – Do not leave your house for travel uninformed, unprepared, and hoping to learn about travel conditions and your destination while en route:

Safety tips when traveling by motor vehicle

  • Know Before You Go.
  • Allow extra time for travel due to increased traffic and congestion.
  • Stay alert and give driving your full attention.
  • Show courtesy to other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists and don’t drive aggressively.
  • Comply with traffic laws and heed all traffic signs, signals and markings.
  • Make sure all passengers are using seat belts and car seats properly.
  • Make sure to have an emergency kit in your car with jumper cables, snacks, bottled water, and seasonally appropriate items like blankets and sand, or cat litter.
  • Be especially careful in work zones and remember to always pull over one lane (if safely possible) or reduce speeds when emergency or service vehicles are on the shoulder.
  • Motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear U.S. DOT-approved helmets. Drivers must wear eye protection, as well.

Other information for safe travel on the roads is available from the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration or  AAA Mid-Atlantic. For information about safety on Maryland toll roads, bridges and tunnels, please visit the Maryland Transportation AuthorityMDOT SHA also has motorcycle safety tips. For safety tips related to large commercial vehicles and intercity (non-transit) buses, please visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Safety tips when travelling by taxi or rideshare

  • Know Before You Go.
  • Ask ahead for the typical price and tipping range.
  • Call for a taxi instead of hailing one.
  • If using a shared ride service like Uber, Lyft, Curb, or Via, make sure you verify the correct driver before getting into the car.
  • Look for a meter, a radio, a badge, and a door handle.
  • Sit in the backseat – not in the passenger seat.
  • Keep expensive items hidden and keep your things close.

Here are taxi safety tips from the Travel Insurance Review and here is a link to the taxi riders consumer bill of rights from the Maryland Public Service Commission.  Safety.com offers these tips for those using rideshare services, which often are not regulated in the same way as taxi service.

Safety tips when travelling by air

  • If you see something, say something. 
  • Go to your nearest airport employee and let them know what you’ve seen or heard.
  • Be on time, allow time to get through the security checkpoint and build in time for  possible schedule changes.
  • Always stay alert and watch your bags and belongings.
  • Don’t let anyone but uniformed airline personnel handle your bags.
  • If you need help navigating the airport, check with the information desks or airport or airline employees.
  • Be aware of what can and cannot be carried with your carry-on bags and luggage.

Other information for safe air travel can be found from Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and the Transportation Security Administration.

Safety tips when traveling by railroad

  • If you see something, say something.
  • Go to your nearest train station employee and let them know what you’ve seen or heard.
  • Always stay alert and watch your bags and belongings.
  • Watch your step when boarding and leaving the train and moving from car to car.
  • Never attempt to board or exit a moving train.
  • Make sure you familiarize yourself with the safety card found in most seat backs.
  • Arrive at least 30 minutes before your train is due to depart. Some stations require additional time.
  • Report any suspicious behavior to police, station personnel, Amtrak Police or by calling 1-800-331-0008.

More information about intercity rail travel safety can be found from Amtrak or the Amtrak Police. The Federal Railroad Administration has information for motorists and pedestrians at railroad crossings.

Safety tips when using public transportation (bus, subway, light rail, commuter rail)

  • Know Before You Go.
  • Check schedules ahead of time and leave sufficient time to make appropriate connections.
  • Download apps that allow you to check arrival times and pay fares.
  • Always keep jewelry and other valuables out of sight and if your pocket is picked, yell out immediately to warn others. Don’t be afraid to shout. Tell the train or bus operator and request the police.
  • Pay particular attention to your electronics, such as cell phones, tablets and laptop computers.
  • Use caution when on rail platforms and at bus drop offs, especially when surfaces are wet or icy.

Here are some safety tips from the Maryland Transit Administration, which operates the bus, commuter bus, subway and light rail system in the Baltimore area and MARC commuter trains; and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Administration, which operates Metro bus and rail service in the Washington, D.C. area.

Safety tips for pedestrians

  • Know Before You Go.
  • Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks whenever possible.
  • Always stop at the curb and look left, right and left before crossing a street and watch for cars turning in or leaving driveways.
  • Wear light or bright colored clothing or reflective items, especially after sunset.
  • Pay attention and take off headphones while walking – no texting or playing games.

The MDOT State Highway Administration has more safety tips for pedestrians, as does the Federal Highway Administration.

Safety tips for cyclists

  • Know Before You Go.
  • Stop at all red lights and stop signs.
  • Ride defensively – expect the unexpected.
  • Ride with traffic, never against it.
  • Use hand signals when turning or stopping.
  • Never ride more than two abreast.
  • Stay visible when riding at night and during inclement weather.
  • Wear a helmet correctly.

MDOT SHA has additional bicycle safety tips, as does the Federal Highway Administration.

Safety tips for travelling on the water

Whether piloting your own recreational boats, or travelling on a passenger vessel (cruise ship or ferry), here are some important safety tips:

  • Know Before You Go.
  • Never allow passengers to ride on the bow, gunwale, transom, seat backs, or other spots where they might fall overboard.
  • Wear your engine cut-off switch lanyard and your life jacket at ALL times. If the lanyard is removed from the switch, the engine will not shut off.
  • Children under 13 must wear a United States Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Device  while underway on a recreational vessel under 21 feet in length.
  • For maximum safety, ALL persons on recreational boats should wear approved Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs).
  • On passenger vessels, follow all safety directions, read prepared safety material, and participate in all life safety drills.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has specific information for recreational boats travelling in Maryland waters, including kayaks and rowboats.. The United States Coast Guard also has boater safety information. The Maryland Port Administration has information for people travelling out of the Baltimore cruise ship terminal. The Cruise Critic also has some tips for travelling safely on cruise ships.

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CONTACT:
Jorge Castillo, jorge.castillo@maryland.gov, 443-381-3518
Ed McDonough, ed.mcdonough@maryland.gov, 410-446-3333
24/7 line: 877-636-2872


Damaging Winds, Possibility of Tornadoes May Impact Maryland

Storm map showing most of Maryland can expect severe weather

Severe Weather Expected Mid-Afternoon Through Evening

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (October 31, 2019) —The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is advising Maryland residents to monitor weather forecasts as severe weather enters the area this afternoon and throughout the evening tonight.

According to the National Weather Service, here is what we can expect:

  • There is a risk of damaging thunderstorms and isolated tornadoes statewide, primarily west of the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Wind gusts could down trees and power lines.
  • Severe weather is expected to move to the state beginning mid-afternoon and potentially last until around midnight tonight.
  • Gale Warning for the Chesapeake Bay is in effect this afternoon through tonight.
  • Moderate tidal flooding is possible in Anne Arundel & Baltimore Counties, while minor tidal flooding is likely for most locations along Chesapeake shoreline, but not the Atlantic shoreline.
  • Since it is Halloween, these hazards could directly impact those who are outside.

Residents are advised to:

  • Heed all warnings and stay indoors during severe weather.
  • Closely monitor updated weather forecasts and be sure to have a way to access local forecasts and warnings.
  • If you or your family have plans to go out trick-or-treating, make sure your mobile devices are fully charged so that you can receive the latest warnings in your area, including tornado warnings.
  • Let friends or family know of your travel route and expected arrival time.
  • Know who to contact in the case of a power outage. Emergency phone numbers for utility companies can be found here.
  • Follow MEMA and your regional National Weather Service (NWS) social media accounts for localized forecasts.

MEMA will continue to provide updates as they become available. Traffic, weather, and power outage alerts, as well as winter preparedness information, can be accessed on MEMA’s website. You can also follow MEMA on TwitterLinkedInYouTube and Facebook for updated information.

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CONTACT:
Jorge Castillo, jorge.castillo@maryland.gov, 443-381-3518
Ed McDonough, ed.mcdonough@maryland.gov, 410-446-3333
24/7 line: 877-636-2872


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