Urges County Citizens to Be Prepared in Case of Disaster
Upper Marlboro, MD - The 2014 Hurricane Season for our region (Atlantic), officially started on June 1, 2014 and ends on November 30, 2014, with the peak of the season from mid-August to late October. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted a below-normal hurricane season, estimating 8 to 13 storms, of which 3 to 6 could become hurricanes with wind speeds of 74 mph or higher. There is no prediction of how many storms will actually hit landfall or where the storms will strike.
“Readiness is our best defense. We must plan early, prepare our homes, our families and our businesses in case of disaster,” said Ronald E. Gill Jr., Director, Office of Emergency Management. “The effects of Hurricane Sandy continue to be embedded in our minds and the level of devastation it caused with flooding, high winds and rainfall. I encourage all County residents to prepare early and take precautionary measures.”
“Flooding is one of the most common hazards that can happen anywhere, during any weather condition,” said Adam Ortiz, Director of the Department of Environmental Resources (DER). “Although most flooding occurs because of hurricane-related storms, not all floods are alike. I urge all citizens to know the risks and how to protect themselves and their property.”
Before bad weather strikes, DER suggests homeowners know their risks and determine if their property is located in a high-risk area, especially in low-lying areas, near water, behind a levee or downstream from a dam. To learn more about your flood risk, visit www.floodsmart.gov or contact DER at 301-883-5834.
Homeowners are also reminded to protect themselves and their property and to check with their insurance agent regarding flood insurance. Prince George’s County participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and a related program known as the Community Rating System (CRS). Through the County’s flood management activities and Class 5 rating under the CRS, residents can receive up to a 25 percent reduction in flood insurance premiums. For information on the NFIP, call 800- 427-4661.
In addition, homeowners should take preventive measures in their home by fixing leaks, foundation cracks, and clearing gutters and drains. To learn more about protecting your home from flooding, visit http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/disaster-insurance/protect-yourself-and-your-home-flooding/#ixzz2UtnPQ1oy.
The Prince George’s County Office of Emergency Management wants everyone to know that awareness and being prepared are essential to surviving major storms. Here are a few helpful reminders:
BEFORE A STORM
• Stay informed. Register for Notify Me Prince George’s to receive real-time information and notifications of severe weather watches, floods, significant power outages, and other storm related updates. Register by logging onto https://notifyme.princegeorgescountymd.gov or by texting 411912.
• Know the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning. A watch is issued when the threat of hurricane conditions exist within 24-36 hours. A warning is issued when hurricane conditions are specified to 24 hours or less. (Actions to protect life and property should begin immediately).
• Have emergency preparedness kits available in your home and vehicle.
• Have non-perishable foods for up to three days, 1 gallon of water per person, per day and don’t forget your medications or prescriptions.
• Ensure that your vehicles have a full tank of gas.
• Know and practice your family communications plan.
• Ensure copies of important documents are stored in a safe place.
• Have some cash on hand.
• Secure or bring inside exterior items that might become windborne.
• Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting in anticipation of a power outage. Open the doors only when necessary and close quickly.
DURING A STORM
• Please remain calm and do not call 9-1-1 unless it is an emergency. Do not go outside; flying debris from high winds is a danger.
• Try to stay in an interior room; stay away from windows or soft spots in the home.
• Use flashlights. Avoid using candles for lighting due to fire hazards.
• Never use a candle when fueling equipment such as a kerosene heater or lantern. Candle flames can ignite fumes from the fuel.
• If flooding occurs, turn off electricity at the main breaker.
• During a power outage, turn off major appliances. This will minimize losing power again through a power surge and protect the equipment when the power returns.
• Do not operate charcoal grills, propane camping stoves or generators indoors which can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
• The County also operates an automated Flood Warning System, which notifies County personnel of impending conditions, alerts residents of hazardous conditions and allows users to access data from remote locations. The National Weather Service has designated Prince George’s County, Maryland as a StormReady community. Residents can access the rainfall data in the County through the NOAA website at http://water.weather.gov/afws/county.php?state=MD&county=033
AFTER A STORM
• Do not touch fallen or low-hanging wires of any kind under any circumstances. Stay away from puddles with wires in or near them. Do not touch trees or other objects in contact with power lines to avoid electrocution.
• Call police or utility companies immediately to report hazards such as downed power lines, broken gas, water mains or overturned gas tanks.
• Avoid areas subject to flooding, including low spots, canals and streams. Do not attempt to drive on a flooded road, as motorists can be stranded or trapped. The depth of the water and the condition of the road is not always obvious; therefore, do not make assumptions.
• Be very cautious at night as it is harder to recognize flood dangers, downed wires and other hazards.
For more information about the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season, visit the (NOAA) website. To obtain information on flood prone structures, flood management, and how to purchase flood insurance, contact DER at 301-883-5810. For additional tips on how to prepare before, during or after a hurricane, contact the Office of Emergency Management at 301-780-8183.
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