Emergency Preparedness

CPOD Exercise 1About Emergency Preparedness 
This program is responsible for the development and maintenance of our County Emergency Operations Plans and provides emergency planning, training and citizen awareness for domestic preparedness initiatives. Specific functions include:
  • Write and update all-hazards emergency plans
  • Revise, update and maintain resource lists
  • Develop and implement shelter and mass-care plans
  • Facilitate evacuation procedures
  • Perform emergency exercises
  • Administer grant projects for response and recovery efforts

Preparedness Information

Be Prepared for Any Emergency

When an emergency or disaster strikes, will you and your family be prepared? Emergencies range from floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and winter storms to hazardous waste spills and terrorist attacks. So take this opportunity to share information on our website with your family. Everyone is susceptible to the possibility of emergencies. It doesn’t matter where you live. What does matter is whether or not you’re prepared.

The Department encourages every resident to become aware of emergencies that could impact them. Information on this website will help better prepare you and your family in the event of a major storm or other emergency. You will be instructed how to put together a home emergency supply kit, make any emergency plan, learn about sheltering in place or going to emergency shelters, and other important preparedness information.

Here are some simple steps to take around your home:
  • Check and change the batteries in smoke alarms and replace alarms that are more than 10 years old.
  • Organize and practice a family fire drill.
  • Locate the utility mains for your home and know how to manually turn them off.
  • Post a list of emergency phone numbers next to the telephones in your home.
  • Cordless phones won’t work if the power is out. Be sure to have a regular telephone to plug in.

Emergency Preparedness

Stay Informed - Emergency Management News

In order to be prepared you must “Stay In Touch.” This means plugging in to various media and keeping up to date on what is happening. Check all types of media – websites, newspapers, radio, TV, e-mails, mobile and land phones – for national and local information. During an emergency, the Emergency Services office provides information on shelter openings and evacuation orders. The Department of Emergency Services utilizes social media to provide updates on breaking. Please visit our Facebook and Twitter pages; access is on our home page.

Buy A Weather Radio
We encourage our residents to purchase a NOAA Weather Radio. Hazard alert radios have greatly enhanced the ability to be ready for weather events and some civil emergencies. By having a NOAA Weather Radio, you ensure your family receives timely alerts to Weather Watches and Warnings.

Caroline Connect (Emergency Notification System)
Caroline Connect, our Emergency Notification System, is designed to enhance emergency preparedness by notifying citizens and businesses of emergency situations that may require time-sensitive protective actions. The system sends a recorded message and /or e-mail to County homes and businesses, providing safety information and/or instructions. Learn how to receive these notifications

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Family Emergency Plan

A good home emergency plan includes family communication, insurance protection, protection of vital records and documents and caring for animals. Learn how to make an emergency plan for your family. If your family includes an older person or people with special needs make sure your plan is specifically designed to address their issues.
  • Write down your family’s plan and store it in a safe place (preferably with your emergency kit).
  • Decide on a safe meeting place in your home, in your community, and in a nearby town. In case your home or community is damaged, family members will know where to go.
  • Review (and practice!) your family emergency plans at least two times per year.
  • Decide how family members will communicate after a disaster. Text messaging often works despite phone network disruptions, so teach family members how to use text messaging.
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Disaster Supply Kits

Following an emergency, it can take days before emergency workers are able to reach you and your family. The best way to plan for emergencies is to prepare a disaster supply kit. Once the event occurs, there will not be time to shop or search for supplies.

Before getting your kit together, be sure you have enough supplies for at least three days. Think about the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and warmth. You should consider making two kits. In one, put everything needed to stay where you are. The other should be a lightweight, smaller version you can take with you should evacuation occur.

The Right Supplies
Your family's preparation starts with three basic supplies:
  • A battery-powered radio with extra batteries. If the power goes out, a battery-powered radio is the only way to receive information.
  • Flashlights or battery-powered lanterns with extra batteries. Don’t use candles! They start fires.
  • Water to last three days. Plan on using at least one-gallon per person per day for drinking and sanitation.
Once you have these items, build a more extensive supply kit using this Disaster Supply Checklist.

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Caring For Pets

Pet owners must plan how they will care for their animals during an emergency. Caring for pets during emergencies involves having the right supplies and knowing where you will take your pet if you need to evacuate.

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Shelter In-Place or Evacuate

During a major emergency, the department or emergency responders will advise you to do one of two things: to shelter in-place or evacuate. Make sure you understand these terms, and follow emergency managers' instructions!

Sheltering in-place may protect residents and their families in times of certain emergencies. Sheltering in-place is appropriate when circumstances require residents to seek protection in their home, place of work, or other location when an emergency strikes.

Emergency Shelters
During serious emergencies such as hurricanes, floods, tornado, winter storms, prolonged power outages or hazardous material accidents, the County may open emergencies shelters. Operations provide feeding, sleeping, medical care and protection from the weather to evacuees.

When the County anticipates the need to open emergency shelters, they will notify the public through the local media, social network sites, and Caroline Connect as to the locations and times of opening. Local radio stations WTDK 107.1, WAAI 100.9, and WCEM 106.3 will broadcast this information.

If you evacuate and go to an emergency shelter, see the list of What to Bring to a Shelter.

Free Emergency Preparedness Presentations
The Emergency Planning and Risk Management offers free presentations for community groups interested in learning more about the steps individuals can take to become prepared for natural or domestic emergencies. Emergency Preparedness presentations include:
  • A basic overview of natural and man-made disasters, including hazardous severe weather emergencies.
  • An overview of our emergency management agency and its role in providing support during disaster situations.
  • Information regarding sheltering in place, evacuating, emergency shelters, emergency plans for families, items in disaster supply kits, and designating family meeting places.

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Additional Resources

Many resources are available to help you prepare for an emergency. Baltimore County's emergency management experts recommend the following:

Caroline Connect

The Caroline Connect system allows residents and businesses to subscribe to important notifications regarding Caroline County through Smart911. Learn more or sign up.

Plans & Maps