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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Prince George’s County Earthquake Update


For Immediate Release: August 24, 2011
Contact: Scott L. Peterson(240) 619-9400
Prince George’s County Earthquake Update

PGCPS reports 32 schools to remain closed, others to open on normal operating schedule; Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards and County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III Visit Shelter in Hillcrest Heights for Displaced Residents

Upper Marlboro, Maryland – Today, U.S. Representative Donna Edwards joined Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III at the Hillcrest Heights Community Center, where the County and the American Red Cross have opened a shelter for residents displaced by yesterday’s earthquake. The visit was part of the Prince George’s County Government’s ongoing efforts to respond to yesterday’s events.
“The Prince George’s County government is going to be here for all of our students and all of our residents for as long as it takes to handle the aftermath of this earthquake,” said County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III. “We are going to get displaced residents back in their buildings and students back in their classrooms as quickly as possible, but only after those buildings have been deemed safe and secure. In the meantime, I ask that we, as a community, keep the families affected by this event in our thoughts and prayers, and I thank our agencies, the Red Cross and our citizen volunteers for all they’ve done for our citizens.”
Prince George’s County Public Schools were closed today while buildings were inspected for structural damage and safety.

“The safety of our students, teachers and staff is our number one priority,” said Dr. William R. Hite, Jr., Superintendent of Schools.  “We are working as quickly as possible to get the necessary building inspections completed so that school can resume for all students.”
School officials have reported that 32 schools will remain closed on Thursday, August 25, due to ongoing structural assessments. A list of the PGCPS facilities that require further assessment and/or repairs and which will remain closed tomorrow, Thursday, August 25, 2011 appears at the end of this release.
Officials have also been monitoring the conditions of two residential buildings that were condemned yesterday following the earthquake. The Department of Environmental Resources (DER) is waiting for assessments from structural engineers evaluating two buildings located in the Hillcrest Heights section of Temple Hills at 3208 Curtis Drive and 3103 Good Hope Avenue. DER initially estimated $250,000 in damages at the Good Hope Avenue location and $400,000 in damages to the building on Curtis Drive, some of which may be structural damage. However, those estimates may be revised after the necessary full assessments are completed.
Currently, residents of 3103 Good Hope Avenue are being allowed into the building to collect belongings. They are being escorted into the building to collect their essentials by property management. Structural engineers evaluating the building deemed it safe for this action, though officials are waiting for a certified letter from the engineer before allowing residents to move back into their homes. The 3208 Curtis Drive location is still closed to residents. Contractors are on site there making repairs to the building.

While residents wait to be allowed to return to their homes, Prince George’s County’s Office of Emergency Management, in cooperation with the American Red Cross, has been operating a shelter at the Hillcrest Heights Community Center. The address of the shelter is 2300 Oxon Run Drive, Temple Hills, MD. 129 residents passed through the shelter today. The Red Cross and the County are committed to keeping the shelter open for as long as possible, including but not limited to this evening. Representatives from the Prince George’s County Departments of Family Services, Social Services, and Health will remain onsite.
This afternoon, the County Executive and Congresswoman Donna Edwards visited the shelter to talk with displaced residents, receive updates on the situation, and monitor developments.
“I was grateful for the opportunity to visit Hillcrest Heights, bring bottled water, books and fruit, and meet with some of the residents affected by yesterday’s earthquake,” said Congresswoman Edwards. “To a person, they credited the Red Cross, the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services, and the Department of Parks and Recreation for their outstanding work. This is a product of the strong leadership shown by County Executive Baker over the last 24 hours and I am confident these residents will continue to receive the care they deserve until they can return to their homes.”

The Congresswoman, the County Executive, and Prince George’s County would like to thank the following organizations for their time, donations, and hard work in helping residents who were affected by these events.

• The Prince George’s County Department of Social Services
• The Prince George’s County Department of Family Services
• The Prince George’s County Health Department
• The American Red Cross
• ARC of Prince George’s County, for donating food and bringing volunteers to the Hillcrest Heights shelter.
• Each One, Teach One, Inc., for their book donations for the children on site at the shelter
• The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, for sending building volunteers
• The Spirit of Faith Church, for providing food for lunch to residents at the shelter

The County also recognizes the hard work and professionalism of first responders and emergency personnel, who were on hand yesterday to deal with the abnormally large number of 9-1-1 calls. In the 12 hours prior to the earthquake on August 23, 2011, there were 1,345 calls to 9-1-1 in the County. During and after the earthquake, in the first hour alone, there were 1,153 calls to 9-1-1. From 2:45 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., there were 1,266 more calls. And from 6:00 p.m. till 12:00 a.m., there were 1,189 calls to 9-1-1. Officials noted that the majority of calls received in the hour after the earthquake were calls to either report the earthquake, ask if it was indeed an earthquake, or seek reassurance about the state of affairs after the earthquake. In total, 9-1-1 received 4,956 calls in the County on August 23, 2011.

The following 32 schools will be closed tomorrow, Thursday, August 25, 2011:
1.     Andrew Jackson Academy
2.     Apple Grove ES
3.     Barack Obama ES
4.     Beltsville Academy
5.     Berwyn Heights ES
6.     Bradbury Heights ES
7.     Carole Highlands ES
8.     Charles Herbert Flowers HS
9. Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. HS
10. Ernest Everett Just MS
11. Forestville Military Academy
12. Gaywood ES
13. Greenbelt ES
14. Hyattsville ES
15. John H. Bayne ES
16. Langley Park-McCormick ES
17. Margaret Brent School
18. Avalon at Middleton Valley ES
19. Northwestern HS
20. Oakcrest ES
21. Overlook ES
22. Oxon Hill ES
23. Port Towns ES
24. Potomac HS
25. Robert R. Gray ES
26. Rogers Heights ES
27. Suitland ES
28. Surrattsville HS
29. Thomas Pullen Performing Arts
30. William Paca ES 
31. William Wirt MS
32. Yorktown ES

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