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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Prince George's County Feels 5.9 Earthquake - UPDATE and SAFETY INFO










10:00 pm Update:




THE PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY GOVERNMENT
OFFICE OF THE COUNTY EXECUTIVE
For Immediate Release: August 23, 2011
Contact: Scott L. Peterson, Acting Director of Communications or Briant Coleman, Prince George's County Public Schools(202) 277-9412 or (240) 619-9400; (240) 619-1911
Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) Closes All Schools Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 24
Prince George's County Government opened for normal operations, 
Emergency Operations Center closed




Hyattsville, Maryland – Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 24, Prince George's County Public Schools will operate on a Code Green - Schools are closed.  All 12-month employees are to report on time. 


 In order to allow time to further inspect our school facilities, Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS) will be closed on Wednesday, August 24.  All 12 month employees must report. Crews will survey school facilities to determine damage. Stay tuned for updates via the PGCPS website at www.pgcps.org; and Twitter pages: @PGCPS and @PGCPSHite. 
 The Prince George's County Govenment will be open and working on a normal schedule unless an annoucement is made on a specific building prior to opening tomorrow morning.  
 The Prince George's County Office of Homeland Security has closed the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) this evening at 9:00 pm. The County will continue to monitor developments throughout the evening and into tomorrow. Before closing, the EOC issued the following updates:
  • Two buildings in the County have been condemned: 3208 Curtis Drive and 3103 Good Hope Avenue, both in the Hillcrest Heights section of Temple Hills.
  • The Prince George’s County Fire Department (PGFD) and Department of Environmental Resources (DER) have cleared the scene. A structural engineer will be sent from DER to evaluate the structures tomorrow.
  • Prince George’s County Emergency Management has opened a local community center for displaced residents at the Hillcrest Heights Community Center at 2300 Oxon Run Drive, Temple Hills MD.
    • Over fifty residents have taken advantage of the shelter.
  • No serious injuries have been reported in connection with today's events.
  • The Prince George’s County Regional Processing Center in Hyattsville has water damage.  All processing will take place this evening at Central Booking Center at Prince George’s County Correctional Center.
  • The following power outages have been reported in Prince George's County:
    • 34 outages were reported by BGE
    • 34 outages were reported by PEPCO
Prince George’s County is advising residents to only use 911 for emergency calls.  Unless there is an injury requiring immediate attention, please turn to your local news channel for additional information. 


 The majority of structures will be safe. Take this opportunity to assess your residence by completing the following steps:


·         Look for any new cracks that exceed 1/4" the width of a finger. 
·         Look for displaced walls or beams in the basement and on each floor.
·         Look for walls that bow or lean in a way that is obvious to the eye. 


If you find these conditions, please evacuate the building until an inspection by a qualified engineer or building inspector can be performed.  Additionally, all residents should check their gas pipes at their house and smell for any leaks. If they smell gas, exit the house immediately and call the gas company. 


 What to do during an earthquake, aftershock


(Credit: AP)


The U.S. Geological Service has reported that an earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale occurred at 1:51 this afternoon near Mineral and Louisa, Virginia.  Later estimates show it was actually a 5.8 earthquake.  Citizens as far away as the Triangle region have reported feeling tremors. Aftershocks are a possibility, but will diminish in intensity and frequency.
If you feel the ground shake, take the following precautions immediately!
1.    DUCK - When the shaking first starts: DUCK or drop to the floor.
2.    COVER - Take COVER under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture. If there is nothing available to take cover under, crouch against an interior wall and protect your head and neck with your arms.  Stay away from windows, hanging objects, mirrors or anything that might fall over.
3.    HOLD - If seeking cover under a piece of furniture, HOLD on to it and be prepared to move with it during the quake.
Use these tips if you find yourself in any of the following places when an earthquake strikes:
-   High-rise building – Stay near an interior wall. Do not use the elevators.
-   Outdoors – Move to a clear area, away from trees, signs, buildings, or downed electrical wires and poles.
-   Walking along the street – Duck into a doorway to protect yourself from falling bricks, glass, plaster and other debris.
-  In your car – Pull over to the side of the road and stop. Avoid overpasses, power lines, and other hazards. STAY INSIDE THE VEHICLE UNTIL THE SHAKING IS OVER.
-  In a mall or other public place – Do not rush for the exits. DO NOT PANIC. Move away from anything that might fall.
-   In the kitchen—Move away from the refrigerator, stove, and overhead cupboards.
-   In a stadium or theater – Stay in your seat and protect your head with your arms. DO NOT try and leave until the shaking is over.
-   In the mountains – Watch out for falling rock, landslides, trees, and other debris that could be loosened by quakes.



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6:30 pm Update



THE PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY GOVERNMENT
OFFICE OF THE COUNTY EXECUTIVE
For Immediate Release: August 23, 2011
Contact: Scott L. Peterson, Acting Director of Communications(301) 583-1950
Prince George’s County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Update
County Executive Baker and Superintendent Hite to hold press briefing at 6:00 pm at Emergency Operations Center




Hyattsville, Maryland – Prince George’s County Emergency Operations Center has the following updates:


•         Four high rise apartment buildings in the 3200 block of Curtis Drive in Hillcrest Heights have been evacuated due to structural concerns, while one building at 3208 Curtis Drive has been condemned. The Prince George’s County Fire Department (PGFD) and Department of Environmental Resources (DER) are on scene. Prince George’s County Emergency Management is opening a local community center for displaced residents.


•         PGFD and DER are currently inspecting County government buildings.  At this time they are reporting:
        o   37 schools with damage (damage still being investigated)
        o   County Courthouse in Upper Marlboro with a noticeable crack in wall
        o   County Administration Building (CAB) has been inspected and cleared


•         The Prince George’s County Regional Processing Center in Hyattsville has water damage.  All processing will take place this evening at Central Booking Center at Prince George’s County Correctional Center.


•         Prince George’s County Police and Fire Department day shifts are being held over into the evening for as long as needed.


•         Current power outages:
        o   4 outages reported by BGE
        o   116 outages reported by PEPCO


Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker and Superintendent Hite will be holding a press briefing at the Emergency Operations Center, 6820 Webster St., Hyattsville at 6:00 pm.
Prince George’s County is advising residents to only use 911 for emergency calls.  Unless there is an injury requiring immediate attention, please turn to your local news channel for additional information.
The majority of structures will be safe. Take this opportunity to assess your residence by completing the following steps:


    •         Look for any new cracks that exceed 1/4" the width of a finger.


    •         Look for displaced walls or beams in the basement and on each floor.


    •         Look for walls that bow or lean in a way that is obvious to the eye.
If you find these conditions, please evacuate the building until an inspection by a qualified engineer or building inspector can be performed.  Additionally, all residents should check their gas pipes at their house and smell for any leaks. If they smell gas, exit the house immediately and call the gas company.
All information in this release is preliminary and is being constantly revised and updated.
5:00 pm UPDATE

THE PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY GOVERNMENT

OFFICE OF THE COUNTY EXECUTIVE
For Immediate Release: August 23, 2011
Contact: Scott L. Peterson(301) 583-1950
Prince George’s County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Update
County Executive Baker to hold press briefing at 5:30pm at Emergency Operations Center










Upper Marlboro, Maryland – After the 4:00 p.m. briefing, Prince George’s County Emergency Operations Center is reporting:

  • Five high rise apartment buildings in the 3200 block of Curtis Drive have been evacuated due to structural concerns, one building at 3208 Curtis Drive has been condemned. Prince George’s County Fire Department and Department of Environmental Resources (DER) are on scene. Prince George’s County Emergency Management is opening a local community center for displaced residents.
  • PGFD and DER are currently inspecting County government buildinga.  At this time they are reporting 
    • 16 schools with minor damage 
    • County Courthouse in Upper Marlboro with a noticeable crack in wall
    • County Administration Building (CAB) has been inspected and cleared
  • The Prince George’s County Regional Processing Center in Hyattsville has water damage.  All processing with take place this evening at Central Booking Center at Prince George’s County Correctional Center. 
  • Prince George’s County Police and Fire Department day shifts are being held over into the evening for as long as needed.
  • Current power outages:
    • 559 BGE
    • 62 PEPCO
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker will be holding a press briefing at the Emergency Operations Center, 6820 Webster St., Hyattsville at 5:30 pm.



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From: Mark E. Brady, PGFD Chief Spokesperson:


While I searched for information to provide to our citizens and residents concerning what to do after an earthquake, I went to the specialists that deal with these incidents on a more frequent basis than I do in Prince George’s County.  I contacted Brian Humphrey, Firefighter/Specialist, Public Service Officer, at the Emergency Public Information (EPI) Center of the Los Angeles Fire Department.  Within minutes after receiving my request he provided very helpful information that I have adjusted and have added below.

An earthquake has been felt in Prince George’s County. The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department (PGFD) recommends that you now take these first steps:

- Check on those around you.

- Use a fire extinguisher to put out small fires.  Don't use water on
  electrical or gas fed fires.  If you can't put the fire out quickly, get
  everyone out of the building right away.

- Look and listen for leaking natural gas. If you smell gas in a building, open the
  windows and doors and move everyone outside.

- Closely inspect your building's foundation, walls, and chimney. Look and
  listen for any signs of imminent collapse.

- Treat all downed and exposed wires as energized and potentially
  lethal, and avoid contact with liquids or fumes from any spilled household
  chemicals. 

Firefighters and Paramedics are busy at this time. You can help them by only using 9-1-1 to report a life-threatening emergency. Do not call 9-1-1 to ask questions. The Police and Fire/EMS Departments know about the earthquake and are busy responding to the most serious problems first. Please... stay off the telephone... including your cell phone at this time... unless you are reporting a life-threatening injury or fire. Unnecessary calls to report the earthquake or to check on friends or relatives at this time could keep life-saving calls to 9-1-1 from getting through.

We remind local residents to prepare for more earthquake activity. If indoors when the shaking starts again, protect yourself by staying away from windows and taking cover under a sturdy piece of furniture or by an inside wall. Cover your head and neck with your arms and hold-on until the shaking stops.

If you're outdoors when an aftershock begins, stay in the open away from buildings, bridges, signs and overhead wires. If you're in a car, pull over and stop at the first safe spot you come to, being careful to avoid similar hazards while remaining in your vehicle.

We encourage everyone to limit travel at this time, and to avoid the temptation to sightsee. If you must travel, please do so slowly and with extreme caution. Be certain to yield for emergency vehicles, and treat all darkened traffic signals as four-way stops.   

The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department encourages you to stay tuned to your local source of broadcast news.

Sheldon Smith from FEMA also answered our request for information and provided these links that provide some very helpful information.





Prince George’s County has activated it’s Emergency Operations Center.  The EOC can be contacted by calling 301-583-1950.




For updated Fire/EMS Department information contact Major Erroll George at 240-832-5761.






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3:30 pm update -  Scott Peterson 










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At about 1:53 pm, Tuesday, August 23, 2011, Prince George's County felt a 5.9 magnitude earthquake.  The earthquake epicenter is located in Mineral, VA.


Emergency call activity is high with firefighters and medics responding to calls for natural gas leaks, alarms, investigations, etc.  There is no need for panic or evacuations at this point unless instructed to do so.


Prince George's County Firefighter/Medics are being held over and volunteer firefighters and EMT's are being asked to report to the their Fire/EMS Stations to help staff additional apparatus to handle the influx of calls.


At this point there are no reported injuries, no reports of major structural damage and no fires..


Please only call 911 if you have a true emergency.


County Officials are gathering at the Emergency Operations Center in Landover Hills.


Updates will follow.







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