MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
The Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department, in concert with other County agencies, are making preparations for a significant weather event, SANDY, that is forecast to impact our area starting Sunday. Firefighters and Paramedics are ensuring all emergency response apparatus and personnel are ready to respond and that all public safety facilities are prepared. All apparatus and Fire/EMS Station generators are being topped off with fuel and prepared to operate for numerous days. Technical Rescue Teams, which include our Swift Water Rescue Team, are in a state of readiness and are performing safety checks on resources including boats, apparatus, rescue gear, personal flotation devices and the availability of off-duty personnel. Emergency personnel are prepared to be "part of the solution and not part of the problem."
All personnel have been reminded to prepare their families and homes well in advance and prepare them in the event of being called back to duty. Events where personnel have been called to duty and leave their families and homes are perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of this job.
Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley has issued a State of Emergency and the State Emergency Operations Center, MEMA, is already up and running.
As expected the National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch for Prince George's County over the next several days. It is anticipated that numerous Watches and Warnings will be issued during this weather event.
Over the next several days Hurricane Sandy will approach the mid-Atlantic with the exact landfall location still uncertain. Wherever the storm comes on shore, the National Capital Region, including Prince George's County, will feel the impact of the storm with high winds and heavy rain early next week. Power outages and flash flooding are expected. Citizens, residents and businesses should be making preparations for the storm now. Do not panic, the storm is still days away with the heaviest impact arriving Monday afternoon through Tuesday. Everyone should be taking action now to allow plenty of safe preparation time. The National Weather Service is forecasting we could start seeing some rain and wind as early as Sunday and weather progressively worsening through Tuesday and into Wednesday.
Citizens, residents and businesses are advised to take appropriate precautions now to stay safe.
BEFORE THE STORM:
Stay informed by monitoring local news broadcasts about approaching weather. Sign up to Notify Me- Prince George's and receive important news and storm updates on your mobile device. Follow @PGFDPIO on Twitter, www.PGFDNEWS.com and PGFD Facebook for up to the minute Fire/EMS news and safety advice. Have all mobile devices fully charged before and during the storm.
Have your emergency kit prepared, stocked and ready. For additional information on what should be in your kit go to: www.ready.gov
Your emergency kit should include a battery operated radio and flashlights. We do not recommend the use of candles during power outages.
Ensure your Smoke alarm and CO detector are tested and have fresh batteries.
Call 911 in the event of a life or death and property emergency. Call 311 if you have a question about services or general county information.
Consider purchasing bags of ice that can be stored in your freezer.
Ensure your cell phones, lap tops and tablets are completely charged.
Ensure your vehicle has a full tank of gas.
Consider having a quantity of cash on hand in the event that ATM's and banks are out of power.
Remove any objects in your yard that could become airborne during periods of high winds. Secure larger items by tying them down.
Clean and clear your storm drains of any debris that could clog and back up rain water.
Management companies should safely inspect their rooftops to ensure all gutters and roof top drains are clear and clean up any debris that will clog drains when it rains. Pooling water on roof tops could cause water damage inside and cause a possible collapse.
Stay ready to take quick actions in the event of severe weather including remaining indoors and going to the lowest possible level or floor and if possible in a room with no windows. Have your emergency kit ready.
Check with your work location on what is the plan and notification for cancellations.
Set up a communications plan with family members and friends. Remember that "texting" has been more reliable then cell phone calls and emails during times of high usage and outages.
If you have a generator - follow manufacturer's instructions on how to use it safely, position it far enough away from your residence to avoid CO finding it's way inside, refuel after cool-down, use approved outdoor heavy-duty extension cords that are free of any rips and tears.
Stay Informed, Stay Ready, Stay Safe. Don't panic, stay calm and prepare.