On the one year anniversary of Winter Storm Jonas, Harford County Executive Barry Glassman’s administration offers the following reminders and online tools developed to help citizens stay informed and, most importantly, to stay safe in winter weather.
“Fortunately, blizzards like Winter Storm Jonas are rare, but typical winter weather can also pose risks, especially for the elderly and other vulnerable populations,” said Director of Emergency Services Edward Hopkins. “The best defense is to be prepared and stay informed.”
Avoid travel if possible during snow or ice storms. If you must travel, keep your cell phone fully charged and create an emergency kit for your vehicle. Include blankets, a small shovel, kitty litter or sand for traction, extra clothing, a flashlight, snacks, and water in case you are stranded. Let friends or family know your travel route and expected arrival time.
In addition to monitoring weather conditions, the Department of Emergency Services urges citizens to take the following precautions:
- Keep devices charged so you will be able to follow weather forecasts and local emergency information, and contact family and friends, if necessary;
- Know how to contact your utility provider in case of a power outage;
- Generators should only be used outside in well ventilated areas away from doors, windows and vent openings. Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open;
- Be cautious when shoveling snow or ice to avoid overexertion. Take frequent breaks and keep hydrated. If snow is accumulating on your rooftop, consider removing snow if it is safe to do so;
- Remove snow and ice three feet around fire hydrants and clear a path from the hydrant to the street, if it is safe to do so;
- Check on friends, neighbors, and relatives who may have trouble staying warm or maneuvering on icy surfaces.
More safety information is available in the Harford County Emergency Preparedness Guide posted on the county website: http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/DocumentCenter/View/5328
To assist the Harford County Department of Public Works in clearing snow from county roads as quickly as possible, please refrain from parking in the street. Maneuvering a snow plow around parked cars is difficult and takes extra time. If you must park in the street, park on the side of the street corresponding to the calendar year (the even-numbered side of the street in even years, odd side of the street in odd years). Then, after the plows clear a path, move your vehicle to the cleared side. More information about Harford County snow removal can be found here: http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/DocumentCenter/View/1196.
To report concerns related to ice and snow removal, use Harford County’s You CLICK We FIX application. The app can be accessed from the county website at http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/1737/You-Click-We-Fix or downloaded for free onto your smartphone or mobile device. Concerns can also be reported to the Division of Citizens Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-638-3420.
The county’s Snow Plow Tracker will generally be activated when there are six inches of snow or more; however, activation will not begin until precipitation is near an end to avoid confusion about which roads have been fully cleared. When activated, the Snow Plow Tracker icon will appear on the homepage of the county website www.harfordcountymd.gov.
Stay informed year-round by monitoring social media. Follow Harford County Government and the Harford County Department of Emergency Services on Facebook, and on Twitter @HarfordCountyMD and @HarfordCoDES.
“I am proud of our emergency operations team and highways crews who worked tirelessly to dig us out and keep us safe when Winter Storm Jonas hit Harford County with 37 inches of snow last year,” said County Executive Barry Glassman. “Thanks also to our staff who secured $1 million in reimbursements from the federal government for our recovery efforts. On the one year anniversary of that record-breaking blizzard, I urge all citizens to keep our winter safety information on hand, even as we hope that historic storms like Jonas remain in the past!”