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Sun Oct 28 PG Co Opens 3-1-1 Call Center for Non-Emergency Storm Help & CountyClick website 24/7 (2012)

UPDATE: 2012.10.28 1004 pm
311 Call Center open Oct 29 7 am to Midnight
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For Immediate Release:
October 28, 2012

For Media Related Inquires:
Rhonda D. Jackson
Division Manager Public Information & Inter-Governmental Relations
Prince George’s County Office of Emergency Management
240-694-7474 (Mobile)

Prince George’s County Opens 3-1-1 Center Today for Hurricane Sandy Non-Emergency Related Calls and Questions

3-1-1 open from 12 p.m. – 7 p.m. today for Hurricane Sandy related calls.  Residents are encouraged to use 3-1-1 and CountyClick in lieu of calling 9-1-1 for non-emergency requests.

Upper Marlboro, MD – Prince George’s County will open its 3-1-1 Center from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. today, Sunday, October 28, for Hurricane Sandy related calls and questions.  The 3-1-1 Center will re-open at 7 a.m. on Monday morning and will be utilized as needed based on the duration and degree of severity of the hurricane.  Typically, 3-1-1 is closed on weekends and operates on a Monday-Friday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. schedule.   

“When we created and launched 3-1-1 recently, we knew that the system would provide direct and indirect benefits to the residents during emergency weather events such as Hurricane Sandy,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III.  “When residents call 9-1-1 for non-emergency issues during weather events, it ties up our dispatchers and causes delayed responses to actual emergencies.  Seconds matter with 9-1-1 calls and now our citizens have a clear non-emergency alternative number to call for their storm related questions and concerns.”   

During the storm, residents can also utilize CountyClick, Prince George’s County’s online system and mobile application to submit non-emergency service requests.  Residents can access CountyClick at  http://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/countyclick/.     

Additionally, all residents are encouraged to utilize Notify Me Prince George’s to receive updates
regarding the hurricane.  Citizens can register by logging into https://notifyme.princegeorgescountymd.gov or by texting 411912 to receive real-time notifications via registered mobile devices. Prince George’s County will also keep residents updated on Hurricane Sandy through the County website at http://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov.

Finally, the Prince George’s County Office of Emergency Management is encouraging citizens residing in flood prone areas to take proper precautions for the protection of their property.  Prince George’s County does not provide sandbags for distribution.  Additionally, residents should consider raking their leaves prior to the storm in order to reduce the level of debris that can become a hazard.

The following tips will help you prepare, before, during and after the storm:

BEFORE A STORM:
·         Keep flashlights and battery-powered radios with extra batteries handy, along with a first aid kit.
·         Have a supply of non-perishable food for up to three days, 1-gallon of water per person, per day for at least three days, and a manual can opener.
·         Have Preparedness Kits available in your home and vehicle. 
·         Ensure copies of important documents are stored in a safe place.
·         Have some cash on hand.  
·         Make sure vehicle gas tanks are full.
·         Secure or bring inside exterior items that might become wind-borne.
·         Fill prescriptions that might be needed and stock up on any necessary medical supplies.
·         Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting in anticipation of a power outage. Open the doors only when necessary and close quickly.

DURING A STORM
·         Please remain calm and do not call 9-1-1 unless it is an emergency.
·         Do not go outside. Flying debris from high winds is a danger.
·         Try to stay in an interior room; stay away from windows or soft spots in the home.
·         Avoid using candles for lighting due to fire hazards. Use flashlights.
·         Never use a candle when fueling equipment such as a kerosene heater or lantern because the candle flame can ignite fumes from the fuel.
·         If flooding occurs, turn off electricity at the main breaker.
·         During a power outage, turn off major appliances. This will minimize losing power again through a power surge and protect the equipment when the power returns.
·         Do not operate charcoal grills, propane camping stoves or generators indoors due to Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.
·         If a generator is being used in your home and you are feeling ill, make sure you notify the 9-1-1 call taker that a generator is in use. 

AFTER A STORM
·         Do not touch fallen or low-hanging wires of any kind under any circumstances. Stay away from puddles with wires in or near them. Do not touch trees or other objects in contact with power lines to avoid electrocution.
·         Call 9-1-1 or utility companies immediately to report hazards such as downed power lines, broken gas lines, water mains or overturned gas tanks.
·         Avoid areas subject to flooding, including low spots, canals and streams. Do not attempt to drive on a flooded road –motorists can be stranded or trapped. The depth of the water and the condition of the road is not always obvious; therefore, do not make assumptions.
·         Be very cautious at night as it is harder to recognize flood dangers, downed wires and other hazards.

Important Utility Numbers include:
Baltimore Gas and Electric (BG&E): 1-877-778-2222 or 1-800-685-0123
Washington Gas: 1-800-752-7520
Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC): 1-800-828-4002