Safety Officials Target Homes Still Without Power
Howard County leaders said they have new information to better identify neighborhoods in need of assistance.
First the first time, Howard County safety officials say they have specific information on neighborhoods still without power in the aftermath of a major storm.
They will be using this information to send fire and safety officials to homes Wednesday evening that have been without power for the longest periods of time since Hurricane Sandy hit this week
While the outages from Sandy are less widespread than those of recent storms, “the new data is still valuable,” said Howard County Executive Ken Ulman in a press release.
As of Wednesday at 3:40 p.m., 3,534 Howard County residents were without power, according to BGE.
Power has been restored to more than 34,000 households in Howard County, BGE is reporting.
Sandy dumped nearly 7 inches of rain in Howard County and saw wind gusts up to 63 miles per hour, according to National Weather Service data.
In July, after the derecho storm, Ulman, along with other county elected officials, wrote a letter to the Public Service Commission urging the regulatory agency to consider changes to the way utilities operate, including improved disclosure of outage information to local municipal officials.
It was five days after the storm hit that Howard County officials were able to get a list of specific addresses with outages by combining the county’s GIS mapping technology with grid outage information, the Baltimore Sun reported; not from the utilities themselves.
“Companies would not disclose this data,” the letter to the PSC read.
The story is different with Sandy.
BGE has now provided county officials with access to specific power outage data.
“I was disturbed that during the derecho storm last summer, our public safety workers could not learn from BGE where the power outages were so we could seek out vulnerable residents and offer assistance. We resorted to sending our police helicopter in the air at night to find neighborhoods without lights,” Ulman said in a release.
Howard County officials said they “have been receiving regular reports of power outages since Hurricane Sandy hit, and are using the information in storm recovery efforts.”
The Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services is coordinating generator safety efforts, which continues to be an issue.
On Tuesday, three people were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning in North Laurel after using a generator indoors.
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