St. Mary's County, MEMA to Assess Ernesto Damage on Friday

LEONARDTOWN, MD (September 7, 2006) - The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), will join St. Mary's County Emergency Management Agency and county public safety officials to assess damages caused by Tropical Storm Ernesto on Friday, September 8, 2006.

"The response to the storm by St. Mary's County was timely and effective, particularly in areas where families had to be evacuated," said John W. Droneburg, director of MEMA. "Now assessment teams will inspect the damage to homes and infrastructure and make recommendations to the county."

The County has appointed a recovery coordinator. Anyone who has experienced business or residential damage or needs assistance should call Cynthia Brown at 301-475-4200 extension 2803.

Under federal regulations, if damage statewide exceeds $6.2 million, the state can seek a disaster declaration by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which would make federal funds available for repairs to government infrastructure. A declaration by the U.S. Small Business Administration would make low-interest loans available to businesses and homeowners.

As Ernesto approached Maryland last week, emergency managers statewide began preparations for the storm. Beginning Tuesday, August 29, 2006, MEMA, state agencies and local emergency management - including St. Mary's County - were in regular contact with the National Weather Service, which warned of strong winds and tides that were 4 to 6 feet above normal.

On Friday, MEMA raised its activation level to Level Two, which has the effect of mobilizing all state resources that might be required to respond to the emergency.

MEMA dispatched regional administrators around the state. The regional administrator for Southern Maryland was in the St. Mary's County Emergency Operations Center before, during and after the storm and continues to work with the county to assess damages.

During the storm, the superintendent of the Maryland State Police was in St. Mary's County to evaluate conditions.

The county utilized the Code Red Emergency Notification System (reverse 911) to warn residents and order evacuations in threatened areas.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources provided boats to evacuate residents of St. George's Island.

The damage assessment will continue as necessary to accommodate the needs of our residents in the storm recovery effort.

Source: St. Mary's County Government

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