OCEAN CITY – Emergency preparedness was the focus of a meeting of the minds on the Boardwalk yesterday, as Gov. Martin O’Malley and Mayor Rick Meehan gathered with various officials, local youth and first responders to urge families to plan ahead for potential disasters.
“Each of us needs to be able to take action to protect our own families, our own community,” said O’Malley yesterday morning after touring Ocean City’s Public Safety House.
The Public Safety House and Ocean City’s Mobile Command Center were available as well Thursday morning, providing the governor with a glimpse of the lengths that Ocean City’s local Emergency Services are taking to be prepared in case of a disaster, particularly a hurricane.
“I know that Ocean City, you always have to be prepared. That beautiful ocean out there could present all sorts of challenges, particularly in a hurricane,” said O’Malley.
Ocean City’s Public Safety House, a mobile trailer that travels throughout the area to promote preparedness, contains a WeatherSmart unit, which simulates the affects of a hurricane or tornado. The Public Safety House travels to area schools, to educate students on how to correctly handle emergency situations.
Showell Elementary School students Rebecca Tudor, Gabrielle Suplee and Jake Ryder toured the Public Safety House with the governor.
“See smoke, stay low, doors hot, don’t go,” was the advice Ryder conveyed to the governor and the gathering crowd as the students displayed their emergency preparedness skills.
“Preparedness is the key to success when we respond to any incident,” said Meehan Thursday. “I encourage our residents and visitors to make sure they are prepared as well.”
Maryland Emergency Management Director Richard Muth was also present. Muth highlighted the efforts being made statewide to keep the State of Maryland ready for disaster, but encouraged families to do their part as well by creating family preparedness plans.
FEMA Regional III Federal Preparedness Coordinator Patrick Twist recognized that Maryland has avoided major landfall from a hurricane since 2003, but emphasized that Ocean City and Maryland cannot rely on luck each year. “FEMA hasn’t been sitting around, waiting for the next hurricane or storm,” he said.
In an effort to acknowledge local efforts to promote public safety, O’Malley paid tribute to a local citizen through a proclamation, applauding businessman Granville Trimper for his many years of service to the community, as well as the entire Trimper family, for their combined 120 years of service to Ocean City. Trimper has worn a variety of hats in the local community, from businessman to Ocean City council member to resort mayor to County Commissioner.
“Anything I have done, in my 22 years of government service or anything else I might have done, I’ve done to make Ocean City the greatest resort in the country,” said Trimper.