Ocean City Officials Urge Hurricane Preparedness

OCEAN CITY – With the summer season rapidly approaching, resort officials on Monday issued a proclamation proclaiming this week as National Hurricane Preparedness Week.

During Monday’s meeting, Mayor Rick Meehan read into the record and presented a proclamation to Emergency Services Director Joe Theobald declaring this week ending Saturday as National Hurricane Preparedness Week. Meehan urged residents in the resort to be aware of pending storms and their potential impact on Ocean City and other areas as the season approaches. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, but the mayor said the time is now to prepare.

“It’s hard to believe it’s May 1 already,” he said. “This is something we do every year because of the importance of where we’re located on a barrier island. It’s significant what damage a hurricane could possibly cause, and we have to be prepared.”

While the focus on Monday was on Ocean City, Meehan urged residents in other areas around the state to also begin preparing for hurricane season.

“That’s not just for here,” he said. “That’s for everywhere because hurricanes can affect places inland, sometimes even more so than the coast.”

For his part, Theobald said the town will be prepared for any potential hurricane and the damage it can cause, and urged the citizens to do their own part.

“It’s important that we do make the public aware as we do every year,” he said. “There is probably no year more important than this year to get the public prepared. Government can try, but cannot do it all. Self-responsibility is going to be very important.”

Theobald said he recently attended hurricane preparedness sessions in Philadelphia and the participating agencies were well aware of Ocean City’s vulnerability. He said this year could present unique challenges because of ongoing supply chain issues with food and other supplies.

“I was fortunate enough to spend three days at the convention in Philadelphia developing relationships,” he said. “They recognize the visibility of Ocean City. Things are going to be different than other years. We see it daily. Just the supply chain issues we face everyday in the grocery stores and everywhere else. That will impact how things are rebuilt if something happens, and we get a storm.”

Theobald said protecting the safety of the citizens is paramount and urged residents not to let their guard down and have a plan in place.

“Our message is to protect lives,” he said. “Property can be rebuilt, but take that into consideration in the future and take responsibility and have a plan in place. Once something happens isn’t the time to think about it.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.