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County Executive Leopold Reports Few Injuries, Urges Citizens to Watch for Aftershocks

Annapolis, MD (August 23, 2011) - County Executive John R. Leopold is reporting no major injuries or property damage resulting from today's 5.8-magnitude earthquake. Residents are urged, however, to be prepared for possible aftershocks.
"We are relieved that no widespread injuries or property damage resulted from this unusual event," County Executive Leopold said. "We do want to urge citizens as they return home to be aware aftershocks can occur, and to use caution when entering their homes."
Anne Arundel Medical Center, Baltimore-Washington Medical Center, the Arundel Center and the Heritage Office Complex on Riva Road have been inspected and cleared for entry. County offices and parks were closed at 2 p.m. today.  The Emergency Operations Center will deactivate at 8 p.m. County offices are expected to open on time tomorrow.
Please be aware of the following tips:
  • Leave the gas on at the main valve, unless you smell gas or think it's leaking. Explosions have caused injury and death when homeowners have improperly turned their gas back on by themselves.
  • Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Avoid the hazard of a chemical emergency.
  • Open closet and cabinet doors cautiously. Contents may have shifted during the shaking of an earthquake and could fall, creating further damage or injury.
  • Inspect your home for damage. Get everyone out if your home is unsafe. Aftershocks following earthquakes can cause further damage to unstable buildings. If your home has experienced damage, get out before aftershocks happen.
  • Help neighbors who may require special assistance. Elderly people and people with disabilities may require additional assistance. People who care for them or who have large families may need additional assistance in emergency situations.
  • Listen to a portable, battery-operated radio (or television) for updated emergency information and instructions. If the electricity is out, this may be your main source of information. Local radio and local officials provide the most appropriate advice for your particular situation.
  • Expect aftershocks. Each time you feel one, drop, cover and hold on. Aftershocks frequently occur minutes, days, weeks, and even months following an earthquake.
  • Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines, and stay out of damaged areas. Hazards caused by earthquakes are often difficult to see, and you could be easily injured.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings. Damaged buildings may be destroyed by aftershocks following the main quake.
  • Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights to inspect your home. Kerosene lanterns, torches, candles and matches may tip over or ignite flammables inside.
  • Inspect the entire length of chimneys carefully for damage. Unnoticed damage could lead to fire or injury from falling debris during an aftershock. Cracks in chimneys can be the cause of a fire years later.
  • Take pictures of the damage, both to the house and its contents, for insurance claims.
  • When entering buildings, use extreme caution. Building damage may have occurred where you least expect it. Carefully watch every step you take.
  • Watch animals closely. Leash dogs and place them in a fenced yard. The behavior of pets may change dramatically after an earthquake. Normally quiet and friendly cats and dogs may become aggressive or defensive.

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Anne Arundel County, Maryland. 44 Calvert Street, Annapolis, Maryland 21401 | Tele: (410) 222-7000