Our Oyster Harbor Community is located on a peninsula as it is surrounded by water on three sides, making minor flooding a very common occurrence for us. Being on a peninsula can also make the area of our Oyster Harbor Community quite susceptible to significant flooding during heavy rains, to the point where extreme tides and rain may increase this flooding.
In 2003, Hurricane Isabel raised the Bay water level almost 8 feet, making that the largest flooding in our Community history. It required significant repairs to Community property and to some residents’ homes. In lieu of this unfortunate event, our Community is well equipped with specific protocols and disaster preparedness to address such problems if they shall ever occur in the future.
Disaster preparedness involves a partnership between Federal, State, Local, Community and Residents to ensure we are as well prepared as possible in the event of a disaster.
Here is a summary of what each organizations’ and residents’ roles.
The Federal government’s role
The federal government offers Flood Insurance via your homeowners insurance company. Some home elevations require flood insurance, while others have it optionally available. It is at the discretion of the homeowner to purchase optional flood insurance. As a Community, we would recommend that all homeowners seriously consider flood insurance if it is not mandatory.
The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) offers emergency funding and support in the event of a ‘declared disaster’ for our area. Some funds are given to homeowners directly, some via flood insurance programs, some via state and/or local services – such as shelters, and some to our Community Association. In our experience, Oyster Harbor Community only receives FEMA funds to repair community property, such as our beach. We do not received funds to assist homeowners.
The State of Maryland’s role
The State government offers assistance in the event of a disaster. Mostly it is via the allocation of Federal funds, but the State does offer its own programs to homeowners, both during as after disasters. Information is available from the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) page.
Anne Arundel County’s role
The Office of Emergency Management for AA County is chartered to assure that County Government and the general public are prepared for any emergency. They offer bulletins, reference information and training for residents.
Local Shelters and Emergency Locations
During a severe flooding event, emergency services are put in place. Oyster Harbor will provide notification to residents of these services, along with details, when an emergency occurs. These service typically are:
- St. Anne’s and Hillsmere Elementary School usually allow emergency parking – call the schools to verify.
- Hillsmere Elementary is usually the local shelter – updated information on this will be made available as the County makes decisions.
- We share emergency contact information with the neighboring communities, AA County key personnel and churches/civic organizations that offer shelters, food and support.
Oyster Harbor Citizens Association’s role
Our mission is to maintain/repair Community property and convey information to residents on services available in case of an emergency.
We maintain the following responsibilities to Oyster Harbor residents:
- We ensure an Emergency fund remains funded for repairing Community property from severe flooding.
- High ground such as Harbor road playground is provided as emergency parking (both parking lot and grass areas).
- All community records are scanned and backed up to a Cloud Service.
- The Community office and file storage is in Eastport, but is located on the second floor of a metal building.
- We maintain a list of elderly residents (This is in the midst of being updated).
- We have a secured emergency directory online and available to first responders; firehouse, police and Coast Guard.
- We have a community row boat, trailer, pump and some life jackets available.
- We have pre-planned with our landscapers to have sand bags packed with sand from the beach in preparation for a large storm.
- We have a lockable shed at Harbor lot (our Community owned property with the highest elevation ) for emergency supplies (but do not stock supplies in advance).
- We maintain an emergency list of supplies to purchase in advance of a hurricane or severe flooding.
- We have the Coast Guard emergency contact info.
- We have emergency contact information for neighboring communities, AA County key personnel, our landscapers, and a couple construction companies.
- We will use Facebook, blast emails, phone trees, and driving door-to-door to convey emergency information to our residents.
- Residents can report damage via the Oyster Harbor Damage Report form on our website.
Homeowners and Residents’ role
Home owners are responsible for flood and other insurance on their properties. We highly encourage homeowners to review insurance coverage annually.
We recommend that each resident/household read and understand the Storm Ready Guide for County residents. We also recommend that a household emergency plan for supplies, communications and evacuation to planned in advance and communicated to family members outside of the local area.
Here is a list of preparedness suggestions:
- Review your homeowners, renters, flood and medical insurance plans annually.
- Read and understand the Storm Ready Guide.
- Have an emergency supply list for items to purchase when you know a storm/flooding may be coming.
- Have some long-life emergency supplies on hand as outlined in the Guide.
- Have an emergency communications plan with family.
- Plan a location to park your vehicles.
- If you own a boat, prepare or haul the boat before the storm.
- Don’t assume others know your situation – communicate with neighbors and family about your plans; i.e. checking on your boat, moving your car, going to a hotel, etc.
- Remember that possessions can be replaced, but lives can not.
Emergency and Non-Emergency Contact Numbers
Here is an easy reference list of contact numbers for Oyster Harbor and AA County services:
- For emergency situations 911 (Fire, Police, Emergency Medical Services)
- AACO Police Department (non-emergency) 410-222-8050 www.aacounty.org/Police
- AACO Fire Department (non-emergency) 410-222-8200 www.aacounty.org/Fire
- AACO Office of Emergency Management 410-222-0600 www.aacounty.org/OEM
- City of Annapolis Emergency Management 410-216-9167 www.ci.annapolis.md.us
- AACO Animal Control 410-222-8900 www.aacounty.org/AnimalControl
- AACO Public Works 410-222-4040 Emergency Dispatch 410-222-8400 www.aacounty.org/DPW
- AACO Inspections & Permits 410-222-7790 www.aacounty.org/IP
- AACO Department of Aging 410-222-4464 TTY 410-222-4355 www.aacounty.org/Aging
- Department of Health Information Line 410-222-7095 www.aahealth.org
- Communicable Disease 410-222-7256
- Emergency Preparedness 410-222-4115
- Environmental Health 410-222-7180
- Department of Social Services 410-269-4500
- AACO Public Schools 410-222-5000
- American Red Cross 410-764-7000
- Verizon 410-954-6260
- Poison Center 1-800-222-1222
- AACO Crisis Warm Line 410-768-5522
- BGE Power Outages: 1-877-778-2222 www.BGE.com (Don’t assume BGE knows abut downed lines or a power outage)
- Oyster Harbor President: Eric Epstein, 410-575-4001, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Oyster Harbor Manager: Nick Jones, email@example.com
- Oyster Harbor Damage Report form https://www.oysterharbor.org/damage-report-form/
- Snow information from Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works
Always dial 911 in an emergency!