Ocean City Today

County endorses ‘Know Your Zone’ flood evacuation plan

Municipalities OK maps to determine exit order from local districts in emergency
By Brian Gilliland | May 17, 2018
Photo by: Submitted photo

(May 18, 2018) The layout and maps of numbered evacuation zones in case of emergency have been approved by both the resort and the town of Berlin, leading the Worcester County Commissioners on Tuesday to approve the plans and rollout of the “Know Your Zone” program.

Ocean City is divided into two zones and three divisions. Zone A is everything west of Coastal Highway, and Zone B is everything east of Coastal Highway. The divisions are based on cross streets, and start at the inlet.

“The maps were distributed to both the Town of Ocean City and the Town of Berlin for comment and any possible revisions,” Fred Webster, director of emergency services, said. “The Town of Ocean City had no objections or change requests to the proposed maps.”

Berlin asked to expand Zone C across Route 113 in certain places, where the original maps used the highway as a dividing line.

In Ocean City, from the inlet to 33rd Street is Division 1, from 33rd to 62nd Streets is Division 2, from 62nd Street to just north of 100th Street is Division 3 and the rest of the island is Division 4.

Countywide, most of the coastal lands and water-adjacent properties are in Zone A, Zone B properties can be found generally west of Zone A, and Zone C is concentrated near the Bishopville area, with another isolated Zone C area to the extreme south of Worcester County, near the state line with Virginia.

Emergency services can then use these areas to transmit simpler messages in the event of an emergency.

“The Department of Emergency Services was also asked to present our plan for public education of how the new zoned evacuation works,” Webster said.

Along with the maps, Webster provided an outline for the zone rollout, along with information provided by the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.

Locally, press and social media outreach is planned, along with a link on the county website and promotional materials to be distributed at events and in office buildings. The map also will be added to the next printing of the county family emergency preparedness book and Community Emergency Response Team training will include the zones as well.

At the state level, a website featuring a searchable address listing to look up the zones is planned, along with social media outreach, possible billboards, and coordinated efforts of agencies and trade associations.

“Of note is that MEMA currently has no funding available in this fiscal year to do media buys, so all materials from the state level would be in-house produced at MEMA,” Webster said. “There is currently $2,500 … [budgeted in] Disaster Preparedness Materials that can be utilized for reprinting of the Emergency Preparedness Guidebooks to include the maps and limited handouts during this fiscal budget year.”

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