Owens assures residents that county is prepared to handle potential crises

March 21, 2003|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens, flanked by public safety and school officials at a news conference yesterday, sought to assure residents that the county is prepared to handle any crises resulting from retaliatory attacks related to the war in Iraq.

Owens said she has partially activated the county's Emergency Operations Center, meaning that public works, fire and police officials are gathered to manage potential crises.

The public safety chiefs stressed yesterday that residents should call 911 to report suspicious activity.

Owens also advised residents to prepare to take shelter in place instead of evacuating in most circumstances. Evacuations can cause logistical problems, she said.

"Everyone in Anne Arundel County knows what Route 50 is like on Thursday nights in the summertime," Owens said.

A recent poll by the Center for the Study of Local Issues at Anne Arundel Community College found that 58 percent of the 331 people surveyed believed the county was very or somewhat prepared for a terrorist attack. However, 37 percent said they felt the county was unprepared. The other 5 percent were unsure.

The margin of error for the poll is about 5 percent, said center director Dan Nataf.

The county's "Guide to Emergency Preparedness" is available at public libraries and the Arundel Center and online at www.aacounty.org.

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