When winter storms hit home

Date: January 22, 2016

As winter storm Jonas approaches and the East Coast braces for one to two feet of snow and possible blizzard conditions, multiple governors have declared states of emergency. Offices, schools and organizations are closing. But the 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline is always open, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

During a disaster, callers often don’t know where to turn for food, shelter or other health issues. But 2-1-1 can help, whether it’s by locating scarce resources, providing rumor control or assisting in emergencies. “I need dialysis, but there is two feet of snow on the ground.” “Where can I get food when my normal pantry is closed?” “A pipe burst in my home; what can I do?” Dial 2-1-1.

Right now, 2-1-1 is working with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and the Mayor’s Office, as well as nonprofits and churches to prepare and anticipate needs. During weather emergencies, 2-1-1 not only provides help, but call specialists capture trends to report back to disaster response agencies who can mobilize resources. For example, a few years ago after a snowstorm, 2-1-1 reported calls about flooding in a specific zip code and OEM was able to deploy sandbags to the area.

Last year, the 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline answered more than 103,000 calls for help – help with utilities, housing, financial needs, food, employment and much more. During the winter storm season, 2-1-1 stands ready to assist, no matter what comes.

Note: If you are in danger or need immediate medical attention, please dial 9-1-1 for emergency services. Or, for information on non-emergency city services, dial 3-1-1.

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For more than 90 years, United Way of Central Maryland has been improving lives in the communities it serves: Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County, Maryland.

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