This newsletter is published for the benefit of the Military Department employees but is also available to the public. For questions or comments please email REMARKS@MDMILDEP.ORG.  

THIS MONTH'S FEATURE

This Newsletter has been temporarily discontinued.

Due to increased workload and other committments IT has found it necessary to suspend this newsletter. We thank you for your patience.

MEMA Rolls Out New Maryland Prepares Mobile App

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA)announces the release of its official “Maryland Prepares” mobile application. The app provides iPhone, iPad, and Android phone and tablet users the ability to access emergency preparedness information on the go.

“MEMA is excited about the opportunities this new app affords Maryland families for emergency preparedness,” said Ken Mallette, MEMA Executive Director. “Incorporation of this new technology adds another dimension to the State’s ability to help Marylanders stay and be prepared for emergency situations.”

Maryland Prepares enables families to make a communications plan and assess their disaster supply kit through an interactive checklist. Other features of the app include:

•View emergency preparation guides for different types of emergencies;
•Send an “I’m Safe” message via email, text, and social networks;
•View real-time alerts for emergencies, weather and traffic;
•Monitor current cyber threats and suspicious activity;
•Access Maryland Emergency Management Agency news and events; and
•View current and extended National Weather Service forecasts based on current location.

The app is available for Android users via Google Play (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nicusa.MDPrepares) and via the iTunes store (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/maryland-prepares/id718996444?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4) for Apple users. The application was developed jointly by MEMA, the Maryland Department of Information Technology (DoIT) and NIC, which has helped government agencies develop electronic services for 20 years

Toy Recalls

Before you buy that cute little toy for Christmas as well as other advertised gifts you should think about the latest recalls from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

CPSC administers and enforces several federal laws passed by Congress. These laws authorize the agency to protect the public against unreasonable risks of injuries and deaths associated with consumer products.

Click here for recalls and current information

Rules for Helping to Prevent Christmas Tree Fires.

The U.S. Fire Administration has a informative website in helping to increase awareness about holiday tree fires in your home as well as some free materials. This is must reading for everyone who will be setting up a Christmas tree this year. (click here for more information)

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MDNG to Sponsor State High School All-Star Football Game

The Maryland Army National Guard is pleased to be teamed once again with Under Armour and sponsoring the 6th annual Crab Bowl to be played at McDaniel College’s Kenneth R. Gill Stadium on Dec. 21.

The annual Maryland State High School Football All-Star Game began in 2008 and features the most outstanding senior football players from the State of Maryland. Players are divided on to two teams; those from the Washington, D.C. area, south and east, play as part of the “Washington” squad while players from Baltimore, north and western part of the state play as part of the “Baltimore” squad.

“We are proud to sponsor the game this year with Under Armour and have the opportunity to work with the best student-athletes in the state,” said Brig. Gen. Linda L. Singh, commander Maryland Army National Guard. “The Crab Bowl draws the top football talent, and provides exposure for the state’s best to some of this country’s finest institutions of higher learning.”

The weekend, which begins with a personal development event for the participants on Friday evening, features four football games during the day on Saturday. Youth games are played at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. with the main event for high school seniors following at 12 p.m. An eighth-grade all star game capping off the day at approximately 3 p.m. All four games will be played in the newly opened Kenneth R. Gill Stadium, the centerpiece to McDaniel’s unique natural bowl setting, which was recently dedicated.

The event is open to the public and tickets are on sale in advance or at the gate for a cost of $15 In advance and $20 at the gate. Information can be obtained at: http://www.marylandcrabbowl.com

IDEA of the Month

Maryland Trivia

38.On the morning of August 10, 1813 residents of Saint Michaels having been forewarned of a British attack hoisted lanterns to the masts of ships and in the tops of the trees. The height of light caused cannons to overshoot the town. This first known blackout was effective and only one house was struck and is now known as the "Cannonball House." The town has been known as the town that fooled the British since this historic event.

45.Sixteen of the 23 Maryland counties border on tidal water. The combined length of tidal shoreline, including islands, is 4,431 miles.

"Items of Importance to State Employees"

Procedures for Release of State Employees Under Emergency Conditions (click here)

Military Department Reg 5-8 Management of MDNG Personnel During Emergencies (click here)

Emergency Essential Employee Acknowledgement Document (click here)

TID BITS

- Federal Holidays for the Year (click here)

- State Holidays - For the Year (click here)

"Emergency Related Weather Events Federal and State"

In the event of an emergency or weather related event, all Federal and State employees of the Maryland Military Department and Maryland National Guard can call the Maryland National Guard Toll-free Information Hotline at 1-855-388-4466 and choose Option #3 from the voice teleprompts.

Updates will be provided for facilities and weather related announcements. Announcements will be updated by the MDNG Human Resources Office (HRO) during the normal workweek and the MDARNG for weekend IDT periods. Maryland Military Department Regulation 5-8, Management of MDNG Personnel During Emergencies dated 15 January 2008, prescribes the procedures for management of the workforce during emergencies.

A WARNING FOR OUR EMPLOYEES, PLEASE READ.

In the interest of protecting you, our readers, from the same fate that befell this writer. Here is something you may want to be aware of.

Ever buy a large ticket item in which the seller relates that if you finance through his company, you can have a whole year of interest free payments?

Well he is probably correct in that statement, but what he failed to tell you was that if you took longer than a year you would be charged the interest on the previous 12 months. It can add up to a sizable amount, in my case $1,600. So, if you do get an offer such as that understand that you could be held responsible for the interest in the event you don't meet the 1 year free zone.

A WORD TO THE WISE

The scam of the month

Credit Card Fraud

Hotel frauds: It is known now that dishonest restaurant staff can use skimmers to copy your card data, clones the card and used it to commit fraud. But, did you know there is another type of fraud which you could face at hotels, where you are the one who would blurt out all your card details to a fraudster inadvertently?

How it works: When you enter a hotel, you provide your credit card details to the front desk. Once you check into your room, you get a call from a fraudster on the land line. The person at the other says he or she is the front desk, and informs you that there are some issues with the card. You will be asked to provide details again over the phone. You, assuming it’s the hotel’s front office, give your card details, along with CVV number (the three digit number at the back of your card) and address. What else does the fraudster want to swipe your card clean?

What to do: In such a situation, the best thing to do is hang up the call and go to the front desk to resolve the issue. Chances are the front desk might not have even made that call.

Fraud 2: There is yet another card fraud which works on the principle of cramming. Cramming is when a fraudster make piecemeal transactions over an long period of time using a card. The transactions will be so small that card holder may not even notice the charges. If reports are to be believed, in the United States fraudsters have siphoned off funds worth $24 million by cramming. In India, no such data is available. In India such a fraud is called Salami attack, where small amounts are fraudulently charged on the card. This type of fraud is active in India. In fact, recently a large cooperative bank card holders had faced such a fraud.

What you should do: You should be disciplined enough to check your credit card statements closely. We suggest, the best practice is to go through every entry on your card statement. If you see any charge which you don’t recognise, do report to your bank. “In fact, banks now send SMS alerts whenever there is a charge on the card,” said Joshi. So next time you get an SMS from your bank, do read it carefully and make sure your have not fallen victim to such a fraud. Do not make the mistake of simply ignoring your bank’s SMS thinking it’s a promotional SMS.

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Funny Quote of the month
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.