In an Emergency, There’s No Time For Questions

In “What Is Emergency Management?”…and Other Mysteries Revealed, a MACo Winter Conference Session hosted by the Maryland Association of County Emergency Managers, state and county experts engaged the audience while answering definitional questions about the professional emergency management field.

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State and county emergency managers reveal today’s emergency management as a changing industry that is critical for local elected officials to understand.

Russell J. Strickland, Maryland Emergency Management Agency Executive Director, gave an overview of the year-round process of preparation, training, testing, and revision that comprises emergency management.

Strickland shared how emergency management is a growing and fast-changing field, where one of the top priorities today is disaster risk reduction as opposed to the more traditional response and recovery responsibilities.

Earl Stoddard, PhD, MPH, CEM, Director of the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, shared how if resources are deployed in the best way, local governments can save costs.

Stoddard described the push for an integration of emergency management principles into all types of local infrastructure projects. These early processes and investments could prevent larger costs down the road. Elected officials, however, are key to make the connections between emergency managers and the county planning and design agencies building new projects.

Stoddard also shared the importance of working with elected officials to make sure that there is an exchange of information to ensure communication with the community.

Rumors have transformed the field of emergency management. –Earl Stoddard, PhD, MPH, CEM, Director of the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security

Douglas Brown, Carroll County Emergency Manager, and Maryland Association of County Emergency Managers President, shared his tools for ensuring that county officials are able to provide leadership to save lives, mobilize a response, and ensure a quick recovery when disaster strikes. He described the Emergency Management 101 courses that he uses to educate his county government partners.

On community expectations, Brown shared how food, shower, and a place to sleep are no longer the top three demands of residents seeking shelter. In his community, WIFI, a place to plug in a phone or device, and a place to bring a pet are requests he receives.

Strickland described the need to share situational awareness when speaking with elected officials, and shared that studies have shown that the chief elected official is the best one to share periodic status updates and directions to the residents.

For more information about county emergency management and opportunities for education, contact Robin Eilenberg, liaison to the Maryland Association of County Emergency Managers.