Last week, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency became the Maryland Department of Emergency Management — a move that will bolster and enhance collaboration, communication, and coordination between the State and county governments in times of crisis.
As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Maryland General Assembly this year passed SB 658, which established MDEM as a forward-facing, Cabinet-level entity. The bill also transfers the 9-1-1 Board to the Department.
MACo supported the bill, as MDEM will work directly with county emergency management offices to develop scalable, flexible, and adaptable concepts and better align critical roles and responsibilities when disasters strike. This partnership will ensure the continuity of government in the face of an innumerable number of catastrophic events.
In addition, as Maryland’s 9-1-1 system is a vital part of the State’s emergency response and disaster preparedness network, MDEM is the proper entity to help advance the deployment of a statewide NG911 system that our residents expect and deserve.
According to a press release:
This move is part of a broader trend across the nation where emergency management agencies are moving to report directly to the chief executive in states or local communities. This direct line of communication establishes a link between emergency managers and executives within government, which reduces lag time and improves response and recovery activities. Maryland joins a growing list of states which have elevated their emergency management agencies to principal departments.
Emergency management staff will still work closely with its former parent agency. The Maryland National Guard and the Maryland Defense Force will continue to be important partners in preparation, training, response, and recovery activities.
The department will continue its focus on support for local emergency managers, effective mitigation strategies, coordinating emergency response, and helping the public better prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies and disasters.