MDEM Secretary Elected President of the National Emergency Management Association

Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM) Secretary Russ Strickland was elected National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) president at the Association’s annual forum in Memphis, Tennessee.

NEMA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association dedicated to enhancing public safety by improving the nation’s ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from all emergencies, disasters, and threats to our nation’s security. The Association — an affiliate of the Council of State Governments –represents emergency management directors from all 50 states, 8 US territories, and the District of Columbia.

From Left to Right: National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) President Russ Strickland with outgoing NEMA President Patrick Sheehan of Tennessee (photo credit: MDEM).


“I am honored and humbled to lead the Association at such a pivotal time for emergency management,” said Strickland. “In many cases, the loss of lives due to disasters has decreased, thanks to improved early warning systems, emergency response, and disaster preparedness. However, a growing body of scientific evidence indicates increased frequency and intensity of climate-related disasters, such as hurricanes, heat waves, wildfires, and extreme precipitation events. “As we have shown the ability to coordinate response and recovery efforts among disciplines, we are also being asked to help solve a wider range of issues. We have important work to do.”

As of September 11, 2023, 23 separate billion-dollar disasters have been confirmed this year — the most events on record during a calendar year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

As previously reported on Conduit Street, MACo worked closely with MDEM and other stakeholders to develop and support a State Disaster Recovery Fund (SDRF). The SDRF, administered by MDEM, will provide disaster recovery assistance to county governments, individuals, and families when federal aid is not available or insufficient – typically due to the nature and breadth of the event.

This week, the Maryland Association of County Emergency Managers, a MACo affiliate, sent a letter advocating for Governor Wes Moore to include $10 million for the State Disaster Recovery Fund (SDRF) in the fiscal 2025 operating budget, which the governor will introduce during the 2024 session of the Maryland General Assembly.

In addition, MDEM’s Deputy Executive Director, Chas Eby, was selected to continue as chair of the NEMA’s Deputy Director’s Group, and Anna Sierra, MDEM’s Chief Development Officer, was appointed Chair of NEMA’s newly created State Legislative Staff Subcommittee.

“These roles are a testament to the vision and dedication of our team at the Maryland Department of Emergency Management,” Eby said. “We are fortunate to collaborate with colleagues from diverse communities and backgrounds. Together, we are committed to advancing emergency management practices to build capabilities and reduce the risk of disasters.”

Visit the MDEM website for more information.