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Maryland Emergency Management Agency


March 19-25 is Severe Storms Awareness Week

Spring Season Brings Chances for Hazardous Weather in Maryland

March 19-25 is Severe Storms Awareness Week

Snow may still be on the ground in many parts of Maryland, but now is the time to begin thinking about the upcoming severe storms season. Maryland Severe Storms Awareness Week begins Sunday, March 19, and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is teaming up with the National Weather Service and local emergency managers to promote citizen awareness and preparedness.

During spring, Maryland is at risk for heavy rainstorms, flooding, damaging winds, tornadoes, hail and lightning. All of these hazards typically occur throughout the state; however, residents can “be weather prepared” by ensuring that they know how to receive warnings and practice safety tips.

“Spring is the time of year when we can experience dangerous thunderstorms, flooding, and even tornadoes,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Maryland residents should follow the advice of local and state officials and use common sense when severe weather is in the forecast.”

The National Weather Service agrees with that assessment. “Maryland experiences severe storms regularly during the spring,” said NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist Christopher Strong. “Our area is particularly at risk for damaging winds and flooding. We also see hailstorms and even tornadoes. In fact, Maryland has had nearly 100 tornadoes in the past 10 years.”

The National Weather Service and MEMA work closely together and with local emergency managers and other government agencies to identify and monitor severe weather systems, develop preparedness plans and safety information and coordinate the response to these storms.

“Severe Storms Awareness Week is a chance to think about the hazardous weather that regularly occurs in Maryland,” said Russ Strickland, Executive Director of MEMA. “Plan now for what you or your family should do in case of a severe weather alert or warning — get indoors to a safe space, then, communicate with your neighbors, friends and family to make sure they’re aware of the situation and are safe.”

Now is the time for residents to prepare for severe storms by taking the following actions:

  • During flooding, never enter an area where water is flowing over a road and you cannot see the pavement. Turn around, don’t drown!
  • If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued or you are experiencing strong winds, get to a sturdy shelter and stay indoors away from windows.
  • Tornadoes can form rapidly in the right conditions. If there is a tornado warning or you see a tornado, quickly get inside and go to the lowest floor possible.
  • If you hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck from a fringe lightning strike. More than 98% of lightning casualties are from people outdoors—get indoors or inside your vehicle if possible.

Additional information can be found on the “Weather Ready” website at weather.gov/lwx/weatherready and the MEMA website at mema.maryland.gov.


Governor Larry Hogan Signs Executive Order Declaring State of Emergency in Maryland in Anticipation of Snowstorm

Click here to read the entire Executive Order declaring a State of Emergency.


What does a “State of Emergency” mean?

What does a “State of Emergency” mean?

In preparation for the upcoming snow fall, Governor Larry Hogan has asked State agencies to launch a coordinated effort to keep Marylanders safe and informed in the upcoming days. Governor Hogan today signed an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency in Maryland, beginning Monday, March 13 at 9:00 PM, in response to the winter storm which could bring significant amounts of snow to areas across the state. Here is information on what a state of emergency means.

Not all states of emergency are the same. Each state of emergency is different and can change depending on the severity of the event or emergency.  Be sure to check with your local news and with MEMA for updated information related to states of emergency. 

A state of emergency is declared in order to allow Maryland to coordinate and request emergency resources and support. A state of emergency allows the Governor to access certain resources, like the National Guard, in order to increase the State’s response.

A state of emergency is a good indicator that residents should remain alert and follow officials’ orders, news stations, and weather forecasts in order to be informed of the situation. In this particular case, residents are being advised that they should prepare for a significant winter storm and that motorists should avoid nonessential travel after the snow begins to fall. Here is additional information about this state of emergency:

 

Will schools be closed?

States of Emergencies typically do not mandate school closures. It usually is the local school district’s decision to stay open or to close.

Will stores and businesses be open?

This state of emergency does not require employers to close. We ask that all employers consider employee safety at all times.

Can I drive on the roads?

Motorists are not prohibited from driving on the roads at this time. Use common sense–if you must drive and cannot change your plans, please do so carefully.  Give yourself extra time to get to your destination.  Let family or friends know your route and expected arrival time.

Click here to read Governor Hogan’s Press Release


Maryland Bracing for Winter Storm Beginning Late Monday

Maryland Bracing for Winter Storm Beginning Late Monday

Residents Should Be Aware of Potential Significant Snowfall

And Take Actions to Stay Safe

Listen to audio of release here.

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (March 12, 2017) — Maryland agencies are gearing up for a late-season storm expected to bring significant snowfall to much of central, northern and western Maryland starting Monday night into Tuesday. Residents should make preparations now. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) advises all residents in and around these areas to follow weather forecasts as they are updated.

“Don’t let the recent mild weather fool you – it’s still winter and this storm is coming,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Marylanders should prepare for the storm and make plans to check on vulnerable family, friends, and neighbors when the bad weather hits. Use common sense and don’t drive during the storm.”

MEMA has been monitoring forecasts for several days and coordinating with the National Weather Service, local emergency managers and partner agencies.  There is still some uncertainty about the exact timing and track of the storm, which is expected to affect the Atlantic coast from the middle-Atlantic states through New England. Maryland residents should continue to check updated information as it becomes available and prepare for this storm now.

”The mild weather over the last several weeks may have lulled us into complacency,” said Russell Strickland, Executive Director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency. “Make sure your car is ready for winter travel, stock up on vital food and household supplies in case travel is difficult for several days, and make sure to keep devices charged so you can follow reliable weather forecasts and information from emergency officials.”

Motorists are urged to stay off the roads during the height of the storm so crews can more easily clear highways. Driving could be dangerous soon after the snow begins. Additionally, residents should take the following actions:

· Closely monitor updated weather forecasts and keep electronic communications devices charged.

· Be cautious shoveling snow or ice to avoid overexertion. Take frequent breaks and keep hydrated.

· If you must travel, make sure to have car chargers, kitty litter or sand for traction. Let friends or family know of your travel route and expected arrival time.

· If it is safe to do so, consider clearing off roofs if significant snow has accumulated.

· Know who to contact in the case of a power outage. Emergency phone numbers for utility companies can be found here: http://mema.maryland.gov/Pages/PowerOutages.aspx

Traffic, weather and power outage alerts, as well as winter preparedness information, can be accessed on the Maryland Emergency Management Agency’s website at mema.maryland.gov. You can also follow MEMA on Twitter @MDMEMA or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MDMEMA for updated information.


Auxiliary Communications Service Activated for Presidential Inauguration

Auxiliary Communications Service Activated for Presidential Inauguration

Aux Comms Radio Operator (RADO) Douglas P. Lindsey monitors WebEOC for updates on the Inaugural event. Douglas is sitting down in front of a computer with a pen in his hand writing information. The picture is taken from behind him.

Aux Comms Radio Operator (RADO) Douglas P. Lindsey monitors WebEOC for updates on the Inaugural event.

The Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) was activated during the Presidential Inauguration January 20, 2017. This program established voice and digital links with Prince George’s, Montgomery and Anne Arundel Counties.

The ACS is an operational concept involving Federal Communications Commission-licensed amateur radio operators under the auspices of the Maryland Joint Operations Center (MJOC).  Located within the MJOC, the ACS is the modern evolution of the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES).  ACS allows interoperability among multiple communications resources.

Many ACS personnel hold Federal Emergency Management Agency certifications.  Some operators are also authorized to operate Military Auxiliary Radio Systems stations, as well as participate directly in SHARES operations.  Operators bring years of valuable operating and technical expertise, and add to the capability of MEMA to gather localized information.

The ACS concept clearly demonstrated a comprehensive ability to provide both communications flexibility and proficiency, while using minimal MEMA resources in conjunction with a volunteer staff.  Their ability to collect and disseminate targeted information, without disrupting or distracting other responders and communicators, makes ACS a force multiplier for emergency management in Maryland.


MEMA Monitoring Snowstorm Expected to Hit Eastern Shore, Southern Maryland on Saturday (1/7/2017)

MEMA Monitoring Snowstorm Expected to Hit Eastern Shore, Southern Maryland on Saturday

Residents Should Be Aware and Take Appropriate Actions to Stay Safe

Listen to audio of this release here.

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (January 6, 2017) — A winter storm will move up the East Coast and affect Maryland early Saturday morning, bringing with it accumulating snow, wind gusts and frigid temperatures. The National Weather Service has issued Winter Storm Watches and Warnings for portions of the lower Eastern Shore and southern Maryland. These areas could see significant snowfall, which will begin after midnight on Friday and into Saturday. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) advises all residents in and around these areas to follow weather forecasts as they are updated. In addition to snow, the majority of the State will have frigid temperatures.

MEMA is closely monitoring the storm and is coordinating preparedness and response efforts with local emergency management officials. Residents in different areas of Maryland may feel different effects from this weather system.

“Marylanders on the Eastern Shore and in Southern Maryland should stay off the roads during the storm,” said MEMA Executive Director Russell Strickland. “In other parts of Maryland, the winds could create the coldest wind chill of the season and increase the possibility of downed power lines. Please remain safe and remember to check on vulnerable family, friends and neighbors.”

Additionally, Maryland residents in affected areas should consider taking the following actions:

  • Closely monitor updated weather forecasts and keep electronic communications devices charged.
  • Be cautious shoveling snow or ice to avoid overexertion. Take frequent breaks and keep hydrated.
  • If you must travel, make sure to have car chargers, kitty litter or sand for traction. Let friends or family know of your travel route and expected arrival time.
  • Never run generators indoors or in closed areas.
  • If it is safe to do so, consider clearing off roofs if significant snow has accumulated.
  • Know who to contact in the case of a power outage. Emergency phone numbers for utility companies can be found here: http://mema.maryland.gov/Pages/PowerOutages.aspx

Traffic, weather and power outage alerts, as well as winter preparedness information, can be accessed on the Maryland Emergency Management Agency’s website at mema.maryland.gov. You can also follow MEMA on Twitter @MDMEMA or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MDMEMA for updated information.


“Great ShakeOut” Earthquake Drill to Occur Tomorrow (10/20)

“Great ShakeOut” Earthquake Drill to Occur Tomorrow (10/20)

All Marylanders Encouraged to Participate and Practice Earthquake Preparedness

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (October 19, 2016) — Earthquakes can and do happen in Maryland which is why the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is asking residents to register and take part in the Great SouthEast ShakeOut tomorrow. By participating in this nationwide drill, participants will learn proper earthquake preparedness and safety techniques. Held every year in October, the ShakeOut is set for Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 10:20 a.m.

Many people on the east coast of the United States may not be used to earthquakes and may not know the appropriate safety protocols.  In 2011, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that occurred in Virginia was felt in areas of Maryland and some residents were not aware of what actions to take. A 2.2 magnitude earthquake also occurred at night in Anne Arundel County, Md. last year.

“Earthquakes may occur less frequently than other hazards in Maryland, however they do and have happened in our area,” said Russ Strickland, executive director of MEMA. “Preparing for this no-notice event is as important as practicing fire, severe weather, or other monthly or annual drills.”

The ShakeOut drill is free and open to the public. Individuals, families, schools, businesses, government agencies, and many other groups can all participate in tomorrow’s drill.  Those wanting to participate are asked to register by visiting www.shakeout.org. Thousands of Maryland residents have already registered for the 2016 drill.

During the self-led drill, participants practice how to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.” Endorsed by emergency officials and first responders, the safe response to an earthquake is to:

  • Drop to the ground,
  • Take Cover under a table or desk, and
  • Hold On to it as if a major earthquake were happening.

For more information about emergency preparedness, please visit our website at mema.maryland.gov, Twitter feed @mdmema, Facebook page and Instagram.

NOTE TO MEDIA: For information about Maryland participants in the drill, please visit www.shakeout.org/southeast and click on the Maryland icon on the map. Please contact participating organizations directly if you want to do a story about their participation. The Maryland Center for School Safety, Maryland State Fire Marshal, Maryland State Department of Education, and MEMA are coordinating efforts for the Great SouthEast ShakeOut.

 


Maryland to Participate in a National Test of the Emergency Alert System Today

Minute-long Television and Radio Message to Occur September 28 at 2:20 P.M. (Eastern)

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (September 28, 2016) — Maryland will be participating in a national test of the Emergency Alert System today at 2:20 P.M. (Eastern). The messaging and style of the test will be similar to the regular monthly test message of the EAS, but, is being conducted in order to test and assess the readiness for distribution of a national-level message. Residents can expect to hear and see the following on radio and television stations this afternoon: “This is a national test of the Emergency Alert System. This is only a test.”

This test is being conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). According to FEMA, “the test is intended to ensure public safety officials have the methods and systems that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public in times of an emergency or disaster. Periodic testing of public alert and warning systems is also a way to assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure required for the distribution of a national message and determine what technological improvements need to be addressed.”

More information on the Public Alert and Warning System and Wireless Emergency Alerts is available at www.fema.gov/ipaws or www.ready.gov/alerts.


MEMA Announces $286,145 in Grants to Improve Hazardous Material Emergency Preparedness

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (September 26, 2016) — The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has announced that $286,145 in federal grants have been awarded to state and local government agencies in Maryland in order to improve hazardous material emergency preparedness and response. The grants are funded through the United States Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

“MEMA continuously seeks opportunities to improve emergency preparedness for all hazards in order to protect Marylanders,” said MEMA Executive Director Russell Strickland. “These funds will boost the capabilities of hazardous material response organizations throughout the State.”

Hazardous Material Emergency Preparedness grants are awarded annually in order to ensure the safe transport of hazardous material and to train personnel with hazardous material response roles.


Governor Larry Hogan’s Request for Presidential Disaster Declaration for Ellicott City, Howard County Approved

Governor Larry Hogan’s Request for Presidential Disaster Declaration for Ellicott City, Howard County Approved
Maryland Now Eligible for Federal Assistance Following Historic Flooding

ANNAPOLIS, MD (September 16, 2016) – Governor Larry Hogan’s request for a major disaster declaration in the wake of historic flooding in Ellicott City was approved today. Maryland and Howard County will now be eligible for federal assistance to help pay costs associated with the response to and recovery from the July 30 flooding event that damaged much of Main Street in Ellicott City as well as surrounding areas. Governor Hogan requested the assistance in a letter to President Barack Obama on August 12. By granting the declaration, federal assistance will be made available for expenses related to infrastructure repair and replacement, hazard mitigation projects, debris removal, and other costs associated with the storm.

“When this devastating storm hit, we assured residents and leaders in Howard County that our administration would pursue all avenues of support to help our communities rebuild,” said Governor Hogan. “I would like to thank Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman for his leadership and extend my sincerest gratitude to Senator Barbara Mikulski, Senator Ben Cardin, Congressman Elijah Cummings, and the entire Maryland delegation for working diligently at the federal level to secure this vital assistance for businesses, citizens, and public infrastructure damaged by this historic flooding. I am amazed by the resilience of Ellicott City and the surrounding communities and look forward to Main Street again being the focal point of local activity.”

“This is welcome news for the people of Ellicott City,” said Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman. “This declaration will help us coordinate and take advantage of the many federal resources available to us. These resources will help us implement long-term flood mitigation projects to rebuild Ellicott City to become a model resilient community. I am thankful to Governor Hogan and our federal delegation for their continued support throughout this process.”

The decision for a disaster declaration comes after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), and Howard County emergency operations staff conducted damage assessments last month. The flooding, which occurred on a Saturday night, damaged or destroyed dozens of buildings and more than 200 vehicles, and caused the deaths of two individuals. Main Street and the adjacent sidewalks, plus underground infrastructure, also sustained significant damage. Governor Hogan has designated MEMA as the state coordinating agency for the declaration.

“I want to thank my staff at MEMA and those in Howard County who worked closely with FEMA to assess damages and costs caused by the flooding,” said MEMA Executive Director Russell Strickland. “We will continue to work together to apply this federal assistance to repair damaged infrastructure and aid Howard County and Ellicott City in recovery efforts.”

The presidential disaster declaration comes on the heels of several state, local, and federal initiatives designed to assist local residents and business owners.


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