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Governor Moore Declares First State of Preparedness Ahead of Dangerous Winter Weather System

January 9th, 2024

Published: 1/9/2024

ANNAPOLIS, MD — Governor Wes Moore this morning signed the State’s first State of Preparedness declaration ahead of a potentially hazardous winter weather system that is expected to bring damaging winds, heavy rain, and potential flooding to areas of Maryland. According to the National Weather Service, the significant weather system is expected to impact the region this afternoon, bringing multiple threats that require heightened awareness and preparedness from Marylanders and those visiting our State.

“By declaring a State of Preparedness in Maryland, I am directing the Department of Emergency Management to coordinate the comprehensive preparation of State government ahead of potential impacts related to the incoming weather system,” said Gov. Moore. “The safety and security of our residents is our top priority. Please remain vigilant, use common sense, and have a plan in place especially if you are in low-lying areas prone to flooding or where flooding is expected.”

Read full release here:

What Does a “State of Preparedness” Mean?

January 9th, 2024

What does a “State of Preparedness” mean?

When the Governor declares a State of Preparedness it enhances the state’s ability to respond swiftly and effectively to potential hazards and threats in advance of an actual disaster.

A State of Preparedness may be declared by the governor when there is heightened risk of disruption to the lives of Marylanders. The order directs the Department of Emergency Management to coordinate the comprehensive preparation of state government ahead of potential impacts from hazards or threats, providing a vital layer of protection for Marylanders without necessitating a State of Emergency.

The new order recognizes the importance of preparedness, early coordination, and proactive protection, providing the capacity to act decisively without declaring a full State of Emergency. As part of a phased approach, the order provides more flexibility to respond proportionally to level of risk, helps ensure that resources are efficiently managed, and promotes preparedness is a top priority even in the absence of a full State of Emergency to mobilize resources and support more efficiently.

When a State of Preparedness is declared, it is imperative for Maryland residents and visitors to stay informed through trusted local and state government communications and news sources and to follow the recommended preparedness actions.

Here is additional information about this state of preparedness:

Will schools be closed?

States of Preparedness do not mandate school closures. It usually is the local school district’s decision to stay open or to close. Check with your school for up-to-date closure information.

Will stores and businesses be open?

This state of preparedness 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.  If you are a motorist and must drive and cannot change your plans, you should drive carefully and use common sense. You should also:

  • Allow extra time to get to your  destinations.
  • Let family or/and friends know what roads you plan to take and expected arrival times.
  • Contact family/friends after you arrive to your destination.



  • Stay vigilant, use common sense, and continue to monitor the forecast
    • We are asking all Marylanders to remain vigilant, to stay tuned to local news stations for the latest updates, and to follow any instructions local officials may provide during this state of emergency.
  • Those under a watches and warnings should be prepared and exercise caution during the state of preparedness. 
    • Widespread power outages are possible, so we urge people to keep their devices charged and monitor trusted local forecasts for your part of the State. 
      • Always use extreme caution near downed power lines and wires. For your own safety, assume that they are live and carrying electricity.
      • Keep a distance of at least 30 feet and report it to 9-1-1 from a safe location.
      • NEVER drive over downed wires. If you are driving in an area with downed trees or utility poles, slow down, scan the road and stay away from any debris that may be caught in a downed wire.
      • If your vehicle comes in contact with a downed wire, STAY INSIDE! Call 9-1-1 to request assistance and if someone approaches your car, roll down your window and ask them to keep their distance.
    • Follow any protective actions recommended by local officials.
    • Make sure to have an emergency supply kit stocked with non-perishable food, a three day supply of water, and other necessities
    • Make sure you stock items for those with special needs and pets.
    • Try to avoid outdoor activities and travel during the storm if at all possible.
    • Know the difference between a WATCH and a WARNING.
      • WATCH: conditions are favorable for a hurricane, tropical storm, flooding, or other severe weather event.
      • WARNING: ACT NOW! Severe weather is happening; take immediate precautions.
  • Don’t walk, swim, or drive through floodwaters. Remember: Turn around, don’t drown!

Sixth Annual Maryland Winter Safety Week Begins

December 4th, 2023

MDEM, FEMA, NWS, State Agencies Partner to Increase Public’s Awareness of Winter Hazards

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REISTERSTOWN, MD (December 4, 2023) — Governor Moore has proclaimed December 4 through 10, 2023 as Winter Safety Week in Maryland. The initiative, aimed at enhancing public awareness of winter hazards, emergency preparedness, and safety measures, is set to kick off with the Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM) leading the charge.

“In recognizing the paramount importance of preparedness and safety during the winter season, we are committed to fostering winter safety within all our communities,” said Governor Moore. “I therefore officially proclaim December 4 to December 10, 2023 as Maryland Winter Safety Week. Let us unite in prioritizing the safety of Marylanders this winter. Together, we can create a winter-ready Maryland where every resident is informed, equipped, and safeguarded against the challenges that colder months may bring.”

MDEM Secretary Russ Strickland emphasizes the importance of taking winter safety precautions seriously, stating, “Winter brings with it several hazards that cause injuries and cost lives and money every year. It is precisely because of this that we must take winter safety precautions seriously.”

Maryland Winter Safety Week, in collaboration with State, local, and federal partners, will feature a series of informative activities, tips, and trivia through MDEM’s social media channels. The focus extends beyond traditional winter safety measures.

The week will also address the health risks associated with prolonged exposure to extreme cold, emphasizing the impact on vulnerable populations and those with chronic diseases. It can lower body temperature, weaken the immune system, and aggravate chronic diseases like asthma, arthritis, and diabetes, among others. MDEM and its partners stress the importance of community support, urging residents to check on neighbors who may be particularly vulnerable to winter weather.

Indoor safety concerns escalate for thousands facing power outages or financial constraints preventing adequate home heating. Individuals with chronic illnesses face heightened risks in cold environments. Winter exacerbates cases of carbon monoxide exposure, particularly as people resort to generators, stoves, and heating systems that may lack proper maintenance. It’s crucial to recognize that if a space is unsafe for operating a gas lawnmower or a car, the same applies to the operation of a portable generator.

Maryland Winter Safety Week will also provide valuable tips on fire safety, home preparedness, and safe winter driving. Residents are encouraged to follow trusted weather sources, such as the National Weather Service (NWS) and local news media, to stay informed about predicted frozen precipitation or severe cold temperatures.

As Marylanders prepare for winter, MDEM remains committed to its vision to shape a more resilient Maryland where communities thrive and foster a culture of preparedness to help residents navigate the challenges of the season safely.

MDEM and other State partners have gathered numerous winter preparedness and safety tips that will be shared throughout Maryland Winter Safety Week and the winter season through our social media channels. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Make sure you have multiple ways to receive alerts and you are registered with MdReady. To receive alerts, tips, and resources related to threats and hazards affecting or that may affect Maryland, text MdReady to 211-631 or text MdListo for Spanish.
  • Check on the welfare of family, friends, and neighbors who are vulnerable to cold, snow, and ice, especially the elderly and those with access and functional needs.
  • Practice safety when heating your home or workplace, be cautious when cooking, and ensure holiday lights and decorations are used properly. Consider using battery-operated flameless candles; they look and smell real!
  • Build a home preparedness kit with winter supplies, such as snow shovels, ice-melting products, extra warm clothes and blankets, flashlights, and batteries.
  • Follow trusted weather sources for predictions of frozen precipitation or severe cold temperatures.
  • Make sure your car is ready for winter travel:
    • Keep a car emergency kit in your vehicle, including winter supplies and essentials. Having a car emergency kit can be the difference between surviving being stranded in a severe winter storm or blizzard and getting frostbite, or worse, dying.
    • Check and winterize your vehicle, including all fluids, wiper blades, lights, and systems before the winter season begins.
    • Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
  • The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration offers these tips for safe winter driving.
  • Identify your pet with up-to-date name tag (including your cell phone) and rabies tag. Your pet can also be microchipped as most vets or animal control agencies can scan the chip to help locate the owner.
  • Never use your stove as a heating source.

Additional information about winter preparedness can be found on our website (, X (Twitter) feedFacebook pageLinkedIn page, and YouTube site.


Jorge Castillo,, 443-381-3518
Ed McDonough,, 410-446-3333
24/7 line: 877-636-2872

Governor Moore Signs Executive Order to Enhance Government Coordination Ahead of Emergencies

November 22nd, 2023

Published: 11/20/2023

ANNAPOLIS, MD — In a groundbreaking move to promote the safety and well-being of Maryland residents and visitors, Governor Wes Moore today signed an executive order establishing a State of Preparedness. This important initiative will enhance the state’s ability to respond swiftly and effectively to potential hazards and threats in advance of an actual disaster.

“The safety and security of our residents is our top priority, and this executive order empowers us to act proactively in the face of potential threats,” said Gov. Moore. “By declaring a State of Preparedness ahead of potential impacts, we can ensure that our state government is well-prepared to respond rapidly and effectively while providing the necessary resources to protect our communities.”

Under the new executive order, a State of Preparedness may be declared by the governor when there is heightened risk of disruption to the lives of Marylanders. The order directs the Department of Emergency Management to coordinate the comprehensive preparation of state government ahead of potential impacts from hazards or threats, providing a vital layer of protection for Marylanders without necessitating a State of Emergency.

The new order recognizes the importance of preparedness, early coordination, and proactive protection, providing the capacity to act decisively without declaring a full State of Emergency. As part of a phased approach, the order provides more flexibility to respond proportionally to level of risk, helps ensure that resources are efficiently managed, and promotes preparedness is a top priority even in the absence of a full State of Emergency to mobilize resources and support more efficiently.

“The State of Preparedness executive order underscores our commitment to safeguarding the people of Maryland,” said Maryland Department of Emergency Management Secretary Russ Strickland. “During a State of Preparedness, emergency management will establish a common operating picture and coordinate resource management efforts, ensuring that we are well-prepared for any potential impact.”

When a State of Preparedness is declared, it is imperative for Maryland residents and visitors to stay informed through trusted local and state government communications and news sources and to follow the recommended preparedness actions.

For more information about the Maryland Department of Emergency Management and the Maryland Emergency Management System, please visit: You can also visit to learn more about hazards that affect Maryland and sign up for text alerts.


Governor Moore Appoints First Chief Sustainability Officer and Chief Resilience Officer in Maryland’s History

November 22nd, 2023

Published: 11/15/2023

ANNAPOLIS, MD — Maryland Governor Wes Moore today announced the appointment of Meghan Conklin as the state’s first chief sustainability officer and Michael Hinson as the state’s first chief resilience officer. Through a whole-of-government approach, the chief sustainability officer and the chief resilience officer will work to address the current and future effects of climate change.

“Addressing the existential threat of climate change requires bold and decisive action. We must think strategically and we must address our present challenges to prevent future effects,” said Governor Moore. “I am confident that Meghan Conklin and Michael Hinson possess the leadership qualities necessary to meet this moment and I look forward to working with each of them to promote a cleaner, greener, more resilient and more sustainable Maryland.”

The chief sustainability officer will work to ensure Maryland meets the state’s bold climate and environmental goals, while the chief resilience officer will ensure Maryland is prepared to adapt, mitigate, and recover from all hazards and emergencies, including disasters that have increased in frequency and intensity from climate change.

Meghan Conklin, Chief Sustainability Officer
Meghan Conklin has more than 20 years of experience in climate change, environment, and energy policy, having served in senior roles in the Obama Administration, the U.S. Senate, and the U.S. House of Representatives. Meghan previously served for four years as policy advisor to U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen on issues including climate, environment, energy, agriculture, and more. In the Obama Administration, Meghan served as deputy assistant secretary for transmission permitting in the Office of Electricity at the Department of Energy and Associate Deputy Secretary of the Interior.

As Maryland’s chief sustainability officer, Conklin will collaborate with internal and external stakeholders to coordinate efforts and resources needed to design, implement, and track progress toward the state’s nation-leading environmental and climate goals. Conklin will participate as a member on the Governor’s Climate Subcabinet and Bay Subcabinet, developing and implementing climate-related policies, regulations, and programs, and fostering partnerships with federal, state, local, and private stakeholders to provide additional resources needed to meet the state’s climate goals on time, including reaching net-zero emissions by 2045, improving water quality, and making Maryland the greenest state in the country.

Michael Hinson, Chief Resilience Officer
Michael Hinson spent more than ten years with the Howard County Office of Emergency Management, including more than three years as director. He previously served as deputy director and as a senior emergency management specialist in the office, assisting with recovery efforts after the devastating 2016 and 2018 floods in downtown Ellicott City. Hinson is also an adjunct faculty member at the Mid-Atlantic Center for Emergency Management and Public Safety at Frederick Community College.

Hinson will work within the Maryland Department of Emergency Management to provide statewide coordination for resilience across all hazards, ensuring that Maryland can adapt to changing conditions and prepare for, withstand, and rapidly recover from disruptions to everyday life. The position—one of just seven similar jobs nationwide—was authorized last year by the Maryland General Assembly after being created by a bill sponsored by Sen. Katie Fry Hester, a Democrat representing Howard and Montgomery counties.

Hinson will focus on developing a comprehensive, multidisciplinary resilience strategy for the state to adapt, mitigate, and recover from all hazards and emergencies. Leading the Office of Resilience at the Maryland Department of Emergency Management, he will coordinate state and local efforts to build resilience to risks identified in the Maryland Hazard Mitigation Plan; ensure that investments prioritize vulnerable communities and environmental justice; coordinate across state and local agencies to prepare and implement resilience strategies; and identify and provide funding and technical assistance for state and local resilience efforts.

“Michael Hinson’s appointment as Maryland’s first chief resilience officer is a significant step towards enhancing our state’s preparedness and resilience,” said Maryland Department of Emergency Management Secretary Russ Strickland. “His extensive experience in emergency management and tenure as the chief emergency manager in Howard County has given him valuable insights into the importance of coordination and community relationships in our state’s resilience efforts. We believe that, under his leadership, Maryland will stand as a national leader in resilience, and we look forward to supporting his endeavors to ensure the safety and resilience of our communities.”


Maryland Travel Safety Week Begins as Holiday Travel Exceeds Pre-Pandemic Levels

November 13th, 2023

“Know Before You Go” and Prepare for Longer Travel Times; Practice Safe Travel Habits Year-Round

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Maryland Winter Safety Week LongREISTERSTOWN, MD (November 13, 2023) — The Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM) wants to make sure all Maryland residents are as safe as possible as they travel during this holiday season. MDEM’s Annual Maryland Travel Safety Week encourages Marylanders to practice safe travel habits while using all modes of transportation throughout the year.

MDEM also reminds travelers that, regardless of their mode of transportation, they should remember to “Know Before You Go” and “If You See Something, Say Something.”

“As we embark on the holiday season, it’s important to be especially vigilant during the busiest travel period of the year,” said MDEM Secretary Russ Strickland. “During Maryland Travel Safety Week, I urge all residents to be alert and be prepared so you can have a safe and enjoyable holiday season. Plan ahead and leave plenty of extra time to deal with the inevitable delays so you will not have to rush.”

MDEM designated November 13-19 as Maryland Travel Safety Week in preparation for the beginning of holiday travel to encourage safe travel all year on all modes of transportation. MDEM encourages travelers to learn about safe travel practices whether using roads, air, or rail, and as pedestrians and bike riders. You should also be aware of safety at various types of lodgings and gatherings.

MDEM encourages Marylanders to review some of these simple practices recommended by safety specialists covering a variety of transportation methods.

Know Before You Go — Head out for travel informed and prepared so you know the travel conditions while en route to your destination. Check on road and traffic conditions along your route; check for last-minute delays or cancellations before heading to the airport or train station; and always check local weather forecasts to make sure you pack appropriate clothing and prepare for potential travel delays.

If You See Something, Say Something — If you see a suspicious activity, device or package, or overhear a suspicious conversation, report it immediately to a facility manager, carrier employee, or law enforcement. If you see accidents or hazards along the roadway or hiking/biking trails, make sure to alert local law enforcement, highway officials, or park employees so they can respond.

Safety tips when traveling by motor vehicle

Over the last few years, the State’s “Move Over Law has been expanded to require motorists to make a lane change or slow down when approaching ANY stopped, standing, or parked vehicle displaying warning signals – including hazard warning lights, road flares, and other caution signals including, traffic cones, caution signs, and non-vehicular warning signs.

Other tips for drivers include:

  • Allow extra time for travel due to increased traffic and congestion.
  • Stay alert and give driving your full attention.
  • Show courtesy to other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists.
  • Drive defensively and carefully (not aggressively).
  • Comply with traffic laws and heed all traffic signs, signals, and markings.
  • Make sure all passengers are using seat belts and car seats properly.
  • Make sure to have an emergency kit in your car with jumper cables, snacks, bottled water, and seasonally appropriate items like blankets, sand, or cat litter.
  • Be especially careful in work zones.
  • Wear U.S. Department of Transportation-approved helmets and eye protection when driving or riding on a motorcycle. Check the regulations where you will be traveling. Though these mandates vary by state, it is recommended to always wear a helmet and eye protection for your safety.

Other information for safe travel on the roads is available from the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration or AAA Mid-Atlantic. For information about safety on Maryland toll roads, bridges, and tunnels, please visit the Maryland Transportation AuthorityMDOT SHA also has motorcycle safety tips. For safety tips related to large commercial vehicles and intercity (non-transit) buses, please visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Safety tips when traveling by taxi or rideshare

  • Ask ahead for the typical price and tipping range.
  • Call for a taxi instead of hailing one.
  • Make sure you verify the correct driver before getting into the car, if using a shared ride service like Uber or Lyft, by asking what their name is (don’t ask “Is your name so and so”).
  • Look for a meter, a radio, a badge, a photo ID, and a door handle.
  • Sit in the backseat – not in the passenger seat.
  • Keep expensive items hidden and keep your belongings close.

Here are taxi safety tips from the Travel Insurance Review and a link to the taxi riders Consumer Bill of Rights from the Maryland Public Safety Legal Resources offers these tips for those using rideshare services, which often are not regulated in the same way as taxi services.

Safety tips when traveling by air

  • Be on time, allow time to get through the security checkpoint, and build in time for possible schedule changes.
  • Stay alert and watch your bags and belongings at all times.
  • Let ONLY uniformed airline personnel handle your bags.
  • Check with the information desks or airport/airline employees if you need help navigating the airport.
  • Be aware of what can and cannot be carried with your carry-on bags and luggage.

Other information for safe air travel can be found at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and the Transportation Security Administration.

Safety tips when traveling by railroad

  • Stay alert and watch your bags and belongings at all times..
  • Watch your step when boarding and leaving the train and moving from car to car.
  • Board and exit a train only when it’s NOT moving.
  • Make sure you familiarize yourself with the safety card found in most seatbacks.
  • Arrive at least 30 minutes before your train is due to depart. Some stations require additional time.
  • Report any suspicious behavior to police, station personnel, Amtrak Police, or by calling 1-800-331-0008.

More information about intercity rail travel safety can be found from Amtrak, and the Federal Railroad Administration has information for motorists and pedestrians at railroad crossings.

Safety tips when using public transportation (bus, subway, light rail, commuter rail)

  • Check schedules ahead of time and leave sufficient time to make appropriate connections.
  • Download apps that allow you to check arrival times and pay fares.
  • Keep jewelry and other valuables out of sight at all times. If your pocket is picked, yell out immediately to warn others; don’t be afraid to shout. Tell the train or bus operator and request the police.
  • Pay particular attention to your electronics, such as cell phones, tablets, and laptop computers.
  • Use caution when on rail platforms and at bus drop-offs, especially when surfaces are wet or icy.

Here are some safety tips from Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Administration, which operates Metro bus and rail service in the Washington, D.C. area. Here are anti-theft tips from the Maryland Transit Administration, which operates bus, subway, and light rail service in the Baltimore metro area.

Safety tips for lodging facilities (hotels, motels, resorts, short-term, and vacation rentals)

  • Stay in facilities that have hard-wired smoke alarms and an automatic fire sprinkler system in each guest room.
  • Read the fire evacuation plan carefully.
  • Find the two closest exits from your room.
  • Count the number of doors between your room and the exits; this will assist you if you need to evacuate in the dark.
  • Find the fire alarms on your floor.
  • Make sure if the rental is a vacation or private home, the facility has deadbolt locks on all doors and locking windows and has appropriate fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Make sure if a vacation or private home rental has a swimming pool, someone is observing all swimmers and that proper safety equipment is available.
  • Know the cancellation policy when making a reservation.

You can find additional safety tips for travelers staying at vacation and private home rentals from iPropertyManagement. You can find more hotel/motel safety tips from SmarterTravel.

Safety tips for pedestrians

  • Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks whenever possible.
  • Stop at curbs and look left, right, and left again always before crossing a street and watch for cars turning in or leaving driveways.
  • Wear light or bright-colored clothing or reflective items, especially before sunrise and after sunset.
  • Pay attention and take off headphones while walking – no texting or playing games.

The MDOT State Highway Administration has more safety tips for pedestrians, as does the Federal Highway Administration.

Safety tips for those using bicycles

  • Stop at all red lights and stop signs.
  • Ride defensively – expect the unexpected.
  • Ride with traffic, never against it.
  • Use hand signals when turning or stopping.
  • Stay visible when riding at night and during inclement weather.
  • Wear a helmet correctly.

MDOT State Highway Administration has additional bicycle safety tips, as does the Federal Highway Administration.

Safety tips for traveling on the water

Whether piloting your own recreational boat or traveling on a passenger vessel (cruise ship or ferry), here are some important safety tips:

  • Check weather forecasts for approaching fronts or storm watches. By the time a storm or gale warning is issued, it might be too late to get to a safe harbor.
  • Refuse passengers to ride on the bow, gunwale, transom, seatbacks, or other spots where they might fall overboard.
  • Wear your engine cut-off switch lanyard and your life jacket at all times. If the lanyard is removed from the switch, the engine will not shut off.
  • Wear a United States Coast Guard-approved Personal Flotation Device (PFD) while on a recreational vessel under 21 feet in length if under age 13; this is a law.
  • Wear an approved PFD at all times, for maximum safety, when on recreational boats. This applies to all persons, no matter how good of swimmers they are.
  • Follow all safety directions, read prepared safety material, and participate in all life safety drills on passenger vessels .

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has specific information for recreational boats traveling in Maryland waters, including kayaks and rowboats. The United States Coast Guard also has boater safety information. The Maryland Port Administration has information for people traveling out of the Baltimore cruise ship terminal. The Cruise Critic also has some tips for traveling safely on cruise ships.


Jorge Castillo,, 443-381-3518
Ed McDonough,, 410-446-3333
24/7 line: 877-636-2872

Maryland Celebrates Unveiling of its First Mesonet Tower

October 30th, 2023

A Landmark Moment in Advancing Weather Prediction and Public Safety

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Maryland Mesonet LogoEllicott City, MD (October 30, 2023) — The Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM) and the University of Maryland (UMD) today proudly unveiled the first of more than 70 Maryland Mesonet towers. The historic event marked a significant step forward in advancing weather prediction and ensuring the safety of Maryland’s residents and visitors.

The press event, held at the University of Maryland’s Central Maryland Research and Education Center in Clarksville (Howard County), celebrated a remarkable collaboration and a promising future for weather-related emergency management. The unveiling ceremony featured prominent speakers, including elected officials, who offered their valuable insights and enthusiasm for this transformative project.

“The unveiling of the first Maryland Mesonet Tower signifies a significant stride towards enhancing public safety and protecting Marylanders. The improved accuracy and lead time for severe weather warnings will be one of the most important benefits for our people. This groundbreaking initiative will revolutionize weather prediction, and I’m proud of the partnership between MDEM and the University of Maryland.” – MDEM Secretary Russ Strickland

“The University of Maryland is always looking for ways to serve our state, and the Maryland Mesonet is a perfect example of the expertise we have to offer,” said UMD President Darryll J. Pines. “As Earth’s climate undergoes accelerating changes, weather forecasting only gets tougher. Getting it right quickly is crucial to the safety of people in this region as well as farmers’ ability to feed the world.  This state-of-the-art system, coupled with our work with local, state and federal officials, makes our state a better place to live for all Marylanders.” – UMD President Darryll J. Pines

“The Mesonet will protect Marylanders from extreme wind and water harm by advancing emergency preparedness and the accuracy of regional weather forecasts. With an active State Climatologist Office and a fully deployed Mesonet soon, the University of Maryland will provide Marylanders insightful information on severe weather and climate variability and change that will benefit the state’s agriculture, tourism and transportation sectors, among others.” – Sumant Nigam, Director of the Maryland Mesonet; Professor and Chair of UMD’s Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science; Professor in UMD’s Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center

Also spoke at the event:

  • Guy J. Guzzone, Maryland State Senator, District 13
  • Katie Fry Hester, Maryland State Senator, District 9
  • Jennifer King Rice, University of Maryland Provost
  • Chris Strong, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, National Weather Service

Also Attended the Event:

  • Natalie Ziegler, Maryland State Delegate, District 9A
  • Courtney Watson, Maryland State Delegate, District 9B

A Game Changer for Maryland

  1. Serving All Corners of the State: The Maryland Mesonet is strategically positioned to impact all regions of the State, particularly underserved communities vulnerable to climate change and sea-level rise.
  2. Faster, More Accurate Data: The Mesonet provides rapid, precise data for risk communication, ultimately saving lives.
  3. Data-Based Applications: The project supports the development of Mesonet-data-based applications for State and local agencies, NWS, Maryland’s K-12 education, farmers, fishermen, water managers, air-quality monitors, wind and solar energy producers, transportation professionals, and the media.

In addition to this significant unveiling event, a news conference was held last year to mark the inception of this transformative partnership, and a video highlighting the Mesonet’s features and importance is currently in production. For more information, please visit

About MDEM: MDEM is a national leader in emergency management that provides Maryland residents, organizations, and emergency management partners with expert information, programmatic activities, and leadership in the delivery of financial, technical and physical resources “to shape a resilient Maryland where communities thrive.”

About the University of Maryland: The University of Maryland (UMD) is the state’s flagship university and a leading public research institution, propelled by a $1.3 billion joint research enterprise. Located four miles from Washington, D.C., the university is dedicated to addressing the grand challenges of our time and is the nation’s first Do Good campus. It is driven by a diverse and proudly inclusive community of more than 50,000 fearless Terrapins. UMD is a top producer of Fulbright scholars and offers an unparalleled student experience with more than 300 academic programs, 25 living-learning programs and 400 study abroad programs. Spurred by a culture of innovation and creativity, UMD faculty are global leaders in their field and include Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners and members of the national academies. For more information about the University of Maryland, visit

About the Maryland Mesonet: The Maryland Mesonet is a collaborative project between MDEM, UMD, Maryland Environmental Service (MES), NWS, and other State agencies, with the goal to develop and operate a world-class atmospheric monitoring system to deliver reliable, timely information to residents and enhance critical public safety decision-making. The Mesonet will also support agricultural, economic, and transportation operations.

A Mesonet (mesoscale network) is a network of automated weather observing infrastructure designed to take frequent and reliable atmospheric measurements. The data is transferred wirelessly to a central server where it can then be displayed on a user-friendly website with visualizations, maps, charts, and archives; as well as disseminated to stakeholders.


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Pictures courtesy of UMD/John T. Consoli and MDEM/Travis Brown


Jorge Castillo,, 443-381-3518
Ed McDonough,, 410-446-3333
24/7 line: 877-636-2872

Maryland Residents Encouraged to Participate in Great ShakeOut

October 17th, 2023

Drop, Cover, and Hold On During Preparedness Drill

Thursday at 10:19 a.m.

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Great ShakeOutREISTERSTOWN, MD (October 17, 2023) — The Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM) is proud to promote Earthquake Preparedness and encourages Marylanders to take part in The Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills occurring across the Country on October 19 at 10:19 a.m. EDT.  Almost 73,000 people representing approximately 50 organizations, including individuals and families from Maryland were registered as of Friday afternoon. Others are encouraged to register here before the exercise begins.

“We typically do not think of earthquakes as a common hazard in Maryland,” said MDEM Secretary Russ Strickland. “But the 2011 earthquake was a reminder for us to practice what to do – and what NOT to do – in an earthquake.” While powerful earthquakes are not common in the Mid-Atlantic Region, they have happened. The August 23, 2011 tremblor near Mineral, Virginia, was felt throughout our State and reminded us that we are not immune from such activity.

One of the most frightening and destructive phenomena of nature is a severe earthquake and its terrible aftereffects.  Earthquakes can happen at any time of the year and at any time during the day. It is impossible to predict when or where an earthquake will occur, so it is important that you and your family are prepared ahead of time.

A key aspect of the Great ShakeOut is integrating comprehensive science-based earthquake research and the lessons learned from decades of social science research about why people get prepared.  The result is a “teachable moment” on par with having an actual earthquake (often followed by increased interest in getting ready for earthquakes).  ShakeOut creates the sense of urgency that is needed for people, organizations, and communities to get prepared, to practice what to do to be safe, and to learn what plans need to be improved.

On October 19 at 10:19 a.m. EDT you should drop, cover, and hold on for earthquake preparedness;

  • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!),
  • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
  • HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

More information about earthquake preparedness can be found at The Great, or

We invite individuals or organizations who participate in the drill on Thursday morning to email pictures to, and we will post some photos on some of our social media platforms.

Great ShakeOut Banner


Jorge Castillo,, 443-381-3518
Ed McDonough,, 410-446-3333
24/7 line: 877-636-2872

Maryland Emergency Management Secretary Elected President of the National Emergency Management Association

October 5th, 2023

REISTERSTOWN, MD (October 5, 2023) — Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM) Secretary Russ Strickland today was elected President of the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA). The selection took place at the Association’s annual forum in Memphis, Tenn.

“I am honored and humbled to be leading the Association at such a pivotal time for emergency management,” said Strickland. “In many cases, the loss of lives due to disasters has been decreasing, thanks to improved early warning systems, emergency response, and disaster preparedness. However, there is a growing body of scientific evidence indicating an increase in the frequency and intensity of climate-related disasters, such as hurricanes, heatwaves, wildfires, and extreme precipitation events. As we have shown the ability to coordinate response and recovery efforts among disciplines, we also are being asked to help solve a wider range of issues. We have important work to do.” As of September 11, 2023, a total of 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).

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. NEMA is the professional association of and for emergency management directors from all 50 states, 8 U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia, and is an affiliate of the Council of State Governments.

MDEM staff is also supporting Maryland’s engagement with multiple NEMA committees, including Resilience, Response and Recovery, and Legislative Committees. Additionally, 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.”

About Russell J. Strickland

Secretary Strickland has been leading the Maryland Department of Emergency Management (formerly Maryland Emergency Management Agency – MEMA) since July 2015 and was reappointed Secretary of MDEM by Governor Wes Moore in January 2023. Secretary Strickland is an experienced emergency management professional who has more than 40 years of experience in the field of emergency services and first responder activities at the state and local levels of government, academia, and the private sector. This includes expertise in fire and rescue services, emergency medical services, fire inspection and investigation, communications, and emergency management leadership.

Directly prior to his appointment, Secretary Strickland worked as a Senior Law & Policy Analyst at the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security (CHHS), where he led CHHS’ work with the United States Department of State Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program and developed strategy for the Montgomery County (Md.) Fire Department to meet compliance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Secretary Strickland also has experience leading a cabinet-level emergency services department at the local level as the Director of Emergency Services in Harford County, Md. This position oversees emergency operations and communications, public safety answering points (the 9-1-1 center), training, and special operations, among other responsibilities.

His executive responsibilities have also included previously serving the State of Maryland as Deputy Director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency and the Assistant Director of the Field Programs Division at the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute, University of Maryland, College Park.

Secretary Strickland has a Master of Science degree in Management from Frostburg State College. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology from the University of Maryland, College Park.

National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) President Russ Strickland with outgoing NEMA President Patrick Sheehan of Tennessee.

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


Jorge Castillo,, 443-381-3518
Ed McDonough,, 410-446-3333
24/7 line: 877-636-2872

Maryland Will Receive Radio, Television, and Cell Phone Alerts During National Test

October 3rd, 2023

Wednesday, Oct. 4, Afternoon Test Will Include Wireless Emergency Alert and Emergency Alert System Messages

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Emergency Alert IconREISTERSTOWN, MD (October 3, 2023) — Maryland residents and those visiting the State will see tests of federal warning alerts as part of a nationwide test Wednesday, Oct. 4, beginning at approximately 2:20 p.m. EDT. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will conduct the national test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA).

The purpose of this national test is to ensure that the systems continue to be effective means of warning the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level. FEMA and the FCC are coordinating with EAS participants, wireless providers, emergency managers, and other stakeholders in preparation for this national test to minimize confusion and to maximize the public safety value of the test.

“These tests help to ensure that residents across the country can receive timely messages about emergencies,” said Russ Strickland, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM). “This is the system that sends the weather warnings and Amber alerts, and it is an important tool to test the effectiveness of the system.”

WEA TEST: The WEA portion of the test will be initiated using FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), a centralized internet-based system administered by FEMA that enables authorities to send authenticated emergency messages to the public through multiple communications networks. The WEA test will be administered via a code sent to cell phones. The test message will display in either English or Spanish, depending on the language settings of the wireless handset.

All wireless phones should receive the message only once. The following can be expected from the nationwide WEA test:

  • Beginning at approximately 2:20 p.m. ET, cell towers will broadcast the test for approximately 30 minutes. During this time, WEA-compatible wireless phones that are switched on, within range of an active cell tower and whose wireless provider participates in WEA, should be capable of receiving the test message.
  • For consumers, the message that appears on their phones will read: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
  • Phones with the main menu set to Spanish will display: “ESTA ES UNA PRUEBA del Sistema Nacional de Alerta de Emergencia. No se necesita acción.”

WEA alerts are created and sent by authorized federal, state, local, tribal and territorial government agencies through IPAWS to participating wireless providers, which deliver the alerts to compatible handsets in geo-targeted areas. To help ensure these alerts are accessible to the entire public, including people with disabilities, the alerts are accompanied by a unique tone and vibration.

EAS TEST: The EAS portion of the test will be sent to radios and televisions and disseminated as a Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) message via the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System-Open Platform for Emergency Networks (IPAWS-OPEN).

Important information about the EAS test:

  • The EAS portion of the test is scheduled to last approximately one minute and will be conducted with the participation of radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers.
  • The test message will be similar to the regular monthly EAS test messages with which the public is familiar. It will state: “This is a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, covering the United States from 14:20 to 14:50 hours EDT. This is only a test. No action is required by the public.”

The Maryland Department of Emergency Management has no additional information about the test. For more information, please contact FEMA at


Jorge Castillo,, 443-381-3518
Ed McDonough,, 410-446-3333
24/7 line: 877-636-2872

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