Skip to Content Accessibility Information

Maryland Department of Emergency Management

MDEM Newsroom

MDEM, DoIT Announce Application Period is Open for State and Local Cybersecurity Grants

May 22nd, 2024
State and Local Cybersecurity Grant ProgramREISTERSTOWN, MD (May 22, 2024) — The Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM) is accepting applications for State and Local Cybersecurity Grants to help keep public agency information systems safe. Applicants must submit their applications to MDEM by Monday, June 17, 2024 at 11:59 p.m.

“We are pleased to work with our partners at all levels of government to help strengthen the information technology infrastructure across Maryland,” said MDEM Secretary Russ Strickland. “Residents expect to safely access information and services from government agencies, and this grant will help to strengthen the resilience of information technology systems.”

The goal of the program is to help state and local governments address cybersecurity risks and threats to information systems. The program enables the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to make targeted cybersecurity investments in State and local government agencies, improving the security of critical infrastructure and resilience of services provided to the public.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are jointly managing the program. CISA will provide subject-matter expertise and determine allowable activities, while FEMA will conduct eligibility reviews and issue/administer the grant awards consistent with all applicable laws, regulations, and policies.

Applying for this award is a multi-step process and requires time to complete. The Maryland Cybersecurity Planning Committee, co-chaired by MDEM and the Maryland Department of Information Technology, has developed two programs to distribute the funds. Applicants are eligible to apply for both programs.

The first is a reimbursable Sub-grant program where eligible entities can apply for funding for their own projects. The second is a Shared Services program where jurisdictions can receive support for:

  • Cybersecurity assessments
  • Vulnerability management
  • Consultations on how to reduce risk
  • Improving security
  • Cyber readiness and resilience
  • Hardening networks from the Department of Information Technology’s Office of Security Management

Please visit this website for more information about the program and step-by-step instructions for creating an application packet. You also may email slcgp.grant@maryland.gov.

###

CONTACT:
Jorge Castillo, jorge.castillo@maryland.gov, 443-381-3518
Ed McDonough, ed.mcdonough@maryland.gov, 410-446-3333
Travis Brown, travis.brown2@maryland.gov, 410-702-3726
24/7 line: 877-636-2872


Caroline, Kent Counties Help Make Maryland Eighth State Certified As Totally “StormReady”

May 3rd, 2024

Announcement Made at First Mesonet Tower Serving Upper Eastern Shore as State Weather Network Grows

StormReadyRIDGELY, MD (May 3, 2024)  Caroline and Kent counties in Maryland recently received their StormReady certification from the National Weather Service (NWS), making Maryland the eighth state to have all of its local jurisdictions be certified as StormReady. The program was started by the NWS in 1998 and uses a grassroots approach to help communities develop plans to handle all types of extreme weather—from tornadoes to winter storms.

The Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM) today joined NWS officials and local partners from Caroline and Kent Counties to announce the milestone at the recently erected Mesonet tower adjacent to Ridgely Elementary School in Caroline County. The tower is one of 70 planned weather data collection stations across the State and the first on the upper Eastern Shore. It is a partnership between MDEM and the University of Maryland’s Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science.

“Becoming StormReady is a significant milestone for our State and a crucial step for our local governments and partners to ensure the safety of our residents and visitors,” said Emergency Management Secretary, Russ Strickland. “I extend my sincere appreciation to Caroline and Kent counties, as well as all our local jurisdictions in Maryland, for their commitment to this endeavor. Special thanks are due to our local emergency managers for their dedicated efforts in guiding their communities through the process. Together, with our expanding network of Mesonet towers, we’re diligently working to enhance Marylanders’ safety against natural hazards.”

To qualify as StormReady, a community must: establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center; have more than one way to receive severe weather warnings and forecasts to alert the public; create a system that monitors weather conditions locally; promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars; and develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.

The project in Maryland was supported by the three NWS Forecast Offices serving the State: Baltimore-Washington in Sterling, VA, serving all counties west of the Chesapeake plus Cecil County; Mount Holly, NJ, near Philadelphia, serving Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties; and Wakefield, VA, serving Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties. StormReady traces its roots to a program called StormWise, which was started in 1998 by NWS Tulsa, Oklahoma in the area known as “Tornado Alley,” and was renamed StormReady in 2002.

“As a native Marylander, I am pleased that Maryland is one of the first StormReady states in the Nation,” said James E. Lee, Meteorologist-In-Charge at the Baltimore-Washington Forecast Office. “It speaks to the dedication of the partnership between all of the local jurisdictions in Maryland, the Maryland Department of Emergency Management, and the National Weather Service, with the shared goal to keep Marylanders safe from the multitude of weather threats we may experience.”

The program encourages communities to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations by providing emergency managers with clear-cut guidelines. For more information, visit the StormReady website.

In addition to Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City, other StormReady entities in the state include Ocean City; University of Maryland College Park; and Six Flags America in Prince George’s County. StormReady supporters are organizations, businesses, or facilities actively engaged in weather safety and preparedness but are unable to meet all the requirements of the full StormReady program, and include Arundel Mills Mall in Anne Arundel County, Clarksburg Premium Outlets in Montgomery County, Hagerstown Premium Outlets in Washington County, Queenstown Premium Outlets in Queen Anne’s County, and Towson University in Baltimore County. Other states with total StormReady participation include Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina.

The Mesonet site is one of 10 now operational around Maryland that provides near real-time weather information and data collection. This Mesonet tower station, currently the Easternmost site in Maryland, can also be valuable in providing real-time weather information for storms heading east toward our neighbors in Delaware. Other towers already serving the region include Wye Mills in Queen Anne’s County and Easton in Talbot County.

The Maryland Mesonet’s mission is to design, build, and operate a network of high-quality, closely spaced, rapid-sampling weather monitoring and data collection systems across the State to advance emergency preparedness, the accuracy of regional weather forecasts, and expedite disaster assessment and recovery.

Each mesonet site measures air temperature, atmospheric pressure, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, solar radiation, rainfall, snow depth, and soil moisture and temperature at five depths, most at one-minute intervals. The measurements are sent to data servers at the University of Maryland using cellular transmission. The automatic quality-controlled observations are transmitted in near real-time to the NWS and simultaneously available to emergency management personnel and the public from the Mesonet website.

MDEM reminds Maryland residents and visitors to have multiple ways to receive alerts. For more information, visit MDEM’s website at mdem.maryland.gov, follow MDEM’s Twitter feed at @MDMEMA, or follow MDEM’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MDMEMA. 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.

**PHOTO BELOW: Speakers gather after the press conference. From left to right: Maryland Mesonet Manager James Hyde; Kent County Administrator Shelley Heller; Caroline County Emergency Management Division Chief Doug Jones; National Weather Service (NWS) Director Ken Graham; and Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM) Secretary Russ Strickland**


StormReady1

StormReady2

StormReady2

StormReady3

StormReady1

StormReady4

StormReady5

StormReady6

StormReady7


###

CONTACT:
Jorge Castillo, jorge.castillo@maryland.gov, 443-381-3518
Ed McDonough, ed.mcdonough@maryland.gov, 410-446-3333
Travis Brown, travis.brown2@maryland.gov, 410-702-3726
24/7 line: 877-636-2872


Maryland Department of Emergency Management Highlights Importance of Preparedness for Nuclear Power Plant Emergencies

April 24th, 2024
(decorative spacer)
Peach Bottom Nuclear Power PlantREISTERSTOWN, MD (April 24, 2024) — The Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM), alongside other state, local, federal and private-sector partners,  successfully completed the Biennial Radiological Emergency Preparedness Exercise for the Peach Bottom Green Energy facility (previously known as Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station) on Tuesday,  April 16, 2024. Two days later, MDEM joined other partners in a joint Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX) along the Potomac River and C&O Canal between Dam 3 and the town of Brunswick.

Both of those training exercises took place while MDEM continued to support the State response to the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse and the subsequent reduction of activity at the Port of Baltimore.

“Participation in exercises like the Radiological Emergency Preparedness Exercise not only evaluates our readiness but also strengthens our ability to protect our communities in times of crises,” stated Secretary Russ Strickland of MDEM. “We can’t take a break from training and exercising, even if we are actively involved in a response or activation of our State Emergency Operations Center. Our collaboration with federal, State, and local partners ensures that we are well-prepared to mitigate the impact of any potential nuclear incident and safeguard the well-being of our residents.”

MDEM’s proactive engagement in emergency exercises, such as PBEX and SAREX, reflects its commitment to public safety and enhancing interagency collaboration. The radiological exercise, referred to as PBEX, also included the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), officials in Cecil and Harford counties, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP), and local officials in southern Pennsylvania. The exercise was evaluated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The exercise underscored the critical importance of preparedness for all hazards, including nuclear power plant incidents, and assessed the response capabilities of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of Maryland within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone surrounding Peach Bottom, in Delta, Pa., along the Susquehanna River.

SAREX was a collaborative effort, simulating a response for a hypothetical flood and bridge failure on the Potomac and C&O Canal. MDEM helped coordinate the event, which included the Maryland State Police (MSP), Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Police, Maryland National Guard (MDNG), CSX, and rescue teams and other officials from Frederick and Washington counties. Numerous other water rescue teams from around Maryland simulated a robust mutual aid response to rescue dozens of “victims” by boat, helicopter, and land search teams with K9s and mounted teams. SAREX exemplified the importance of interagency coordination and preparedness in managing emergencies.

MDEM reminds Maryland residents and visitors to have multiple ways to receive alerts. For more information, residents can also go to MDEM’s website at mdem.maryland.gov, follow MDEM’s Twitter feed at @MDMEMA, or follow MDEM’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MDMEMA. 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.


PBEX Unified Command at Maryland Department of Energy's Emergency Operations Center

MDEM joined other agencies at the Maryland Department of the Environment’s Emergency Operations Center as part of a federally graded exercise simulating an attack at the Peach Bottom nuclear facility in Delta, Pa. Photo Courtesy: David McCallister.


Rescue operations during the SAREX. Photo courtesy Digital Media Production Unit MCFRS

Rescue operations during the SAREX. Photo courtesy: Digital Media Production Unit MCFRS.


###

CONTACT:
Jorge Castillo, jorge.castillo@maryland.gov, 443-381-3518
Ed McDonough, ed.mcdonough@maryland.gov, 410-446-3333
24/7 line: 877-636-2872


Great Maryland Twister Test Set For Wednesday, April 10 at 10 a.m.

April 9th, 2024

MDEM, NWS Encourage Marylanders to Practice What to Do During a Tornado Warning; Alert Will Broadcast Over NOAA Weather Radios As Part of Maryland Severe Storms Awareness Week

(decorative spacer)
Maryland Great Twister Test (Tornado Drill) April 10, 2024

REISTERSTOWN, MD (April 9, 2024) — Maryland residents are invited to participate in the Great Maryland Twister Test on Wednesday, April 10, to practice what to do in case the National Weather Service (NWS) issues a tornado warning. The 10 a.m. drill is being coordinated by the Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM), NWS, and other partners as part of the 2024 Maryland Severe Storms Awareness Week, April 8-14, 2024.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 10, the NWS will issue a statement over National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radios about the tornado drill. Be aware, while an Emergency Alert System (EAS) test code will precede this message, that Required Monthly Test (RMT) code may not trigger some weather radios. This test code will also not trigger Wireless Emergency Alerts over cell phones. Schools, businesses, community groups, and individuals can practice what to do when a tornado warning is issued by NWS. While everyone is encouraged to participate in the drill Wednesday at 10 a.m., you can practice at other times too. Families, for example, might want to practice when everyone is at home.

“Whether you are in school, at work, or at home, knowing the safest place to go during a tornado warning is vital,” said MDEM Secretary Russ Strickland. “Tornadoes strike with little or no warning, so knowing how to receive a warning and quickly move to safety is essential.”

If you are under a tornado warning:

  • Go to a safe shelter immediately, such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or a small interior room on the lowest level of a sturdy building.
  • Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls.
  • Do not go under an overpass or bridge. You’re safer in a low, flat location.
  • Watch out for flying debris that can cause injury or death.
  • Use your arms to protect your head and neck. If they are close by, you can also use pillows, blankets, or couch cushions to protect those parts of your body.
  • Make plans to go to a public shelter if you can’t stay home.
  • Go to NOAA Weather Radio and your local news or official social media accounts for updated emergency information. Follow the instructions of State and local officials.

Tornadoes happen almost every year in Maryland – sometimes even violent and deadly ones. Since 2000, fatalities have been reported from tornadoes in LaPlata (Charles County), College Park (Prince George’s County), and Baltimore City. They are violently rotating columns of air that  can destroy buildings, flip cars, and create deadly flying debris.

While most common in our warm season in the afternoons and evenings, tornadoes can happen anytime and anywhere in Maryland when conditions are right. They bring intense, damaging winds that are often 80-110 miles per hour, and sometimes devastating winds as great as 150-200 mph that can destroy buildings. These rotating funnel clouds that extend to the ground create a path of damage often as wide as a football field, and sometimes up to a mile wide.

In conjunction with the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and the Maryland Center for School Safety (MCSS), public and private schools have been given guidance for directing students, faculty, and staff to the safest areas of their facilities during a tornado warning. Schools are being encouraged to practice during the Great Maryland Twister Test at 10 a.m. Wednesday if at all possible, and at other times if needed.

The NWS Baltimore/Washington Weather Forecast Office, which covers most Maryland jurisdictions, is coordinating this statement and drill in conjunction with their colleagues at NWS Mount Holly (PA), which covers Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot counties, and NWS Wakefield (VA), which handles Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties.

Marylanders are also encouraged to download the MdReady WebApp, which gives instant access to a wide array of emergency notifications and preparedness information to residents and visitors. To install the new WebApp, users can visit MdReady.maryland.gov and follow the prompt to easily add the MdReady shortcut to a mobile device home screen or to sign up for text alerts in English or Spanish (coming later in April, users will be able to choose from 178 languages).

This also is the 50th anniversary of one of the worst tornado outbreaks in United States history, on April 3, 1974. While none of the tornadoes in this system made it to Maryland, some were as close as Virginia and West Virginia. To learn more about this deadly outbreak, please view this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVHcvaWAoks

Visit our Severe Storms Awareness Week page for more information: mdem.maryland.gov/Pages/severe-storms-week.aspx. To find more preparedness information for severe storms and other hazards, please visit the following websites: mdem.maryland.gov/Pages/types-of-emergencies.aspxweather.gov/safety, or ready.gov. To receive text alerts, tips, and resources related to threats and hazards that may affect Maryland, text “MdReady” to 211-631, or text “MdListo” to receive alerts in Spanish

###

CONTACT:
Jorge Castillo, jorge.castillo@maryland.gov, 443-381-3518
Ed McDonough, ed.mcdonough@maryland.gov, 410-446-3333
24/7 line: 877-636-2872


MDEM, NWS Urge Marylanders to “Be MdReady, Prepare Before the Storm” While Focusing on Spring Storm Hazards

April 8th, 2024

During Maryland Severe Storms Awareness Week Residents Encouraged to Participate in Statewide Tornado Drill on April 10

 

REISTERSTOWN, MD (April 8, 2024) — The Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM) and the National Weather Service (NWS) are urging residents to be aware of the most common spring weather hazards and how to prepare for and protect against them during Maryland Severe Storms Awareness Week, April 8-14. Maryland residents and visitors are also invited to practice what to do in the event of a tornado as part of the Great Maryland Twister Test at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 10.

“Let’s unite as a community to embrace preparedness and resilience in the face of spring’s unpredictable weather,” urged MDEM Secretary Russ Strickland. “By staying informed, having a plan, and practicing safety measures, we empower ourselves to mitigate the impact of storms and protect our loved ones. Together, let’s be MdReady and weather any challenge that comes our way.”

Marylanders are also encouraged to install the MdReady WebApp, which gives instant access to a wide array of emergency notifications and preparedness information to residents and visitors. To install the new WebApp, users can visit MdReady.maryland.gov and follow the prompt to easily add the MdReady shortcut to a mobile device home screen or to sign up for text alerts in English or Spanish (coming later in April, users will be able to choose from 178 languages).

During Severe Storms Awareness Week, MDEM will devote special days to cover information about flooding, damaging winds, tornadoes, hail, and lightning.

The theme on Monday, April 8, is flooding, generally the most common weather hazard in Maryland. Most flood fatalities in Maryland have happened when people try to drive, walk, or swim across flood waters. If you see standing water on a roadway or bridge, it is often not possible to tell how deep the water is or how quickly it is flowing. Turn Around, Don’t Drown.

On Tuesday, April 9, the focus is damaging winds. While many people focus on swirling tornadic winds, straight-line winds and downbursts can also cause serious damage. Much of the damage from the derecho storm in the summer of 2012 was caused by straight-line winds.

On Wednesday, April 10, Marylanders are invited by MDEM and the NWS to practice what to do in the case of an actual Tornado Warning during the Great Maryland Twister Test tornado drill. At 10 a.m., the NWS will issue a statement over National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radios about the tornado drill. Be aware, while an Emergency Alert System (EAS) test code will precede this message, that Required Monthly Test (RMT) code may not trigger some weather radios. This test code will also not trigger Wireless Emergency Alerts over cell phones.

The NWS Baltimore/Washington Weather Forecast Office, which covers most Maryland jurisdictions, is coordinating this statement and drill in conjunction with their colleagues at NWS Mount Holly (PA), which covers Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot counties, and NWS Wakefield (VA) which handles Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties. While Maryland schools, businesses, and organizations can drill at 10 a.m., they are encouraged to practice their tornado drill any time that day.

Dangers from hail will be the focus on Thursday, April 11. Hail is a ball of ice formed in the extreme turbulence of strong thunderstorms as rain freezes and re-freezes, sometimes allowing the ice to grow as large as the size of softballs. Hail is formed only in strong, dangerous storms, and the larger the hail, the more dangerous the storm. If you witness hail, get indoors as soon as possible.

On Friday, April 12, the theme is lightning safety. More than 98 percent of lightning casualties are suffered by people outdoors. The most frequent fatalities come outside of the rain area. Lightning can strike more than 10 miles away from where rain is falling. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning. When Thunder Roars, Head Indoors. 

“The majority of Maryland’s weather-related damage comes from thunderstorms and tornadoes,” said James E. Lee, Meteorologist in Charge of the NWS Baltimore/Washington Weather Forecast Office (WFO). “The NWS Baltimore/Washington WFO typically identifies hazardous weather threats minutes in advance, then immediately issues severe weather warnings. It is vital that Marylanders receive our warnings and rapidly respond to get out of harm’s way. Maryland Severe Storms Awareness Week reminds people to develop a response plan, then practice the plan during the tornado drill.”

Visit our Severe Storms Awareness Week page for more information: mdem.maryland.gov/Pages/severe-storms-week.aspx. To find more preparedness information for severe storms and other hazards, please visit the following websites: MdReady.maryland.gov, or Ready.gov. To receive text alerts, tips, and resources related to threats and hazards that may affect Maryland, text “MdReady” to 211-631, or text “MdListo” to receive alerts in Spanish.

###

CONTACT:
Jorge Castillo, jorge.castillo@maryland.gov, 443-381-3518
Ed McDonough, ed.mcdonough@maryland.gov, 410-446-3333
24/7 line: 877-636-2872


Governor Moore’s Statement on the Collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge

April 2nd, 2024

Published: 3/26/2024

ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Wes Moore released the following statement on the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge:

My office is in close communication with U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, and the Baltimore Fire Department as emergency personnel are on the scene following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. I have declared a State of Emergency here in Maryland and we are working with an interagency team to quickly deploy federal resources from the Biden Administration. We are thankful for the brave men and women who are carrying out efforts to rescue those involved and pray for everyone’s safety.

We will remain in close contact with federal, state, and local entities that are carrying out rescue efforts as we continue to assess and respond to this tragedy.


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: https://governor.maryland.gov/news/press/pages/governor-moore-declares-first-state-of-preparedness-ahead-of-dangerous-winter-weather-system.aspx


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.

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO STAY SAFE

  • 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

(decorative spacer)

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 (www.mdem.maryland.gov), X (Twitter) feedFacebook pageLinkedIn page, and YouTube site.

###

CONTACT:
Jorge Castillo, jorge.castillo@maryland.gov, 443-381-3518
Ed McDonough, ed.mcdonough@maryland.gov, 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: www.mdem.maryland.gov. You can also visit MdReady.maryland.gov to learn more about hazards that affect Maryland and sign up for text alerts.

###​

Subscribe to MDEM

News Archives