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Maryland Department of Emergency Management

What Does a “State of Preparedness” Mean?

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!