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Voluntary Disaster Relief Agencies, MEMA Partner to Provide Drop-off Sites for Medical, Cleaning Supplies Donations

Reisterstown, Md. (March 29, 2020) — Disaster relief agencies are partnering to open four locations around the state to accept donations of specialized medical equipment and some cleaning supplies to support COVID-19 response efforts. Maryland Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (MD VOAD) and the Adventist Community Services (ACS) have partnered to coordinate the collection and dissemination of these vital supplies. These efforts are in support of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency and other state agencies who are responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“I would like to thank the voluntary organizations active in disaster for assisting Marylanders in this time of need,” said MEMA Executive Director Russ Strickland. “This network of donations centers allows the community to help those on the front lines of fighting this virus. We could not respond to the challenges of COVID-19 without a whole of community effort.”

Officials will ONLY accept the following items:

  • Unused N95 masks with or without valve
  • Protective goggles in original packaging
  • Unused nitrile gloves in original packaging
  • Unused hospital gowns in original packaging
  • Tyvek coats and bodysuits
  • Bleach, Lysol, cleaning supplies – must be unopened and unused
  • Face shields
  • Hand sanitizer

Handmade, prototype or unapproved personal protective equipment WILL NOT be accepted. Food and household donations also WILL NOT be accepted at these locations. Also, DO NOT bring cash to these locations. Residents are encouraged to send monetary donations to local nonprofits and churches for support during this challenging time.

The four donation drop off locations in Maryland are:

  • Cambridge: 3105 Mallard Court., Cambridge, Md. 21613 Visible from Rt. 50. Drop off in the parking circle.
  • Ellicott City: 3291 St. John’s Lane, Ellicott City, Md.. 21042
  • Hagerstown: Mt. Aetna Retreat Center, 10375 Retreat Way, Hagerstown, MD 21742 May also be listed on GPS as 21905 Mt. Aetna Road
  • Silver Spring: 15930 Good Hope Road, Silver Spring, MD 20905 Corner of Route 198 and Good Hope Road. Entrance right off of Good Hope Road, lower parking lot

Locations will be open:

  • Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday hours are 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

ACS volunteers will be wearing appropriate protective equipment (such as masks and gloves) when donations are received and will adhere to all social distancing guidelines. A specific identified place at each location is designated to receive donations. Items will then be inspected, inventoried, and distributed.

Members of the public with any questions about this program should contact


MD-COVID-19 Joint Information Center,, 410-517-5199

MEMA Holds Continuity of Operations Workshop with State Agencies to Support Planning Efforts

Workshop Part of State’s Preparedness Efforts for COVID-19

Reisterstown, Md. (March 3, 2020) — The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) held a planning workshop today to assist State agencies in the revision and update of their continuity of operations plans (COOP). The planning workshop is part of the State’s continued response to COVID-19.

“Community transmission of COVID-19 has the potential to disrupt the important work of state agencies because of absenteeism and the need for social distancing,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “With this workshop we were able to help agencies review their plans and procedures to ensure they can continue to provide vital services to our residents during a public health emergency.”

Continuity of operations plans are developed to allow for continuation of essential services in spite of disruptions, such as extended loss of power, internet connectivity, loss of facilities, high employee absenteeism, or the need for social distancing. Agencies develop plans that include procedures such as working from alternate locations, finding backup power or internet connectivity, and accommodating increased use of telework or telecommuting.

“While we are looking at this from a state agency perspective, developing COOP plans is important for everyone,” said MEMA Executive Director Russ Strickland. “Individuals, businesses, and organizations should always have plans in place, and they should practice their implementation before they are needed. That need is heightened because of the potential disruption from COVID-19.”

State agencies continue to prepare for COVID-19. They began coordinating efforts in early January and will continue to do so as the threat of COVID-19 to Marylanders evolves. Agencies have worked to jointly identify capabilities and develop plans to respond to infectious diseases. Collectively, agencies are leaning forward to not only respond to COVID-19 but also to ensure that they can continue to deliver critical services to the public.


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

Governor Hogan Proclaims Inaugural Maryland Winter Safety Week

MEMA, FEMA, National Weather Service, State Agencies Partner to Increase Public’s Awareness of Winter Hazards  

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (December 2, 2019) —The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is partnering with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Weather Service (NWS), the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDoT SHA), the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), the Maryland State Police (MSP), and local and state emergency management coordinators to encourage all Marylanders to learn more about winter safety and the importance of winter emergency preparedness. Maryland Winter Safety Week extends from December 2 through December 8, 2019. An official proclamation will occur on Monday, December 2 at the MDoT SHA Annapolis District Office. Accompanying the proclamation officials will host a press conference with representatives of each of these state agencies.

“Winters in our state bring frigid temperatures, intense winds, dangerous ice, and heavy snow, so I urge Marylanders to start preparing now,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “By being prepared, staying aware, and using common sense, we can all enjoy the winter season.”

According to the Maryland Department of Health, since the winter of 2013-2014, there have been 208 cold-related deaths in Maryland.  This includes 61 cold-related deaths in the 2017-2018 winter season and 54 cold-related deaths during the 2018-2019 winter season. Thirty percent of these deaths occurred in Baltimore City alone.

Further, a 2014 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that of the nearly 11,000 weather-related deaths reported nationally between 2006 and 2010, 63 percent were attributable to excessive natural cold.

“If history is any guide, it’s likely that our state will experience some severe winter weather over the next few months,” said Russell Strickland, MEMA’s Executive Director. “Our message is simple: Make preparations now so you can avoid the last minute rush for snow shovels, salt, and other winter essentials, but most importantly, be informed, and be prepared.

Among the several hazards that winter weather brings are the health risks posed by sustained exposure to extreme cold. It can lower body temperature, weakening the immune system, and it can aggravate chronic diseases like asthma, arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular and lung disease, and mental illness, among others.

Thousands of people are also at risk indoors if their power has been shut off, or they do not have the financial means to increase the temperature in their home.  For those with chronic diseases, a cold interior may be a dangerous environment. Cases of carbon monoxide exposure peak during the winter, when people are more likely to use generators, stoves, and home heating systems that may not be properly maintained. If it is unsafe to  run a gas lawnmower or a car in a given space, it is also unsafe to run a portable generator.

MEMA and other state partners have gathered a number of 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:

  • When cold weather hits, you should check on the welfare of family, friends, and neighbors who are particularly vulnerable to cold, snow, and ice – this may include the elderly and those with access and functional needs.
  • Build a home preparedness kit that includes winter supplies such as snow shovels, ice melting products, extra warm clothes and blankets, flashlights, and batteries.
  • Follow a trusted weather source, such as the National Weather Service and local news media, to be aware of any predicted frozen precipitation or severe cold temperatures.
    • Sign up for Emergency Alerts in your area and determine how you will receive information if you are traveling out of town.
    • Visit for more information on emergency alert options.
  • Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter travel
    • Check and winterize your vehicle, including all fluids, wiper blades, lights, and systems before the winter season begins.
    • Have a car emergency kit in your vehicle.
  • Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
  • Identify your pet with up-to-date name tags and rabies tags; include your cell phone number on the tag. Or, your pet can be microchipped, and most vets or animal control agencies can scan the chip to help locate the owner.
  • Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.
  • Leave the heat on in your home and set the thermostat to no lower than 50° Fahrenheit If you will be going away during cold weather.
  • Practice safe cooking behaviors since cooking is the biggest cause of home fires and fire injuries.
  • Consider using battery-operated flameless candles. They look and smell real! Learn more about candle fire safety from the U.S. Fire Administration at

In addition to these tips, please check out this winter preparedness tip video ( on our YouTube Channel.  Additional information about winter preparedness can be found on our website (, our Twitter feed, our Facebook page, our LinkedIn page and our YouTube site.


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

As Thanksgiving Approaches, MEMA Reminds Maryland Residents it is Maryland Travel Safety Week

Focus is Year-Round Safety on All Transportation Modes 

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (November 21, 2018) — The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has been promoting Maryland Travel Safety Week in an effort to ensure that residents are equipped with the latest travel safety information as we approach the busiest travel week of the year. MEMA would like travelers to remember two things:

  1. Know Before You Go.
  2. If You See Something, Say Something.

“While next week is one of the busiest travel weeks of the year, we should always be mindful of safety as we move about,” said MEMA Executive Director Russ Strickland. “By paying attention to your surroundings and taking common sense precautions, safe travel can be a year-round proposition.”

MEMA designated November 18 – 24 as Maryland Travel Safety Week in preparation of the beginning of holiday travel to encourage safe travel all year on all modes of Transportation.  MEMA encourages travelers to learn about safe travel practices whether using roads, air or rail, and as pedestrians and bike riders.

MEMA encourages Marylanders to review some of these simple practices recommended by safety specialists covering a variety of transportation methods and to remember, Know Before You Go – Do not leave your house for travel uninformed, unprepared, and hoping to learn about travel conditions and your destination while en route:

Safety tips when traveling by motor vehicle

  • Know Before You Go.
  • 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 and don’t drive 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 and sand, or cat litter.
  • Be especially careful in work zones and remember to always pull over one lane (if safely possible) or reduce speeds when emergency or service vehicles are on the shoulder.
  • Motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear U.S. DOT-approved helmets. Drivers must wear eye protection, as well.

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 travelling by taxi or rideshare

  • Know Before You Go.
  • Ask ahead for the typical price and tipping range.
  • Call for a taxi instead of hailing one.
  • If using a shared ride service like Uber, Lyft, Curb, or Via, make sure you verify the correct driver before getting into the car.
  • Look for a meter, a radio, a badge, and a door handle.
  • Sit in the backseat – not in the passenger seat.
  • Keep expensive items hidden and keep your things close.

Here are taxi safety tips from the Travel Insurance Review and here is a link to the taxi riders consumer bill of rights from the Maryland Public Service Commission. offers these tips for those using rideshare services, which often are not regulated in the same way as taxi service.

Safety tips when travelling by air

  • If you see something, say something. 
  • Go to your nearest airport employee and let them know what you’ve seen or heard.
  • Be on time, allow time to get through the security checkpoint and build in time for  possible schedule changes.
  • Always stay alert and watch your bags and belongings.
  • Don’t let anyone but uniformed airline personnel handle your bags.
  • If you need help navigating the airport, check with the information desks or airport or airline employees.
  • 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 from Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and the Transportation Security Administration.

Safety tips when traveling by railroad

  • If you see something, say something.
  • Go to your nearest train station employee and let them know what you’ve seen or heard.
  • Always stay alert and watch your bags and belongings.
  • Watch your step when boarding and leaving the train and moving from car to car.
  • Never attempt to board or exit a moving train.
  • Make sure you familiarize yourself with the safety card found in most seat backs.
  • 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 or the Amtrak Police. 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)

  • Know Before You Go.
  • 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.
  • Always keep jewelry and other valuables out of sight and 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 the Maryland Transit Administration, which operates the bus, commuter bus, subway and light rail system in the Baltimore area and MARC commuter trains; and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Administration, which operates Metro bus and rail service in the Washington, D.C. area.

Safety tips for pedestrians

  • Know Before You Go.
  • Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks whenever possible.
  • Always stop at the curb and look left, right and left before crossing a street and watch for cars turning in or leaving driveways.
  • Wear light or bright colored clothing or reflective items, especially 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 cyclists

  • Know Before You Go.
  • 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.
  • Never ride more than two abreast.
  • Stay visible when riding at night and during inclement weather.
  • Wear a helmet correctly.

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

Safety tips for travelling on the water

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

  • Know Before You Go.
  • Never allow passengers to ride on the bow, gunwale, transom, seat backs, 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.
  • Children under 13 must wear a United States Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Device  while underway on a recreational vessel under 21 feet in length.
  • For maximum safety, ALL persons on recreational boats should wear approved Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs).
  • On passenger vessels, follow all safety directions, read prepared safety material, and participate in all life safety drills.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has specific information for recreational boats travelling 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 travelling out of the Baltimore cruise ship terminal. The Cruise Critic also has some tips for travelling safely on cruise ships.


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

Damaging Winds, Possibility of Tornadoes May Impact Maryland

Storm map showing most of Maryland can expect severe weather

Severe Weather Expected Mid-Afternoon Through Evening

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (October 31, 2019) —The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is advising Maryland residents to monitor weather forecasts as severe weather enters the area this afternoon and throughout the evening tonight.

According to the National Weather Service, here is what we can expect:

  • There is a risk of damaging thunderstorms and isolated tornadoes statewide, primarily west of the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Wind gusts could down trees and power lines.
  • Severe weather is expected to move to the state beginning mid-afternoon and potentially last until around midnight tonight.
  • Gale Warning for the Chesapeake Bay is in effect this afternoon through tonight.
  • Moderate tidal flooding is possible in Anne Arundel & Baltimore Counties, while minor tidal flooding is likely for most locations along Chesapeake shoreline, but not the Atlantic shoreline.
  • Since it is Halloween, these hazards could directly impact those who are outside.

Residents are advised to:

  • Heed all warnings and stay indoors during severe weather.
  • Closely monitor updated weather forecasts and be sure to have a way to access local forecasts and warnings.
  • If you or your family have plans to go out trick-or-treating, make sure your mobile devices are fully charged so that you can receive the latest warnings in your area, including tornado warnings.
  • Let friends or family know of your travel route and expected arrival time.
  • Know who to contact in the case of a power outage. Emergency phone numbers for utility companies can be found here.
  • Follow MEMA and your regional National Weather Service (NWS) social media accounts for localized forecasts.

MEMA will continue to provide updates as they become available. Traffic, weather, and power outage alerts, as well as winter preparedness information, can be accessed on MEMA’s website. You can also follow MEMA on TwitterLinkedInYouTube and Facebook for updated information.


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

State of Maryland Provides Security Grant Funding to Non-Profits

Over $1 Million In Non-Profit Security Grant Funds Awarded To Improve Security, Resilience

Reisterstown, Md. (September 24, 2019) – The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) announced today that it will award $1,751,726 in federal Non-Profit Security Grants (NPSG) to local not-for-profit organizations throughout Maryland. These grants, which originate from the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS/FEMA), fund ‘specific statutory eligible costs to include target hardening and other security enhancements and activities to nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of terrorist attack.’

“We are very pleased that, in conjunction with these Maryland agencies, we have been awarded funds which will have a profound impact on improving the security of the State,” said Russell Strickland, MEMA’s Executive Director.

The NSGP are pivotal in the implementation of the National Preparedness System (NPS) as they support the development and sustainment of ‘Core Capabilities’. In order to execute each of the five mission areas outlined in the National Preparedness Goal, establishing and sustaining these Core Capabilities are essential. “The Non Profit Security Grants will make a difference in these organizations’ physical protection,” continued Strickland. “What this program does is that it aligns broader State and local preparedness efforts with the prevention and protection activities of nonprofit organizations which are at an elevated risk of a terrorist attack.”

The program also aims to promote coordination and collaboration in preparedness activities among private community representatives, state agencies, and local government agencies. The following subrecipients and subaward amounts are listed below:

NSGP-State: $150,000

  • Beth Sholom Congregation of Frederick, $42,000
  • Evangelical Reformed Church, $8,000
  • St. John Regional Catholic School, $100,000


NSGP-Urban Area: $1,601,726

Baltimore Area

  • Agudath Israel of Greenspring, Inc., $23,535
  • Bais Medrash of Ranchleigh, Inc., $58,800
  • Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, $90,000
  • Bas Melech Performing Arts Center Inc., $98,778
  • Beth Israel Mikro Kodesh, Inc., $72,382
  • Chabad Israeli Center of Baltimore, $100,000
  • Chabad of Harford County, $100,000
  • Chabad of Towson, $100,000
  • Chizuk Amuno Congregation and Schools, $98,891
  • Congregation Ohel Moshe, $98,950
  • Edward A. Myerberg Senior Senter, $100,000
  • Islamic Society of Annapolis, $100,000
  • Machzeiki Torah Congregation, $22,431
  • Mercaz Torah and Tefilah, $23,535
  • Oakland Mills Interfaith Inc., $59,359
  • Ohr Chadash Congregation, $100,000
  • Ohr Menachem Jewish Center, Inc., $50,000
  • Pikesville Jewish Congregation, $100,000
  • Suburban Orthodox Congregation Toras Chaim, $100,000
  • Temple Beth Sholom of Anne Arundle County, $98,110
  • The Rabbi Chaim Nachman Kowalsky Memorial, $6,955

DHS/FEMA will announce their intention to release the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the 2020 Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) in early 2020.  The announcement is being sent in an effort to assist potential sub-recipients with preparing for the application process. The amount of funding available in NPSG in Fiscal Year 2020 has not been officially released yet. In Fiscal Year 2019, there were $60,000,000 in NPSG funding support for target hardening and other physical security enhancements and activities to eligible nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of terrorist attack.

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency will notify the public when the NOFO is released and will provide guidance and technical assistance to potential sub-recipients throughout the process.

For more information on the NSGP, eligibility, and requirements, please contact Janet Moncrieffe by email &


CONTACT:, 410-517-3622, 443-381-3518, 410-446-3333

24/7 line: 877-636-2872

MEMA Reconoce el Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (Septiembre 16, 2018) —

Septiembre es el Mes Nacional de Preparación, un mes activo para los administradores de emergencias en los Estados Unidos. Los comunicados de prensa, simulacros, capacitaciones, campañas en redes sociales, entrevistas con los medios, exposiciones, y presentaciones son todas partes de las instrumentos que se usan durante este mes de preparación. La intención es recordarles a los residentes la importancia de planificar y estar preparados para emergencias antes de que ocurran, y brindarles las herramientas necesarias para mejorar su capacidad de recuperación.

Además del Mes de Preparación que dura desde el 15 de septiembre hasta el 15 de octubre, en los Estados Unidos celebramos el Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana, y la Agencia de Manejo de Emergencias de Maryland (MEMA por sus siglas en Inglés) quiere asegurarse de que su mensaje de preparación con enfoque comunitario llegue a todos. “Queremos pausar un momento y reconocer a la comunidad hispana y latina en los Estados Unidos por sus invaluables contribuciones a nuestra profesión, nuestras comunidades y nuestro país”, dijo el Director Ejecutivo de MEMA, Russ Strickland”.

Además de una campaña de divulgación digital en español dirigida a la comunidad hispana en Maryland, MEMA llevará a cabo una entrevista y un tour de sus instalaciones con Mundo Latino Newspaper, una publicación hispana con sede en Baltimore que se centra principalmente en temas que afectan a la comunidad hispana. “Realmente queremos que nuestro mensaje se escuche fuertemente en todas las comunidades de Maryland, y eso incluye a la comunidad hispana”, dijo Jorge E. Castillo, portavoz de MEMA. “Como es el Mes de la Herencia Hispana, no hay mejor momento para seguir comunicándonos con hispanos y latinos para asegurar que el idioma no sea una barrera para la preparación de todas las comunidades en Maryland”.

Según la última Encuesta Nacional de Hogares de FEMA, el conocimiento de los riesgos que pueden afectar a un hogar durante una emergencia varía según la edad, los ingresos, el género y la raza. “Es menos probable que las comunidades minoritarias y desatendidas hayan leído, visto o escuchado información sobre preparación”, agregó Castillo. “Tenemos que cambiar eso y tenemos la intención de hacerlo”.

MEMA anima a todos los residentes de Maryland a conectarse con ellos a través de TwitterLinkedInYouTube y, en particular, para que la comunidad hispana visite, donde hay una variedad de recursos en español disponibles para residentes de habla hispana, incluyendo plantillas para planes de emergencia, información financiera y de seguros, currículos y juegos de preparación específicos para niños y adolescentes, y más.

La población hispana en los Estados Unidos ha superado la marca de los 60 millones, convirtiendo a las personas de origen hispano en la minoría étnica o racial más grande del país. Si fuera un país, sería la segunda nación de origen hispano más grande del mundo, después de México. En Maryland, es el grupo minoritario de más rápido crecimiento y, según el Pew Research Center, se ha más que duplicado de 228,000 en 2000 (4% de la población de MD) a 471,000% en 2010 (8% de la población de MD), y llegó a 556,000 (~ 10% de la población de MD) en 2014.


NOTA PARA LOS MEDIOS DE COMUNICACIÓN: El personal de MEMA estará disponible para concertar entrevistas para su artículo, historia o programa de asuntos públicos; comuníquese con Jorge Castillo a los números que figuran a continuación.

Jorge Castillo,, 443-381-3518
24/7 line: 877-636-2872

MEMA Recognizes National Hispanic Heritage Month

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (September 16, 2019) —

September is National Preparedness Month, an active month for emergency managers across the United States. Press releases, drills, trainings, social media campaigns, media interviews, expos, and presentations, are all part of the preparedness tool box that is unleashed during the month. The intent is to remind residents about the importance of planning and being prepared for emergencies before they happen, and to provide them with the tools needed to improve their resilience.

In addition to Preparedness Month from September 15 until October 15, the U.S. celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month, and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) wants to make sure that its whole community approach to preparedness message is reaching everyone. “We want to pause and recognize the Hispanic and Latinx Community in the U.S. for their invaluable contributions to our profession, our communities, and our country,” said MEMA’s Executive Director, Russ Strickland.”

In addition to a targeted digital outreach campaign in Spanish to the Hispanic community in Maryland, MEMA will be conducting an interview and facility tour with Mundo Latino Newspaper, a Baltimore-based Hispanic Print Publication which focuses largely on issues affecting the Hispanic community. “We really want our message to be heard loudly throughout all Maryland communities, and that includes the Hispanic community,” said Jorge E. Castillo, MEMA’s spokesman. “With Hispanic Heritage Month upon us, there is no better time to engage with Hispanic and Latinos to ensure that language is not a barrier for whole community preparedness.”

According to the latest FEMA National Household Survey, hazard awareness differs by age, income, gender, and race. “Minorities and underserved communities are not as likely to have read, seen, or heard information on preparedness,” added Castillo. “We have to change that and we intend to.”

MEMA encourages all residents in Maryland to connect with them via TwitterLinkedInYouTube and Facebook and for the Hispanic Community in particular to visit where an array of resources in Spanish are available for Spanish-speaking residents, including templates for emergency plans, financial and insurance information, children- and teenager-specific preparedness curricula and games, and more.

The Hispanic population in the U.S. has surpassed the 60 million mark, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority. If it were a country, it would be the second largest Hispanic-origin nation in the world, after Mexico. In Maryland, it is the fastest growing minority group and according to the Pew Research Center, it has more than doubled from 228,000 in 2000 (4% of MD’s population) to 471,000% by 2010 (8% of MD’s population), and reached 556,000 (~10% of MD’s population) in 2014.


NOTE TO MEDIA: MEMA staff will be available to arrange interviews for your article, story or public affairs show, please contact Ed McDonough or Jorge Castillo at the numbers below.

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

Maryland Eastern Shore, St. Mary’s County Under Tropical Storm Warning

Governor Hogan Urges Residents to Remain Vigilant and Prepare for Strong Winds, Flooding

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (September 5, 2019) — The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a Tropical Storm Warning for Dorchester, St. Mary’s, Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties as Hurricane Dorian continues its track up the Atlantic coast. Current forecasts indicate that tropical storm force winds are expected for the lower Eastern Shore of Maryland and St. Mary’s County, as well as adjacent waters.

“With Hurricane Dorian expected to affect the Lower Shore and St. Mary’s County, I have directed state agencies to stand ready to respond and I urge Marylanders to take all appropriate precautions,” said Governor Hogan. “Please stay tuned to your local news stations and emergency management offices for the latest updates and, most importantly, use common sense.”

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency has increased the State’s activation level and the State Emergency Operations Center is staffed with emergency management personnel and state agency representatives.

“Residents should remain alert and follow officials’ orders, news stations, and weather forecasts in order to be informed of the situation,” said MEMA’s Executive Director Russell Strickland. “This is also a good opportunity for all Marylanders and visitors to our State to visit to see if they reside or are traveling in a hurricane evacuation zone,” he added.

Tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected within the tropical storm warning area within 36 hours. MEMA advises the public to follow these instructions:

  • Remain vigilant and continue to closely monitor the storm through MEMA, the NWS, and your local officials.
  • If you are in or close to the tropical storm warning areas check regularly for weather updates and instructions from local officials.
  • Charge phones and devices, and plan for potential power outages.
  • Communicate with friends, family, & neighbors before, during, and after storms, especially during power outages.
  • Head to a safe part of your home. Stay away from windows in case of flying glass.
  • Never operate power generators inside a building, including garages.
  • Keep your refrigerator cold. Turn your refrigerator to the coldest setting so that your food will last longer if the power goes out.
  • Keep your pets safe too.
    • Make sure your pet has identification and that you keep your pet near.
    • If you evacuate and you have a pet, look for pet-friendly hotels or local animal shelters or safe kennels.
  • Never drive through standing water. Turn Around, Don’t Drown!

Residents or visitors to these areas should expect:

  • Tropical storm force winds, and tidal flooding/storm surge could impact the state beginning on Thursday evening, particularly in southeastern Maryland.
  • The strongest winds will likely affect these areas throughout the day on Friday.
  • Wind gusts as high as 60 mph are possible.
  • Power outages, flooding, road, and bridge closures are likely in these areas.

Governor Hogan has directed state agencies to stand ready to respond to the effects of this storm, including the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). For more information, please visit  MEMA’s website ( You can also follow MEMA on TwitterLinkedInYouTube and Facebook for updated information.


NOTE TO MEDIA: MEMA staff will be available to arrange interviews for your article, story or public affairs show, please contact Ed McDonough or Jorge Castillo at the numbers below.

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

MEMA Reminds Marylanders that September is National and Maryland Preparedness Month

“Prepared, Not Scared. Be Ready for Disasters”

Click here to listen to audio of this release.

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (August 30, 2019) – Are you prepared for a hurricane? Flooding? A severe thunderstorm or tornado? A winter storm? Or any type of Emergency? If the answer is no, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) reminds Marylanders that this is time to review preparedness plans. Maryland (and National) Preparedness Month, which begins September 1st, reminds us to prepare throughout the year for all emergencies and MEMA has an important message for all Marylanders:

  1. Prepare for an emergency before it happens.
  2. Have a plan. This means a communications plan, an evacuation & reunification plan, and a plan for your pets.
  3. Know your Zone and be a good neighbor — It only takes one tropical storm or hurricane to change your life.

“We are entering the height of the hurricane season in the Mid-Atlantic Region,” said MEMA Executive Director Russell Strickland. “That’s why now is a good time to review preparedness plans at home, at work, and at school. Having a plan, a disaster supply kit, and paying attention to trusted weather forecasts will help protect you and your family in most emergencies. It only takes one storm to change your life.”

Making preparations when threats are not imminent make communities more resilient. In addition to flooding, hazards common to Maryland include high winds, severe thunderstorms, and winter storms. Residents should also be aware of other issues such as cybersecurity attacks, extended power outages, and active assailant incidents.

To find important emergency preparedness information for these and additional threats, visit:

  1. MEMA:
  2. The Federal Emergency Management Agency:
  3. The National Weather Service:

This also is a good time for those who live, work, or visit Maryland to learn about the Know Your Zone storm preparedness and evacuation campaign. Areas of the state vulnerable to hurricane storm surge are divided into three evacuation zones – A, B, and C. Residents who live along the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries, the Atlantic Ocean, and the coastal bays should be aware if they live in a hurricane evacuation zone. It is important however to understand that all Marylanders are vulnerable to the other hazards associated with hurricanes including high wind, heavy rainfall, and tornadoes.

To find out if you live in one of the zones, please go to Maryland’s Know Your Zonewebsite at, click on the “Find Your Zone” button, and type your address into the search area in the upper left corner. That will tell you what, if any, evacuation zone you live, work, or vacation in. This short video explains how easy the process is and can be found at

The website also contains useful information about hurricanes and preparedness tips. MEMA will be involved in preparedness events around the state throughout September. For updated information on these events, please visit MEMA’s website. You can also follow MEMA on TwitterLinkedInYouTube and Facebook for updated information.


NOTE TO MEDIA: MEMA staff will be available throughout September to discuss Preparedness Month and our Know Your Zone campaign. To arrange interviews for your article, story or public affairs show, please contact Ed McDonough or Jorge Castillo at the numbers below.

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

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