Who We Are

MDEM is a national leader in E​mergency 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.” We do this by being Mar​yland's designated source of official risk reduction and consequence management information.

To see what this looks like in the real world, you can click here to download the 2022 Customer Service Annual Report.​

At the top of MDEM is the Office of the Secretary, and underneath are our three Directorates: Disaster Risk Reduction, Consequence Management, and Mission Support. This structure enables MDEM to efficiently support local jurisdictions, work with state agencies, run our internal operations, and ​provide preparedness information to the public.

Meet the Secretary​

Russell J. Strickland

​​Russell J. Strickland has been leading the Maryland Department of Emergency Management (formerly Maryland Emergency Management Agency, MEMA) since July 2015 and was reappointed Secretary of Emergency Management by Governor Wes ​Moore in January 2023. Beyond leading the department, Secretary Strickland provides direct advice to the Governor during disaster events, and leads the coordination of support to local jurisdictions.

He brings over 50 years of public service/public safety experience to the role, including time as a Senior Law & Policy Analyst at the University of Maryland Center for Health & Homeland Security (CHHS), the Director of Emergency Services for Harford County (MD), the MEMA Deputy Director, and the Assistant Director of the Field Programs Division at the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute.​

Explore Our Directorates

Disaster Risk Reduction


The Disaster Risk Reduction Directorate includes MDEM's Communications and Outreach Branch, the Risk and Recovery Branch, the Geographic Information Se​rvices (GIS) Unit, Public Assistance Branch, State Hazard Mitigation Branch and a Strategy Branch focused on Maryland's two urban areas and overall agency strategy and direction.  Collectively the Disaster Risk Reduction Directorate seeks to reduce the overall impact and extent of disasters and also t​o quickly help communities recover in the aftermath of disaster.

Communications and Outreach Branch​

Works with other MDEM branches and teams to promote preparedness for all of Maryland jurisdictions by providing preparedness resources, tools, and information to Maryland residents, communities, voluntary and faith-based groups, and the private sector before, during, and after disasters. It includes the Public Information Officer function, the Digital Engagement Program, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), the Individual Assistance Program, and the statewide text alert system MdReady and MdListo ​​(for Spanish speakers).​

Geographic Information Services Unit

The GIS unit leads MDEM’s spatial analysis and mapping programs. GIS seeks to provide a higher level of analysis and to spatially display information that informs risk reduction programs and also assists with decision making during disasters in Maryland. This unit works closely with GIS professionals throughout Maryland in an effort to synthesize data helpful in mitigating the consequences of disasters and reducing risk.

Hazard Mitigation Branch 

The Hazard Mitigation Branch implements long-term solutions to disaster risk through structural and non-structural mitigation projects. The branch works with partner agencies and local jurisdictions to identify areas of vulnerability, develop solutions, and implement projects that break the cycle of disaster. The branch focuses on broad community-based projects that have significant impacts throughout Maryland.

Risk and Recovery Branch

The Risk and Recovery Branch Leads the State’s pre-disaster recovery coordination and post-disaster recovery mission area. it also manages MDEM’s comprehensive incident risk analysis program during consequence management operations, including for response and recovery. This program informs decision-makers throughout emergency response and recovery and includes a team that conducts ongoing analysis of present risks or potential future risks that could affect Maryland citizens, property, and infrastructure. The risk analysis outputs are used to inform planning efforts, such as hazard risk profiles and GIS products.

Public Assistance Branch

In the aftermath of disaster the Public Assistance Branch assists communities impacted with disaster. The branch administers several federal disaster relief programs which assist public agencies in recovering from disaster. The branch coordinates the initial damage assessment with local agencies and other recovery entities and collects damage estimates in support of the request for federal assistance.

Strategy Branch

The Strategy Branch coordinates long-term programs and ​​direction for the Maryland Department Emergency Management System. The branch coordinates strategic planning, legislative initiativ​es, and works closely with regional workgroups. In addition the Strategy Branch coordinates Maryland’s broad-based Disaster Risk Reduction efforts, coordinating with government and non-governmental agencies to reduce overall disaster risk. The Strategy Branch also works closely with agencies engaged in the protection mission area which seeks to reduce the risk of terrorism in Maryland.

Consequence Management


The Consequence Management Directorate includes the Preparedness Branch, the Emerging Initiatives Branch, and the Response Coordination Branch. The Directorate coordinates Maryland’s emergency operations program and also ensures ongoing situational awareness of incidents occurring throughout the State. The Preparedness Branch programs include Planning and Training and Exercise.

The Preparedness Branch

Includes the Planning and Training and Exercise staff. The Preparedness Branch produces consequence management plans and involves stakeholders in emergency​ management planning efforts utilizing the Planning staff. The Training and Exercise staff develops and conducts training programs and exercises for state, local, federal, and private sector partners. The Preparedness Branch also incorporates the State of Maryland’s federally-mandated Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program.

The Response Coordination Branch

Includes the Maryland Joint Operations Center (MJOC) staff, State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) management, the Resource Management program, and the WebEOC program. The MJOC is operated round-the-clock, every day of the year by National Guard and emergency management professionals-- it was the first joint civilian-military watch center in the country. The MJOC serves as a communications hub for emergency responders and alerts decision-makers in Maryland when a situation warrants. In times of disaster, the Executive Director of MDEM​​ elevates the SEOC's response level to support local governments. Representatives from state agencies, as well as some federal agencies, the private sector, and volunteer organizations, are represented in the SEOC. Representatives have the authority to make decisions and assign resources necessary on behalf of their agency for emergency response. When the Governor declares a state of emergency, MDEM​ works with FEMA to request a Presidential Disaster Declaration and provide assistance to those affected by the disaster.

The Emerging Initiatives Branch

This branch oversees new, innovative projects that target specific audiences within the State of Maryland or the FEMA Region 3 area. Current projects in the Emerging Initiatives Branch are the Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attack (CCTA) Program, and the School Emergency Management Program.​

Mission Support


The Mission Support Directorate includes all functions related to finance,grants management, procurement, information technology, human resources, equipment inventory control, supply inventory control, risk management,fleet management, facilities safety, and the State's Liaison Officer Program.

The federal grants functions include the Homeland Security Grant Program, Emergency Management Performance Grant, and FEMA mitigation and recovery programs.

Fiscal Services Branch

The Fiscal Services Branch develops and maintains the recommendations for the agency’s strategic budget.  Monitors/manages operating expenditures to meet budgetary goals. Manages and controls approved staffing numbers and allocation, by section to ensure sufficient funding for all staff.  Develops financial plan for implementation within grants and other operating funds. Reviews and analyzes changes to State law which may impact financial management of the Agency. Conducts internal reviews to ensure all laws, rules, regulations and policies are appropriately followed.  Interprets DBM policy regarding budgets, liaise with the department of the Military, and communicates and trains staff as necessary on financial controls. Coordinates procurements and applies them to proper accounts.

Grants Management Branch

The Grants Management Branch oversees the grants that Maryland receives to assist with preparedness, mitigation, and recovery efforts. The branch works with state and local agencies in ensuring funds are being used appropriately and are increasing preparedness levels in Maryland. 

Liaison Branch

The Liaison Branch provides direct support to Maryland’s local emergency management agencies. The branch assists in the overall implementation and execution of the Maryland Emergency Management System at the local level. The liaisons provide assistance before, during, and after disasters impacting local communities. The liaison officers are a critical link between the local jurisdictions and state programs.

Information Technology Branch

The Information Technology Branch provides comprehensive IT services to MDEM. This includes daily maintenance of systems, system acquisitions, and long-term IT planning. The Department of Information Technology provides staff to support MDEM’s IT needs.

Facility Management

The facilities unit coordinates the general maintenance of MDEM headquarters and the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) to ensure readiness at all times. This unit coordinates MDEM​’s headquarters safety plan and provides for the wellbeing of all employees and visitors. 

Human Resources Unit

The Human Resources Unit coordinates MDEM’s personnel management program. They provide standard personnel services and coordinate employee benefits and wellness programs

MDEM’s authority is granted by Title 14 of the Public Safety Article within the Annotated Code of Marylandor the Emergency Management Title. The Emergency Management Title establishes MDEM as a unit of State government with the primary purpose to ensure that Maryland will be adequately prepared to deal with emergencies that are beyond the capabilities of local authorities. Learn more about the Emergency Management Title.​

MDEM is consistently improving Maryland’s emergency preparedness through augmenting the efforts and skills of our partners and providing resources and tools that residents, communities, and stakeholders need to better prepare for, mitigate against, respond to, and recover from disasters.

The Customer Service Promise 
The State of Maryland pledges to provide constituents, businesses, customers, and stakeholders with services in the following manner:

Friendly and Courteous: 
We will be helpful an​d supportive and have a positive attitude and passion for what we do.

Timely an​d Responsive: 
We will be ​proactive, take initiative, and anticipate your needs.

Accurate and Consistent:
We will always aim for 100% accuracy, and be consistent in how we interpret and implement State policies and procedures.​

Accessible and Convenient:
We will continue to simplify and improve access to information and resources.

Truthful and Transparent:
We will advance a culture of honesty, clarity, and trust.

Tell us about your experience with the Maryland Department of Emergency Management​. Click here to complete a three question cus​tomer experience survey.

For more information on the State of Maryland's customer service program, or to submit a suggestion, please visit