The Disaster Risk Reduction Directorate includes MDEM's Communications and Outreach Branch, the Risk and Recovery Branch, the Geographic Information Services (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 to 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), Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD), Individual Assistance Program, and the Private Sector Integration Program.
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.
The Strategy Branch coordinates long-term programs and direction for the Maryland Department Emergency Management System. The branch coordinates strategic planning, legislative initiatives, 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.