About MDEM


A picture of Secretary Strickland shaking hands with MDEM staff, with the header text, 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 Secretary Strickland

A headshot photo of MDEM 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.​


Meet the Disaster Risk Reduction Directorate

The Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) team is made up of components designed to help commuinities prepare for and recover from disasters, as well as to strengthen them so disasters do less damage in the first place. DRR is made up of:


Communications & Outreach Branch
MDEM's design shop and informational hub, helping ensure that the information, resources, and tools MDEM provides to partner agencies and Maryland's communities are reliable and consistently high-quality.   


Communications & Outreach includes MDEM's Public Information Officers, the digital engagement team (social media, web presence, etc.), the Community Emergency Repsonse Team (CERT), and the Individual Assistance program. It also manages MdReady, Maryland's all-in-one emergency alert text and web app; and MdListo, the app's companion for Spanish-speakers.


Geographic Information Services (GIS) Unit

The GIS unit leads MDEM’s spatial analysis and mapping programs, seeking 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. They work with partner agencies and local jurisdictions to identify areas of vulnerability, develop solutions, and implement projects that break the cycle of disaster. The branch primarily focuses on broad, community-based projects that have significant impacts throughout Maryland.


Public Assistance Branch             

In the aftermath of disaster the Public Assistance Branch assists communities adversely affected by disaster. They administer several federal disaster relief programs (which assist public agencies in recovering from disaster), coordinate initial damage assessment with local agencies and other recovery entities, and collect damage estimates in support of any requests for federal assistance.


Risk & Recovery Branch             

The Risk and Recovery Branch leads Maryland’s pre-disaster recovery coordination and post-disaster recovery mission areas. It also manages MDEM’s comprehensive incident risk analysis program during consequence management operations (including for response and recovery) to inform decision-makers throughout emergency response and recovery. The risk analysis outputs are also used to inform planning efforts, such as hazard risk profiles and GIS products.

Strategy Branch             

The Strategy Branch coordinates long-term programs and ​​direction for the Maryland Emergency Management System, as well as coordinating strategic planning, legislative initiativ​es, and working closely with regional workgroups. In addition, they coordinate Maryland’s broad-based Disaster Risk Reduction efforts, working with agencies inside and outside of government 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.

Whole Community Integration Branch             

The Whole Community Integration Branch's purpose is to partner, engage, and coordinate with private sector, faith-based, and nonprofit organizations across Maryland, ensuring they're integrated throughout all the phases of emergency management and that communication isn't just a one-way street.

To help make that all happen, they offer a range of services, resources, and programs, including the Private Sector Integration Program (PSIP) and Nonprofit Engagement Program (NPEP).   Learn more  ->
Meet the Consequence Management Directorate

The Consequence Management (CM) Directorate coordinates Maryland’s emergency operations programs, ensures ongoing situational awareness of incidents occurring throughout the State, and manages the State-level training and exercise program.
is made up of:


Preparedness Branch

The Preparedness Branch produces consequence management plans and involves stakeholders in emergency​ management planning efforts. 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.

Response Coordination Branch      

Response Coordination includes the Maryland Joint Operations Center (MJOC), the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC), 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, serving as a communications hub for emergency responders and alerting decision-makers in Maryland when a situation warrants. In times of disaster, the SEOC may be activated to support local governments, in which case it will expand to also include representatives from state & federal agencies, the private sector, and volunteer organizations.             

Emerging Initiatives Branch    

This branch oversees new, innovative projects that target specific audiences within the State of Maryland or the FEMA Region 3 area, such as the Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attack (CCTA) Program and the Grants to Schools for Emergency Management (GSEM) Program.​             

Meet the Mission Support Directorate

The Mission Support (MS) Directorate includes all functions related to keeping MDEM programs funded, its positions staffed, its resources managed, and its partner connections alive and intact. MS is made up of:            

Fiscal Services Branch

The Fiscal Services Branch develops and maintains recommendations for the agency’s strategic budget, then monitors/manages operating expenditures to meet those budgetary goals. It's responsible for allocating funding across MDEM's staff, developing plans for utilizing MDEM's various funding streams, coordinating resource procurement and training staff on the process, and ensuring all financial matters are managed in compliance with all the necessary laws, rules, regulations, and policies.

Grants Management Branch

Grants Management 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 effective at increasing preparedness levels in Maryland.

Liaison Branch    

Liaison Branch provides direct support to Maryland’s local emergency management agencies, and assists in the overall implementation and execution of the Maryland Emergency Management System at the local level. Liaisons provide assistance before, during, and after disasters affecting local communities, serving as a critical link between Maryland's many local jurisdictions and it State-level programs.

Information Technology Branch

Information Technology (IT) provides comprehensive IT services to MDEM. This includes daily maintenance of systems, system acquisitions, and long-term IT planning. This branch is staffed by personnel provided via the Maryland Department of Information Technology.

Facility Management Unit

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

Human Resources Unit​       

Human Resources (HR) coordinates MDEM’s personnel management program. They provide standard personnel services and coordinate employee benefits and wellness programs, in addition to assisting with ongoing employee training, development, and hiring initiatives.            


Lt. Governor Aruna Miller announces recipients of 2023 NSGP funding alongside a group of religious leaders and state officials.  

Protecting MD Through Transparency

MDEM is committed to open practices, so Marylanders know they're in good hands, before, during, and after an emergency.

This includes sharing information via the Maryland Public Information Act (PIA).
Learn more about the PIA below:

What does the PIA do?
The PIA grants Marylanders the right to review available public records that are disclosable and to obtain copies of those records. This can included things like written materials, books, photographs, photocopies, films, microfilms, records, tapes, computerized records, maps, drawings and other materials.

Are there any records I can't request?
Unfortunately, yes.

Some public records are confidential under federal or state statutes, under court rules, or under various common law privileges such as attorney-client privilege and executive privilege, and are therefore not releasable under the PIA. 

Additionally, since MDEM often works with sensitive materials regarding things like terrorism or ongoing law enforcement activities, some materials are also confidential due to safety or homeland security concerns.

For more specifics on what's disclosable and what's not, visit the MD Attorney General's PIA site here.

Does a request cost money?
It can, in some cases.

Depending on the type of information being requested, the scope of the request, the format in which we deliver the information, the time it takes to compile the information for you, and other factors, there may be fees charged to reimburse the staff time and materials involved.

The details of how much a specific request will cost will vary with the details each request.

To learn more about the rules regarding these fees, check out Maryland's PIA Manual, Chapter 7.

How​ soon will I receive a response?
Timing​ for receiving your requested information will depend on the scope of your request, but at minimum, you will receive a written response within 10 days of MDEM's receipt of your request.

That response will include more details on timing, cost, and any next steps; if applicable.

We aim to provide the information itself as soon as practicable, but requests that require sorting and compiling large amounts of data, for example, can take more time.

Is this the same a​s a FOIA request?

While it's based on similar principles, the PIA and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) are different laws. FOIA only covers agencies of U.S. government, not State and local agencies and departments.

To make a request, please contact Public Information Officer Ed McDonough at ed.mcdonough@maryland.gov
(Digital process coming soon!)


Committed to Quality Service

As a representative of the State of Maryland, MDEM pledges to provide constituents, businesses, customers, and stakeholders with services that are...

Friendly & Courteous​​We will be helpful an​d supportive and have a positive attitude and passion for what we do.
Timely & Responsive
We will be ​proactive, take initiative, and anticipate your needs.
Accurate & Consistent
We will always aim for 100% accuracy, and be consistent in how we interpret and implement State policies and procedures.​
Accessible & Convenie​nt We will continue to simplify and improve access to information and resources.
Truthful & Transparent
We will advance a culture of honesty, clarity, and trust.


As Maryland's emergency management department, MDEM’s authority is granted by Title 14 of the Public Safety Article within the Annotated Code of Maryland, or the Emergency Mana​gement 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.