REISTERSTOWN — The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and many local and state partners prepared for the upcoming hurricane season at a day-long seminar May 18. The event included sessions on economic recovery, hurricane preparedness efforts by businesses, and management of donations and volunteers following a devastating storm.
“While the last two hurricane seasons have been relatively quiet, we all remember the devastation from Hurricane Sandy in 2012, especially in the New York City area and on Maryland’s lower eastern shore,” said MEMA Executive Director Clay Stamp. “It’s important for us to always be prepared because even in a quiet hurricane season, just one hurricane making landfall in our area can be devastating.”
Attendees also heard a presentation from Chris Strong of the National Weather Service Baltimore/Washington Field Office, which included an update on awareness products, such as alert systems and briefing packages. MEMA staff followed this by discussing new geographic information systems (GIS) tools for hurricane damage assessment following a storm.
“MEMA and partner agencies work together on a regular basis to ensure the State has an efficient response to all hazards that could impact Maryland,” said Brendan McCluskey, MEMA’s Director of Preparedness. “Residents can practice preparedness by building an emergency kit and visiting our website to check if they reside in a flood prone area.”
The seminar was attended by MEMA staff, federal, local, non-profit, and private-sector emergency managers, and representatives from State agencies that staff the State Emergency Operations Center during emergencies. Hurricane season officially begins on June 1, although the first named tropical system – Ana – developed off the Carolinas and brought heavy rains on shore earlier this month.
Hurricane preparedness information can be found on the MEMA website at mema.maryland.gov and by downloading the MARYLAND Prepares free, mobile app on either iOS or Android operating systems.