FY21 Highlights

Customer Service Highlights - MEMA’s  Disaster Risk Reduction Directorate
Public Assistance to Local Communities
For over 1.5 years the Public Assistance team at MEMA has been directly supporting local communities in their response to COVID-19. With the response to the crisis ongoing so far the PA team has processed nearly $2 billion in local requests for reimbursement as a result of the pandemic. This represents a significant cost savings to local and state budgets who responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. Without the assistance of the PA team, these costs would have otherwise been absorbed by communities that were already struggling economically from the incident.
In the middle of the pandemic Maryland also faced a significant incident in Tropical Storm Isaias. The storm made landfall in Maryland in August 2020, causing damage throughout the state. Like COVID-19, the PA team successfully secured a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for Dorchester, St. Mary’s, and Calvert Counties. This presented yet another significant cost savings for local communities in the midst of COVID-19 response.
This team prioritizes customer service and the needs of organizations impacted by disaster to achieve the most effective outcomes possible. They do this with a customer-first focus and a willingness to take extra steps to meet the needs of the clients that they save. This team consistently receives accolades from applicants engaged in the process and have saved the state billions of dollars in expenses.

Communications & Outreach Support to COVID-19
Like most units of MEMA, the Communications & Outreach team directly supported the needs of the Maryland Department of Health throughout the fist, second, and third waves of COVID-19. Their critical role involved providing lifesaving information to the public about the progression of the pandemic, important public health measures in place, and where to go to receive testing or vaccines. Their customer-first focus provided messages that were accessible to the public and ones that provided specific information about how the virus affected their lives. Delivered with a tinge of empathy and compassion, the team understood how to meet the mission of informing the public about COVID-19.
Throughout the pandemic as other disasters impacted communities in Maryland, the Communications & Outreach team proactively messaged the public. This included launching a hurricane preparedness campaign that educated the public about how COVID-19 impacted preparedness efforts for hurricane season. In addition as winter weather season took hold the team pushed additional preparedness messaging to the public. Finally, amidst a surge in cases and in the middle of statewide vaccination efforts, the team led the way messaging about severe spring storms. Throughout the year, despite being depleted and stretched-thin, the team continued to provide customer-focused messaging to Marylanders.

Support to the Private Sector During COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic had a particularly devastating impact on the private sector. As the pandemic evolved and guidance changed, businesses adapted. Despite this flexibility they lacked sufficient access to government to develop responses to changing regulations. MEMA’s Maryland Business Operations Center (MBEOC), for over 1.5 years, filled the needs of the business community. The MBEOC held regular calls, from November through May as the second and third waves of the pandemic took hold and the vaccination efforts ramped up statewide. These efforts included facilitating information sharing and dialogue, locating subject matter experts to answer business’ questions, and responding to other needs of the business community.
The efforts of the MBEOC team did not go unnoticed. The MBEOC progressively took on a larger role in the response, coordinating many aspects of the mass vaccination efforts as it related to private-sector delivery. While this was certainly a team effort, the team’s leader, Allegra Tartaglia, received the Louis L. Goldstein Service Award from the Maryland Retailers Association for her efforts to serve the needs of the private sector. This award, previously given to former governors and elected officials, demonstrates the level of commitment that MEMA staff have to fulfilling the mission of the agency and providing excellent customer service.

COVID-19 Operations
  • Starting in March of 2020, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) spent seventeen (17) months coordinating state efforts to fight the pandemic.
  • Starting with testing, contact tracing and surge capacity up to the recent vaccination efforts, MEMA  worked with many state agencies, led by the Maryland Department of Health.
  • State Logistics & Distribution Management - The establishing and running an efficient State Logistics Staging Area (SLSA) and warehouse operations led to the distribution of critically needed and lifesaving equipment and supplies during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • Greenbelt Mass Vaccination - Coordinating the establishment of a Type II Community Vaccination Center (CVC), staffed by State and Federal partners, to provide mass vaccination in the National Capital Region while especially targeting the State's equity communities during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • Mobile Vaccination - Coordination, development, and operation of a multidimensional mobile vaccination program, composed of State and  Federal resources, to provide vaccinations to equity, rural, CIKR, and other target communities during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • State COG/COOP Vaccination - Developed a tiered prioritization and process for vaccinating personnel that support the State's Continuity of Government (COG) and/or the Continuity of Operations (COOP) for essential functions and services.
  • The GSEM (Grant-Funded School Emergency Management) team converted classroom materials to a virtual platform and delivered content related to basic and advanced topics including reunification, emergency communications, and special needs to school personnel. In addition, the team assisted numerous school districts with emergency operations plans and provided technical assistance to strengthen these plans.
  • MEMA’s Response Coordination Branch (RCB) staff provided staffing throughout the COVID response for SEOC positions and provided Just In Time training for newly hired staff to ensure appropriate staffing levels.
  • The RCB staff maintained operational capabilities so that response demands were met during hurricane impacts, insurrection, and short-notice weather events
  • The MJOC (Maryland Joint Operations Center) initiated, staffed, and maintained seven hotlines throughout COVID operations to provide important information to the public as well as stakeholder partners. Some of these hotlines were established in less than 90 minutes after the request.
  • The MJOC continues to have positive customer service interactions on a daily basis with the public and our State/Federal partners during regular operations.
  • MEMA coordinated:
  • Logistics, processed federal grants for both reimbursement and forward funding,
  • Worked with local emergency management and health officials to set up testing and vaccination sites, and
  • The MJOC continues to have positive customer service interactions on a daily basis with the public and our State/Federal partners during regular operations.
  • At the request of the Maryland Center for School Safety (MCSS), the Grant-Funded School Emergency Management (GSEM) team designed and delivered training for the MCSS's School Resource Officer (SRO) training program. The GSEM team provided their expertise and sought to educate SROs on the same emergency management and planning principles that are taught to school administrators and staff. This has the dual purpose of putting SROs and schools on the same page, while also fulfilling MCSS's need to build a robust and comprehensive training course for their shareholders.
REISTERSTOWN, Md. (July 14, 2021)
  • The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) announced awards of $4 million in federal funding made available through the Recovery for the Economy, Livelihoods, Industries, Entrepreneurs, and Families Act (RELIEF) of 2021.
  • MEMA will distribute these funds to 181 volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue departments throughout the State of Maryland to assist with hardship relief from COVID-19.
  • There  was assistance from the Maryland State Firemen’s Association (MSFA), MEMA and the Maryland Military Department in advertising the availability of the special funding to the volunteer fire and EMS service in each county throughout Maryland.
  • The counties of Allegany (20 applicants), Baltimore (20 applicants), and Frederick (21 applicants) led the state in applications for RELIEF funding, and received ~$382,000, ~$390,000, and ~$654,000 respectively.
  • Of the more than 350 volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue departments, 181 applied for support from the RELIEF Act of 2021.
  • The Maryland General Assembly enacted the RELIEF Act of 2021 to provide needed relief to the volunteer fire service as a result of the loss of fund-raising revenue during the past year.
“This funding provides much needed financial support to the volunteer fire service for lost revenue as a result of COVID-19 during 2020.” (Russell Strickland, MEMA’s Executive Director).