Functions of the Department of Emergency Services began in 1957, when Civil Defense was created in the County to plan and coordinate Countywide plans against possible nuclear attacks. In 1961, Civil Defense reformed as the Civil Defense and Emergency Management Agency, absorbing the duties of Civil Defense, and tasked with overseeing all County emergency planning and operations. The Department assumed its present name in 1981.
Department of Emergency Services, 107 Chesapeake Blvd., Elkton, Maryland, May 2018. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
The Department of Emergency Services staffs and maintains the 911 Emergency Services Dispatch Center, which receives calls, and coordinates local responders to most effectively address emergencies. During disasters, the Department coordinates federal, State and local agencies in response and recovery measures. In addition, the Department is responsible for homeland security operations, and radiological and hazardous material planning and response. The Department also designs and runs hazard exercises to ensure proper County preparation and response, and offers emergency training for County employees and residents on disaster preparation, mitigation, response and recovery (Code Public Safety Article, secs. 14-109 through 14-113; County Code, secs. 34-1 through 34-5).
Appointed by the Governor on recommendation of the County Executive, the Director oversees the Department (Code Public Safety Article, sec. 14-109).