PHILADELPHIA – When you go to play ball against your rivals, you want to know your team is prepared and trained to play their roles. In any team sport, this is the norm. Disaster response and recovery are no exception – each of us plays a role and to be successful, we have to be prepared. In pursuit of this goal, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) are looking to enhance their collaboration and teamwork to prepare for future emergencies. To accomplish this, a team has been established to coordinate directly with MEMA on program implementation, hazard risk reduction and operational planning. The FEMA Integration Team (FIT) was officially adopted by Memorandum of Agreement, signed this week by Russell Strickland, Executive Director for MEMA, and MaryAnn Tierney, FEMA Region III Regional Administrator. Under the agreement, the FIT will increase FEMA’s ability to provide on-site technical assistance and rapid delivery of FEMA’s programs within the State of Maryland and enhance FEMA’s direct coordination with the state.
FEMA currently works closely with MEMA on long-term planning, operational coordination, and program implementation and closeout through staff in the regional office in Philadelphia and staff assigned to the state emergency operations center. The FIT enhances that collaborative effort by bringing in additional specialized staff to enhance mitigation, response and recovery planning capabilities. “Every day, our partnership with FEMA is critical to the success of our programs and ability to respond and recover statewide,” stated Russ Strickland, Executive Director for MEMA. “This team will help MEMA to build resilience in our communities so when, not if, we have another disaster, MEMA and FEMA will be ready.” By adding this team, FEMA and MEMA look to build their joint capability to prepare for and respond to potential disasters as well as mitigate risk.
The FIT represents FEMA’s commitment to reducing the complexity of FEMA programs through direct staff engagement on emergency management with the state. The FIT will work closely with their counterparts in Maryland on projects such as hurricane response planning, power outages and logistics, and reducing risk to other hazards such as flooding across the state. “FIT is just one way we are implementing FEMA’s Strategic Plan,” stated MaryAnn Tierney, FEMA Region III Regional Administrator. “By building a comprehensive team working directly with Maryland on disaster assistance programs, hazard mitigation and emergency response planning, we can continue to build a true culture of preparedness, ready the nation for catastrophic events, and reduce the complexity of FEMA across the State.”
FEMA’s FIT will allow the agency to meet the needs of each state while planning and preparing for potential catastrophic emergencies. FEMA currently has 23 FIT, including in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Virginia FIT continues FEMA’s rollout of this new and important program, a cornerstone element of implementing FEMA’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan. The Maryland Team is the 24th FIT out of a planned minimum of 34 for 2019.
To learn more about MEMA and preparedness across the State of Maryland, please visit mema.maryland.gov. For more information on FEMA Region III, please visit www.FEMA.gov/region-iii. For more information on FEMA’s Strategic Plan, please visit https://www.fema.gov/strategic-plan.
FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters. FEMA Region III’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. Learn more about FEMA Region III at www.FEMA.gov/region-iii. Stay informed of FEMA’s activities online: videos and podcasts are available at fema.gov/medialibrary and youtube.com/fema. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/femaregion3.