Gov. O'Malley Announces The Creation Of Civic Guard For Emergency Preparedness

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July 16, Governor Martin O’Malley delivered the keynote address before the Meta-Leadership Summit for Preparedness today where he announced the creation of Maryland’s “Civic Guard,” a cooperative effort among state and local governments to engage private and non-profit organizations for assistance during a major emergency or disaster.  The Summit, an opportunity for training and networking among emergency preparedness and response stakeholders, brings together high-level decision makers in business, government and nonprofit organizations. 

“Protecting our people and preparing our State for emergency situations are critical pursuits to every part of our mission as public servants,” said Governor O’Malley.  “I want to ask you for your help with a new initiative we are launching today which seeks to involve every citizen in the safety, security, and preparedness of the broader community we call Maryland.  Your participation reinforces simple but important truths: that we are indeed One Maryland; that we are a community; and that we are all in this together.”

Pointing to recent examples of local cooperation during emergency situations, such as Hurricane Katrina during which private fuel providers offered tankers to travel south with a Baltimore City contingent of emergency responders to the disaster area, or during Hurricane Isabel during which Duck Tour Boats were used to evacuate coastal areas of the City, Governor O’Malley today launched the Civic Guard which seeks to expand this network.  The Civic Guard is a coordinated effort between the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the University of Maryland’s Center for Health and Homeland Security that will engage local governments, private groups, businesses, corporations, and nonprofit organizations to enhance the system of cooperation during emergencies.  The Civic Guard seeks to build on the strength of current partnerships between local governments, volunteer organizations, private businesses, and our state government.

“Emergency responders, tasked with multiple responsibilities during an event, can be quickly overwhelmed during any crisis” said Richard Muth, Executive Director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency. “The Civic Guard is a vital disaster response and recovery component having the ability to relieve first-responders of the burden of non-life threatening tasks thereby permitting responders to focus on critical emergency needs.  But even more importantly Civic Guard can be employed during the long-term recovery process where their expertise can be used for rebuilding lives and revitalizing our communities after the disaster”.

Governor O’Malley urged businesses and non-profit organizations to visit MEMA’s website, where they can submit information on what they may be able to offer during an emergency situation.  MEMA will use this information to help build partnerships to ensure that Maryland is prepared and protected.

In its initial stages, Governor O’Malley has asked MEMA to reach out to local governments seeking their resource needs in the event of an emergency, and to reach out to businesses and non-profits to determine the willingness and available resources they can provide, thus broadening and expanding the network of coordination in the event of an emergency.  The effort is initially funded through a federal Regional Catastrophic Preparedness grant, a Department of Homeland Security / Federal Emergency Management Agency grant that is intended to support coordination of regional all-hazard planning catastrophic events.  The recipients of the grant include Maryland, Vi

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