The exercises and training divisions work with similar divisions in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, a Continuity of Operations department designed to work with the federal Department of Homeland Security, and an Office of Domestic Preparedness and Law Enforcement Liaison work with local and federal authorities to coordinate comprehensive disaster planning efforts. (Maryland Emergency Management Homepage, 2006, Official Website)
Different organizations that are involved, how the organizations interact with or are apart of the EOC/What is the responsibilities of each member to the EOC
The federal government, including FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Authority), the Department of Homeland Security, and the state Emergency Management offices of Delaware, Virginia, and Pennsylvania are all involved, as is the National Guard. These organizations do not have specifically delineated legal responsibilities to the state of Maryland's EOC, other than to serve the citizens of the U.S. In the case of the federal government. (Maryland Emergency Management Homepage, 2006, Official Website)
Who activates the EOC at the time of an emergency?
John Droneburg III, the organization's director activities and coordinates the efforts of the above agencies during a time of emergency. (Droneburg, 2006) The state's governor also has special powers during an emergency.
How the EOC responds to an emergency/disaster and coordinates the efforts of all responsible parties/Is there a separate warning system to alert the organizations of an impending emergency/disaster?
The coordination efforts and motivation depend on whether the disaster is local, state or federal in nature.
What laws if any, enable the EOC to act?
MEMA's authority derives from Article 14 of the Annotated Code of Maryland. This Article creates MEMA and authorizes the political subdivisions of the state to create emergency management offices of their own. Currently, there are 26 local emergency management offices in Maryland - all 23 counties, along with Annapolis, Baltimore and Ocean City. Article 14 also gives the Governor emergency powers - such as temporarily waiving state laws that may interfere with emergency response operations." (Maryland Emergency Management Homepage, 2006, Official Website)
Does the public or public agencies have a mechanism to notify the EOC of an emergency/disastrous situation, and any other information you feel is important and that relates to the operation of the EOC?
Like Florida, the state provides a hotline for all citizens.
Florida's great strength seems to lie in its insistence that all citizens take responsibility for having a personal disaster plan. Maryland's great strength lies in its ability to plan its preparations with cooperative neighboring states, and the neighboring federal government.
In comparison to Florida, Florida's EOC is far more isolated from the administration of neighboring state authorities. Maryland's reliance upon other organizations that do not have a specific responsibility to the people of the state might be said to be its weakness as an EOC.
Both states stress the need for preparedness for weather-related disasters that particularly afflict these water-bound costal states.
Opinion on which State has the most effective EOC
In light of the increased need for coordinated efforts for emergency preparation for non-related disasters, Maryland's structure seems more comprehensive in its nature and more applicable to a variety of disasters that are not weather-related, such as its coordinated activities with the nearby Department of Homeland Security.
Opinion on what you liked or disliked about how the EOC's operate
Florida's availability of information regarding the state's ever-changing weather-related data, while helpful, seems to place an overabundance of responsibility upon the citizens regarding disaster preparedness, while Maryland's recognition of the need for interdependent related efforts shows greater willingness to use available federal and neighboring state resources.
What recommendations as to how to improve the current EOC's or for future programs?
Florida could become more involved with federal efforts to contain disasters, and could encompass other costal states in its warning efforts.
Droneburg, John. (2006) "Letter from the Director: John Droneburg III." Maryland
Emergency Management. Retrieved 3 Nov 2006 at http://www.mema.state.md.us/MEMA/content_page.jsp?TOPICID=domprepare#
Florida State Warning Point." (2006). Florida Division of Emergency Management. Retrieved 3 Nov 2006 at http://www.floridadisaster.org/bpr/Response/Operations/swp.htm
Maryland Emergency Management Homepage. (2006) Official Website. Retrieved 3 Nov 2006 at http://www.mema.state.md.us/MEMA/index.jsp
Organization." (2006). Florida Division of Emergency Management. Retrieved 3 Nov 2006 at http://floridadisaster.org/about_the_division.htm