We would like to thank Brendan McCluskey, the Director of Preparedness of MEMA, for talking with us this evening. Governor Martin O’Malley declared a State of Emergency earlier today that went into effect immediately. It will remain in effect until the Governor declares that is over. The State of Emergency was declared due to snow predictions from the NWS being much higher than previous storms, with precipitation starting tomorrow evening and potentially lasting through the day on Thursday. With that said, what does this mean to the average citizen?
Here’s what it means:
- A State of Emergency allows the state to waive certain regulations that would possibly hinder effective response. An example of this can be found in the event of a major power outage that requires assistance from out of state power companies—The state can waive the requirement that those trucks stop at the weigh stations, therefore allowing them to get to the affected areas and begin working faster.
- A State of Emergency allows the Governor to call in the MD National Guard to assist.
- A State of Emergency allows the Governor and others to respond accordingly. It empowers the Governor and those in executive positions with key emergency responsibilities (for example: the Executive Director of MEMA, the Superintendent of the State Police) to do many things including but not limited to closing roads and waiving contracting requirements.
- A State of Emergency is a pre-curser to requesting Federal assistance. This does NOT mean that the state has requested federal assistance, but if it is necessary, Governor O’Malley could.
As of right now, there are NO travel restrictions. In the event that travel restrictions are imposed, they will be communicated as soon as they happen. Travel restrictions may happen at the county, municipal, and at the state level.
The current State of Emergency does not mean that there is a snow emergency. A snow emergency is declared by individual counties and the State Highway Administration.