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News Release, Maryland Emergency Management Agency
REISTERSTOWN, Md. (April 23, 2020) — During emergencies and disasters, close collaboration between the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the private sector is critical in protecting citizens and rebuilding communities. The Maryland Business Emergency Operations Center (MBEOC) is MEMA’s two-way conduit for information sharing between public and private sector stakeholders.
All Maryland businesses are encouraged to find out more information on the MBEOC and MEMA’s Private Sector Integration Program (PSIP) and to consider joining. Signing up is easy and only takes a few minutes. Please visit https://mema.maryland.gov/community/Pages/PSIP-Welcome.aspx
“Public-private partnerships are an essential component of MEMA’s vision to shape a more resilient Maryland where communities thrive,” said Russ Strickland, MEMA’s Executive Director. “Relationships must be built and fostered before an emergency, and that is essential to what we do. Our commitment to businesses in Maryland does not start with an MBEOC activation, rather, we have been working with the private sector and preparing for all hazards as part of MEMA’s Private Sector Integration Program to be ready for an emergency such as the COVID-19 global pandemic.”
The MBEOC is an operational information sharing structure created to enhance communications and collaboration with private industry partners and ensure their integration into disaster operations at a strategic and tactical level.
The MBEOC works to:
- Assist MEMA’s State Coordinating Function Liaisons by identifying potential sources of operational support and providing situational awareness during response and recovery phases of a disaster.
- Improve situational awareness across affected areas and facilitate information sharing between public and private sectors on existing needs and capabilities during a disaster.
- Engage key stakeholders who can bring resources, capabilities, and expertise to support disaster response and recovery operations.
- Coordinate requests for information about critical infrastructure sectors through through the United States Department of Homeland Security Critical Infrastructure and Security Agency’s (CISA) National Infrastructure Coordination Center (NICC).
- Foster mutually-supportive relationships that strengthen public-private partnerships.
To this date, the MBEOC in partnership with the Maryland Department of Commerce has been able to:
- Identify vendors for COVID-19 emergency response.
- Coordinate donations of products and services with submitted requests of need.
- Conduct regular coordination calls with PSIP members to share information and answer incident specific questions while coordinating with the Governor’s office and other state level elected officials.
- Serve as the operational conduit between business and government.
During incidents the MBEOC provides a Daily Situational Report with timely information to its members in order to assist them with daily planning and emergency response operations. For a comprehensive exchange of information, the MBEOC institutes a twice a week call to engage the State’s PSIP members and grant them the opportunity to brief out operational information on industry, success stories, issues at hand, and future supply chain concerns. These calls collect information to assist with State operations and future supply chain interruption.
Below are some of the MBEOC success stories with PSIP partners:
- Maryland Beverage Association donated Power Bars to Maryland Food Bank. Coordination occurred through MBEOC and the Maryland Department of Human Services.
- Maryland Retailers Association encouraged the increase of the allotment of the maximum purchasing limit for childcare centers or providers with the Maryland State Department of Education’s Office of Childcare.
- Maryland Retailers Association communicated enforcement concerns about state and local executive orders.
- PSIP Partners Walgreens and CVS approved the Department of Aging government purchasing cards in their stores.
- National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) small business partners in Maryland have been able to assist with State procurement requests, specifically tents, for temporary medical service locations.
- Rumor control and guidance on communication to industry regarding COVID-19.