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Emergency Management

The Somerset County Department of Emergency Services has the mission of coordinating the resources necessary to respond to an emergency. On a daily basis this occurs through the 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Center. For large scale events the Emergency Operations Center coordinates emergency management services.

The Department of Emergency Services is the lead agency in Somerset County for emergency management planning, response, mitigation and recovery. This office is responsible for the Emergency Operations Center, the County Emergency Operations Center, the County Emergency Operations Plan, the Hazardous Materials Regulatory Program (Sara Title III and Community Right to Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA).


Somerset County has a Emergency Management Director and an assistant director. The 9-1-1 Staff also assist with emergency management duties. This agency provides administrative support to the Somerset County Fireman's Association and the Local Emergency Planning Committee. This agency depends on volunteers from Fire, EMS, Amateur Radio (RACES), Red Cross and many other county and state agencies.

The Emergency Operations Center:

The EOC is located at 11916 Somerset Avenue, Room 120, Princess Anne, Maryland, 21853.

When the Emergency Operations Center is fully activated the EOC staff includes the Director of 911/Emergency Managment, County Commissioners President, County Administrator, and representatives from the school board, Health Department, Social Services, Law Enforcement, Public Works, County Roads, State Highway Administration, Red Cross, RACES, the United States Coast Guard, National Guard, Fire and EMS providers and many others.

Emergency Planning:

This office is responsible for coordinating disaster planning for all entities within the county. This includes maintain the Emergency Operations Plan ad related annexes which must be reviewed and updated periodically. This plan and annexes must comply with standards set fourth by the Maryland Emergency Management Agency and FEMA. We also work with the Eastern Correctional Institution on their plan.

Warning and Communication:

Somerset County has a population of approximately 23,000. It is the responsibility of this office to notify the citizens of impending danger for all types of hazard including hurricane, winter storms, hazardous materials incidents etc. This is done through local TV and radio stations, the Emergency Alert System and the local newspaper, 'The Daily Times' information line, 410-548-7500, ext 1060.

Tips on Emergency Preparedness


Disasters of various degrees can strike quickly and without warning. Would you know what to do if basic services like water, gas, electric or telephones were out of service?

Find out what could happen to you. Ask what types of disasters are most likely to happen in this area. Learn about the communities warning signals: what they sound like and what you should do when you hear them.

Create a disaster plan. Discuss with your family the types of disasters that are most likely to happen and explain what to do in each case. Have a primary and secondary place to meet.

Create a disaster checklist. A simple checklist including posting of emergency phone numbers, show family members how to shut off electricity, gas and water lines and know which family member is responsible each task.

Practice and maintain your plan. Quiz your kids every six months or so to make sure they remember what to do. Change batteries in smoke detectors, flashlights, and radios each year to make sure they will function properly.

A pre-prepared information checklist is available from your local Emergency Management Office.


Designated Somerset County/American Red Cross shelters will not accept pets. The office of Emergency Management recommends that you make arrangements to evacuate yourself and your pet(s) to a friends or relatives in a safe area before the storm. Make sure your pets have all current immunizations and take these with you if you have to evacuate. Pack a pet survival kit. It should include ample food, medications, specific care instructions, and one of your pet's familiar toys. Throughout the evacuation and storm, your pet will need reassurance from you. Remain calm and keep as close to their normal routine as possible.


It is important to know weather terminology when talking about watches and warnings. A hurricane watch is posted when indications are that a hurricane MAY threaten a specific area, but is not imminent. A hurricane warning is issued when a hurricane is expected to strike a specified area within 24 hours or less, with sustained winds of 74 mph or higher and dangerously high water and waves. Hurricane categories are based on wind speed and use the Saffir/Simpson scale. There are five categories:
CATEGORY 1 Winds 74-95 miles per hour
CATEGORY 2 Winds 96-110 miles per hour
CATEGORY 3 Winds 111-130 miles per hour
CATEGORY 4 Winds 131-155 miles per hour
CATEGORY 5 Winds 156 or higher

Brochures on how to prepare your home for a hurricane are available by contacting the American Red Cross or your local Emergency Management office. Many building supply stores also have tips and brochures on building storm shutters and other ways to minimize damage.


Severe storms, unlike hurricanes, which are tracked for weeks, can develop on very short notice. Most severe thunderstorms develop when a cold front moves into an area with a hot and humid air mass. Learn the thunderstorm danger signs.
Dark, towering or threatening clouds.
Distant lightning and thunder

Because light travels so much faster than sound, lightning flashes can be seen long before the resulting thunder is heard. Estimate the number of miles you are from a thunderstorm by counting the number of seconds between a flash of lightning and the next clap of thunder. Divide that number by five to calculate the mileage.


When a tornado is coming, you have only a short amount of time to make life-or-death decisions. Advance planning and quick responses are the key to surviving. Before a tornado hits designate an area in the home as a shelter, and practice having everyone in the family go there in response to a tornado threat. If you live in a mobile home have a place with a strong foundation to go to. Mobile homes are particularly vulnerable since they can be overturned easily by the high winds. During the storm go to the basement, or if you don't have a basement, an interior hallway or small room without any windows. After the storm is over, check for gas leaks, damage to electrical lines and water and sewer line damage. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO FIX THEM YOURSELF! Contact the local utilities to make necessary repairs.


Prepare in advance for winter storms. Have extra blankets on hand and ensure that each member of the family has a warm coat, gloves or mittens, a hat and water-resistant boots. You may also want to winterize you home and car prior to the storms arrival. Keep tuned to local radio and TV stations and NOAA weather radio for weather updates. Avoid traveling in a storm. If you must travel have an emergency supplies kit in the trunk. Keep the vehicle's fuel tank full. Let someone know your destination and about how long it should take you to arrive. If you have a battery powered cell phone make sure it's fully charged and take along an extra battery just in case you become stranded.

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Last updated: 14 November 2014