What is Emergency Management?

Dear Hancock County residents and visitors:


What is an Emergency Management Agency, and what do they do?

Well, let me answer that question with a brief history of Emergency Management.

The Maine Emergency Management Agency was established in 1949 as the Maine Civil Defense and Public Safety Agency. Public law re-designated the name to Maine Emergency Management Agency effective September 29, 1987.

The concept of emergency management as an integral part of government’s public safety services evolved in the 1970’s. Forward-thinking public administrators discovered that there are common emergency response functions that have to be performed in all technological and natural disasters.

Authority for emergency management in Maine comes from the Maine Civil Emergency Preparedness Act (MRSA Title 37-B, Chapter 13) that requires each community to appoint an Emergency Management Agency Director as well as the County. At any level of government the EMA Director’s duties are to oversee planning, training, and preparing for emergency response during non-disaster times, and to act as the coordinator of emergency operations during disasters.

All levels of government share emergency Management responsibilities. Local government is the front line of emergency management and the County agency serves as a link between local government and the State.

No area in Maine, including Hancock County, is immune from severe weather, large fires, hazardous material spills, or other disasters. The Emergency Management program represents insurance to the County when disaster strikes by insuring that all emergency response groups are well trained and coordinated.

The Emergency Management Agency organization is not a replacement for the police, fire, ambulance or other emergency response groups. The Emergency Management Agency coordinates response and recovery in declared disasters when more than one department is responding to a threat; the disaster extends beyond the normal mutual aid boundaries of the affected community, or when several communities are involved.

The importance of an Emergency Management program becomes apparent during times of emergency. After a disaster has happened it is too late to write a comprehensive plan, train personnel, or establish complex emergency communications systems. The County Emergency Management Agency provided guidance, planning models, home study courses, and workshops on emergency management to the local communities and their own EMA staff.

Together, the emergency response agencies, private industry, and citizen volunteers of Hancock County can lessen the impact of technological and natural disasters and have a comprehensive plan in place should we be faced with what we hope will never happen.

Andrew X Sankey , Director
Hancock County Emergency Management Agency