Andrew Sankey, CEM-ME, Hancock County EMA
Are you familiar with the oft-repeated adage that “all disasters are local?”
If one considers the disasters that have occurred throughout these United States, or elsewhere for that matter, it is easy to recognize that from the largest events with long-term, worldwide, consequences (think 9/11) to that of the town road that’s washed out due to storm flooding, that the initial impacts and response to the disaster events were local. Whether you’re the emergency manager of a mega-metropolis or that of a sleepy, rural Maine town, when disaster strikes you’re the individual responsible for assuring your community not only survives, but ultimately thrives, in the face of adversity.
If you’re one of Maine’s 488 statutorily-required, appointed emergency managers, your EMA service is likely one of several volunteer roles you play in your local community. As such, it’s likely difficult at best to stay abreast of the trainings, exercises, and coordination with your administrative and elected officials regarding the conduct of your duties relating to emergency preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation. That is if you’re even fully aware of what your duties are or entail! (No need for embarrassment as many don’t—until confronted with an emergency with which they must contend).
The Maine Association of Local Emergency Managers,” MALEM,” is the solution. Organized by fellow emergency managers, the association exists to serve its colleague members by providing advice, collaboration, expertise, informational resources, and in times of emergency need, even a helping hand to assist you in your role in service to your town, tribe, city, or territory. MALEM is the statewide, collaborative organization by and for the local Maine emergency manager (you can read its founding history here: https://www.malem.org/2018/12/21/history-of-malem/ ); its worthy goal since its inception in 1999 is to see all Maine EMAs and in-turn, all our communities, well served by the organization.
If you’ve not recognized the benefit of MALEM membership as of yet, we urge you to do so, becoming part of the sole Maine organization dedicated to seeing you succeed and more importantly, your town survive when disaster strikes. For more information on how to join MALEM, please visit www.malem.org; it’s simple, affordable, and essential. We look forward to working with you in your role as your town’s well-prepared EMA director!