Administrative Office of the Courts
580 Taylor Avenue
Annapolis, MD 21401
Jessica K. Pitts, Esq.
What is an emergency?
An Emergency is any unplanned event that can shut down your business, disrupt operations, cause physical or environmental damage, threaten your businesses' financial standing or image, or even cause deaths or significant injuries to employees, stakeholders, or to the public.
What should I do to be prepared in case of an emergency?
Everyone should prepare an "emergency response plan" for themselves. This plan should include who you will contact out of the area should an emergency occur, family emergency numbers, school contacts, an emergency meeting place for the family, and local contacts. Other pertinent information specific to you might include medical information, such as chronic conditions, medications that you use regularly and physician/pharmacy phone numbers. Make sure you discuss your plans with your loved ones and give them copies of your plan.
Having extra cash, medication, water, clothing, and food can help families be prepared. Other things are to get a kit, make a plan, have a list of family emergency numbers and school contacts, have an emergency meeting place, and stay informed. Agencies such as the American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have brochures to help you develop a family emergency plan. Your community group or neighborhood association might also want to consider establishing a phone tree or e-mail list to relay important information.
In an emergency, is evacuation always the answer?
No. In some situations sheltering may provide protection that is equal to, or even greater than, evacuation. Sheltering may be preferred in cases where weather, competing events, or short-term releases are factors. Follow the instructions of emergency personnel.
What does "shelter-in-place" mean?
Sheltering-in-place is a way of using an indoor facility, such as your own home or a public building, and its indoor atmosphere to shield people from a hazardous outdoor environment. Sheltering-in-place means remaining in a building until emergency management officials issue additional instructions or declare that the emergency condition has ended. It is a short-term option for limiting the potential exposure of persons to hazards that may be present in the outdoor environment.
What does your office do?
The office was created to provide technical support and assistance to judicial offices on matters related to emergency preparedness and court security. It is responsible for a range of services that include COOP planning, coordination with state and local agencies, employee training and legal research.
How can your office help me?
The Office of Emergency Management and Court Security provides:
- Training opportunities
- Security consultations and assessments
- Planning assistance
- Legal information on related topics
How do I get information from the Judiciary in an emergency?
The best way to find out information about the operations of the Judiciary during an emergency is to check the www.mdcourts.gov website, operated by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs. Closures and delays are reported at http://mdcourts.gov/infoline.html.
Does your office provide funding or grants for emergency management or court security functions?
Stay tuned for more information.
What is COOP?
COOP is short for Continuity of Operations Planning. COOP is an internal effort within individual components of a government to ensure the capability exists to continue essential component functions across a wide range of potential emergencies, including localized acts of nature, accidents, and technological or attack-related emergencies. In short, at the Maryland Judiciary, COOP is a planning effort to ensure that the essential functions of the courts continue and that access to justice is provided despite emergency disruptions.
Where can I find a copy of my office's COOP plan?
The COOP plans are available on-line for designated supervisors and court leaders at https://jportal.mdcourts.gov/reports/disaster/. Please contact Jessica Pitts by telephone at (410) 260-3515 or by e-mail at Jessica.email@example.com for more information.
What is the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning?
A watch means that a tornado is possible during the next few hours, while a warning means that a tornado has been observed, or is expected soon.
What is the difference between a thunderstorm watch and a thunderstorm warning?
A watch means that severe weather is possible during the next few hours, while a warning means that severe weather has been observed, or is expected soon.
What is the difference between a flood and flash flooding?
Flash flooding is a result of heavy localized rainfall such as that from slow moving intense thunderstorms. Flash floods often result from small creeks and streams overflowing during heavy rainfall. These floods often become raging torrents of water, which rip through dry river beds, city streets, coastal sections, and valleys or canyons, sweeping everything with them in their path. Flash flooding usually occurs within 6 hours of a heavy rain event.
Floods, on the other hand, occur seasonally with general rains or torrential rains associated with tropical storms, that later drain in river basins and fill them with too much water. General flooding often occurs in urban areas and areas with poor drainage after heavy rain.
What do the categories of hurricane mean?
The category of a hurricane is determined by the wind speed of the hurricane:
- Category 1: Wind speed of 75-95 MPH
- Category 2: Wind speed of 96-110 MPH
- Category 3: Wind speed of 111-130 MPH
- Category 4: Wind speed of 131-155 MPH
- Category 5: Wind speed of 156+ MPH
What are the natural weather hazards that impact Maryland?
There are several weather hazards that may potentially impact the state of Maryland. These include:
- Tropical Depressions, Tropical Storms, and Hurricanes
- Water Hazards: Snow, Ice, Exteme Cold
- Extreme Heat
- Tidal and Coastal Flooding
- Tidal Waves (Tsunami)