Response & Recovery

When a disaster strikes, the Harford County Department of Emergency Services (DES) is ready to provide assistance. Following a natural or man-made disaster, the Emergency Preparedness and Planning Branch, in conjunction with other essential county, state, and federal departments and agencies assemble together in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to coordinate Harford County's response to an emergency. The EOC supports first responders in the field by collecting and disseminating information, identifying and allocating needed resources, and coordinating the response and recovery effort.

During an emergency

During an emergency, the DES Emergency Preparedness and Planning Branch will activate the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and will ensure that accurate and timely information is provided to the public using a variety of methods. The EOC may use the Emergency Alert System (EAS), the emergency notification system (phone callout system), sirens, route alerting, and/or media releases to get vital information out to Harford County residents. During a large-scale emergency, the DES Emergency Preparedness and Planning Branch may open the Joint Information Center (JIC) to coordinate the collection and dissemination of emergency public information.
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After an emergency

Following an emergency, the DES Emergency Preparedness and Planning Branch, working in the EOC, will coordinate disaster assistance efforts with local, state and federal departments and agencies, as well as faith-based and nonprofit organizations and the private sector, including the management of spontaneous volunteers and unsolicited donations. Furthermore, the EOC will facilitate reestablishment of government and economic infrastructure. These actions are essential to return normalcy to the community.

Post-disaster tips

Deal only with licensed and insured contractors.

Verify that the license is current and active.

Never let anyone into your home without first asking for identification. Utility representatives, government officials, and reputable businesses will have proper identification.

Water can be unsafe after a disaster, be sure to filter the water by using a piece of cloth or coffee filter to remove solid particles and bring it to a rolling boil for about 1 full minute before consumption.

Downed power lines can be extremely dangerous, do not attempt to move or touch them - please contact your local utility company immediately.


Harford County Government and the Department of Emergency Services have established contracts with companies that will be used before, during, and after major disasters to support the disaster recovery effort. These companies have extensive experience in disaster management, disaster relief services, debris management, temporary workforce housing, life support, medical and hazardous waste remediation and disposal, landfill management, and much more.