Our History

Civil Defense Control CenterOEM evolved from the City’s Civil Defense program, originally established to prepare for the nuclear dangers of the Cold War.

In 2002, under Mayor Martin O’Malley, the office was moved from the Department of Public Works into the Fire Department, where it remains to this day. From 2005-2007, Fire Chief William J. Goodwin, Jr. also filled the role of an emergency manager for the City.

Today, OEM works on preparedness and response for a variety of hazards that can occur in Baltimore.

Coastal and flash flooding, severe storms, power outages, blizzards, hazardous materials incidents, bomb threats, and numerous other incidents that require a multi-agency or multi-jurisdictional response, have occurred in the City in the last five years. During these events, OEM works to coordinate resources and make sure that the affected citizens receive all of the help that the City can access.

View the list of historic disaster declarations in Baltimore City.

Civil Defense Unit BannerCivil Defense Unit Helmets