Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced a new partnership of local organizations that respond during disasters.

The Howard County Community Organizations Active in Disasters (COAD) is one of only two in Maryland. This group of faith-based, nonprofit and private organizations, along with businesses and educational institutions, will help the county be better prepared and improve coordination of services before, during and after a crisis.

“When disaster strikes, recovery requires that groups work together to quickly coordinate various resources that address basic needs, resolve issues timely and rebuild our community,” said Ball. “The Office of Emergency Management coordinated this partnership so we will know the capabilities and supplies of our community affiliates and which groups have the best resources to resolve specific issues. This makes our response faster and more efficient when we know each other and how we work together.”

As part of COAD’s elected leadership, former CNN correspondent Kathleen Koch, founder of the nonprofit LeadersLink, will serve as COAD chair. Nancy McAllister, an active member of the Columbia Amateur Radio Association (CARA), was voted as vice chair and Debbie Rivera, a pastor at Ellicott City Seventh-Day Adventist Church, was selected to be secretary.

The group of 60 participating organizations will meet monthly, focusing on teambuilding, training, and coordination activities.  For more information about COAD, visit Those organizations or individuals interested in participating can contact [email protected].