Worcester County Emergency Services (WCES) Director Fred Webster will retire effective December 30, 2018, after 17 years of public service to the community. Webster joined WCES as the assistant director in 2002, and in 2013, the Commissioners promoted him to direct the department.
In his role as WCES director, Webster leads the 911 Communications Center and directs all aspects of emergency management operations, including disaster planning, response, and recovery. Webster could also be found in the field as a member of the Worcester County Special Hazards Response Team (Hazmat). He also oversaw the Information Technology Division until it became a stand-alone department in July 2018. During severe weather events, Webster often served as the face and voice on many local television and radio stations, providing storm updates and information on how residents should prepare for storms.
In addition to his duties in Worcester County, Webster was a Maryland Emergency Management Association (MEMA) Conference Planning Committee member, serving briefly as treasurer and then as secretary from 2006 – 2015. He also chaired the Delmarva Emergency Task Force, a committee of emergency managers from across the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia. Prior to 2015, he served as co-chair of the Exercise & Training Committee of the Task Force. He currently serves as secretary of the Maryland Association of Counties Emergency Managers.
During his career, Webster was instrumental in instructing the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch Basic Telecommunicator classes and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Community Emergency Response Team program in Worcester County. He also oversaw the renovation of the 911 Center and Emergency Operations Center in Snow Hill, and upgrading of the 911 phone system in both the County’s primary 911 Center and the purchase of new 911 Center equipment in Ocean City, Ocean Pines, Berlin, Pocomoke, and the Maryland State Police Barrack in Berlin, with funding provided by the State of Maryland.
Webster will pass the torch of leadership in WCES to incoming Director Billy Birch.
“Worcester County is incredibly fortunate to have such a highly qualified leadership team,” Commission President Diana Purnell said. “Webster has played a major role in that team, and I look forward to working with Birch in this new capacity.”
In this article’s cover image, Fred Webster is seen discussing the after effects of Hurricane Sandy with FEMA internal governmental affairs specialist Doug Austin in 2012.