About Us


Emergency Management has been a part our nation’s fabric, long before we gained the title. Our office was chartered in 1953 as the Charlotte Office of Civil Defense and in 1983 became the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management Office (CMEMO) through an interlocal agreement between the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Emergency Management as we know it today, is very much a result of local, state and federal disasters and emergencies that have taken place in the last 25 years, including the events of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.

These two events influenced key legislation that has assisted in the protection of life and property within the borders and among the territories of the United States.


Who We Are

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management (CMEMO) is a local governmental agency that coordinates large-scale emergency incidents within the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Our office assists local emergency response agencies by providing detailed planning procedures and specialized needs for incidents requiring multi-agency participation and is responsible for planning, orchestrating and coordinating community resources and efforts in preparation for, response to and recovery from all hazards, both natural and human made. CMEMO operates as a division of the Charlotte Fire Department (CFD), staffed by ten (10) of the best emergency management professionals in the country, and is led by Battalion Chief / Deputy Director Robert Graham

Chief Graham is tasked with overseeing the day-to-day operational and planning activities for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management Office (CMEMO). As the Deputy Director, he serves as the liaison with local, state and federal agencies including North Carolina Emergency Management (NCEM), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). He is responsible for Emergency Support Function (ESF) #4 – Firefighting and #5 – Emergency Management and serves as the manager for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Incident Management Team (IMT).

Chief Graham joined the Charlotte Fire Department (CFD) in 1996, was promoted to Engineer in 2003, Captain in 2004 and Battalion Chief in 2015. Chief Graham has served in a variety of roles in the department including extensive work assigned to specialty rescue and hazardous materials companies. Chief Graham is former President of the North Carolina Search and Rescue Advisory Council, current Peer Team Leader for the Commission on Fire Accreditation International and former Accreditation Manager for CFD. Chief Graham holds many technical certifications and serves as a fire and rescue instructor and National Incident Management System (NIMS) instructor for the State of North Carolina and FEMA.

Additionally, he serves as an adjunct professor for several universities. Chief Graham holds an Associate of Science in Emergency Preparedness Technology from Caldwell Community College (CCC), a Bachelor of Science in Fire Science Administration from the University of New Haven (UNH), a Master of Professional Studies in Safety and Security Leadership from the George Washington University (GW) and a Graduate Certification in Community Preparedness and Disaster Management from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). Chief Graham is also a Chief Fire Officer Designee (CFO) through the Center for Public Safety Excellence.



Anthony Bateman - Emergency Management Planner - Radiological / Infrastructure

Tony Bateman serves as an Emergency Management Planner for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management Office (CMEMO), and is tasked with all-hazards planning, response, recovery, and mitigation efforts. Bateman is the primary infrastructure and private industry liaison for the department, and is responsible for Emergency Support Function (ESF) #1 – Transportation, #2 - Communications, #3 - Public Works and Engineering, #12 - Energy and #14 - Long Term Recovery. Additionally, he coordinates damage assessment, debris management, dam emergency action plan review, training and exercise management, and the fixed nuclear facility and radiological emergency preparedness programs.





Matthew Brown - Emergency Management Planner - Logistics

Matt Brown serves as the Logistics Planner for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management Office (CMEMO). As such, he is responsible for Emergency Support Function (ESF) #7 - Logistics Management and Support. Matt is tasked with assisting with coordinating all CMEMO assets within Mecklenburg County as well as neighboring counties along with equipment management for the Charlotte Fire Department Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) and Hazardous Material companies. He is responsible for the overall operation of the Mobile Operation Center (MOC), the Mobile Command Post (MCP), and other specialized equipment assigned to special operations divisions. Additionally, Matt supports the Salamander (Rapid Tag) system.




Chelsea Helton - Emergency Management Planner - COVID

Chelsea is an Emergency Management Planner for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management Office (CMEMO). She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Criminology. She received her Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) degree with a concentration in Emergency Management at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC), Chelsea manages the department’s social media accounts, is assisting the department achieve accreditation through the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP), developing the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) region Cyber Task Force, and leading the efforts to build a cyber program within our department. Chelsea is also helping the department manage our COVID-19 response.




Corbin Hyland - Emergency Management Planner - Health and Medical

Corbin Hyland serves as an Emergency Management Planner for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management Office (CMEMO). Corbin is the health and medical liaison for the department and is responsible for Emergency Support Function (ESF) #8 – Public Health and Medical and #14 – Long Term Recovery. Corbin has a bachelor’s degree in Emergency and Disaster Management from Western Carolina University and is a Nationally Registered Paramedic. Corbin joined our team in 2019, after serving as an intern.




Elaney Katsafanas - Emergency Management Planner - Human Services

Elaney serves as an Emergency Management Planner for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management Office (CMEMO), and is tasked with all-hazards planning, response, recovery, and mitigation efforts. Elaney serves as the human services liaison for the department and is responsible for Emergency Support Function (ESF) #6 – Mass Care, Emergency Assistance, Housing and Human Services, # 11 – Agriculture and Natural Resources and #14 – Long Term Community Recovery. Additionally, Elaney serves as the functional lead for the department’s Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and peer support efforts, access and functional needs considerations, including development and maintenance of the special needs registry and serves as the system administrator for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg WebEOC platform.

Ms. Katsafanas earned a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Public Relations from Central Michigan University and is a graduate of the Leading Educating and Developing (LEAD) program at the University of Virginia. Elaney maintains a membership in the North Carolina Emergency Management Association (NCEMA) and the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM). Elaney joined the department as a Grants Administrator in 2015, after previously serving in the public, private and non-profit sectors as a public relation, risk management and crisis management professional.




Kevin Staley - Emergency Management Planner - COVID

Kevin Staley joined the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management Office (CMEMO in April 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and currently serves as the Mass Care Manager. Kevin retired as Deputy Director for Mecklenburg EMS Agency on January 1, 2019 after a thirty-year career. He is a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) with the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), a certified Executive Emergency Manager with North Carolina and is serving appointments to the FEMA National Advisory Council, North Carolina Emergency Response Commission, and North Carolina EMS Advisory Council.

Kevin’s focus since joining the department is on medical surge planning for a field hospital should it be needed, working with the Republic National Committee (RNC) to delegate COVID-19 preparedness for the 2020 RNC that occurred in August, COVID-19 preparedness planning for the November 2020 Election and planning for mass vaccinations, particularly related to first responders and essential workers and emergency management support to Mecklenburg County Health Department.





Aaron Thompson - Emergency Management Planner

Aaron is responsible for overseeing our technology and the functionality of our Emergency Operations Centers (EOC)






Internships and Project Opportunities

Occasionally, our office has opportunities to participate with our department as an intern (and we do appreciate a good intern) and/or assist our team with plan updates or new projects. We’re passionate about our work and we enjoy collaborating with individuals who are passionate as well. The future of Emergency Management depends on such collaboration and our team supports these efforts entirely.


Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP)

Excellence and accountability are two qualities that our team strives to maintain. Trust and confidence in our staff and our abilities, fosters quality partnership opportunities and engaged citizens. The Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) is an independent non-profit organization, that fosters excellence and accountability in emergency management programs, by establishing credible standards applied through a peer review accreditation process that occurs every three (3) years.

Our team is currently pursuing accreditation through EMAP, by proving we are capable and resilient and maintain the following strategic priorities: governance, outreach and engagement, standards development, administrative assessments and accreditation, operational evaluation, training and instruction, development and staffing and funding