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Emergency Public Alert System

While the county already has emergency alert capabilities, County Executive Ball wants the businesses, residents, and visitors of Ellicott City to have as much warning and direction as possible during severe weather events. As such, the county executive directed his Office of Emergency Management to develop a comprehensive plan to bolster the county’s Emergency Public Alert System, with new technology and elements to enhance capabilities during extreme weather situations. 

As part of EC Safe and Sound, an outdoor tone-based alert system is being implemented to complement existing alert and warning tools.  The mobile, trailer-based speaker arrays (pictured) provide tone alerts to historic Ellicott City when flash flood conditions are imminent. The units will produce a very loud tone (technically rated at 120 decibels within a 100 ft radius) warning individuals in outdoor spaces. These sound levels are equal to an ambulance or emergency services siren at full volume. The temporary units are currently in place and are in the process of being tested. 


A permanent solution is being developed in parallel with this effort and is scheduled for completion before summer 2020.  The permanent solution will have additional units for enhanced coverage and may add voice capabilities for better direction during emergencies.

Public Meetings

County Executive Ball, in coordination with the Office of Emergency Management, will be hosting a series of public meetings to provide additional information about the temporary speaker arrays and to solicit feedback regarding a permanent speaker system. 

Meeting 1


February 25, 2019 at 7:00 pm

George Howard Building

Banneker Room

3430 Court House Drive

Ellicott City, MD 21043

A specific agenda about the Emergency Alert System will be established for each meeting. This first meeting will review Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommendations, public safety recommendations, timeline and educational materials under development. Attendees will be asked to provide feedback on various tones that could be used and offer suggestions for a regular testing schedule. Additional meetings, their topics and a testing schedule will be provided in March.

Meeting Materials

Meeting 1 screen grab.JPG

Frequently Asked Questions