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 was 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  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 operational. 


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

Public Meetings

On February 25, 2019, County Executive Ball, in coordination with the Office of Emergency Management, hosted a public meetings to provide additional information about the temporary speaker arrays and to solicit feedback regarding a permanent speaker system. The presentation from that meeting can be found here.

Frequently Asked Questions


Tel: 410-313-4200


© 2019 by Howard County Government.