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Office of Emergency Management Schedules Second Public Meeting on NEW Ellicott City Emergency Public Alert System

May 22, 2019

Media Contact:
Mark Miller, Administrator, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – The Howard County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has scheduled its second public meeting to discuss the new Ellicott City Emergency Public Alert System. The meeting will be held Thursday, June 6, at 6:00 PM in the Columbia/Ellicott City Rooms of the George Howard Building, 3430 Court House Drive in Ellicott City.

“Making Ellicott City safe and sound has been a priority for me and ensuring we can alert the public in severe weather events as soon as possible is critical. I appreciate the input and feedback from our community as we’ve worked to get this alert system into place and operational,” said County Executive Calvin Ball. “During severe weather events seconds count and these tones are a valuable tool to give our residents, businesses and visitors as much notice as possible if we suspect flash flooding is about to occur.” 

As part of Phase One of his Ellicott City Safe and Sound plan, County Executive Ball directed the purchase and installation of a new outdoor, tone-based, alert system to complement existing alert and warning tools. The mobile, trailer-based speaker arrays located at the Visit Howard County Welcome Center and at the Ellicott City Colored School, Restored, provide tone alerts to historic Ellicott City when flash flood conditions are imminent. 

During the meeting, OEM staff will share information from the initial setup testing conducted May 15, the plan for regularly scheduled testing moving forward, procedures for video message boards when under a Flash Flood Watch/Warning, and how people can receive alerts inside their homes and businesses.

The tone coverage is focused on providing outdoor alerts to those that are near the Tiber-Hudson river. While the audio alert may be heard inside buildings, it is not intended to alert those inside. The two speaker arrays currently in place are temporary. A permanent solution, scheduled for 2020, will have additional units for enhanced coverage.

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