Emergency and Non-Emergency Notifications
Weather alerts are available through a variety of mobile applications which can be found at www.weather.gov/enterprise/. The County's Office of Emergency Management (OEM) also recommends that every home have a NOAA all hazards radio for personal alerting purposes. Working with the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) Emergency Alert System , the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) created an "All Hazards" radio network, making it your single source for comprehensive weather and emergency information. In conjunction with Federal, State, and Local Emergency Managers and other public officials, it also broadcasts warning and post-event information for all types of hazards – including natural (such as earthquakes or avalanches), environmental (such as chemical releases or oil spills), and public safety (such as AMBER alerts or 911 Telephone outages).
You can also follow Howard County Government on a variety of social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, through email service, and on-line at www.howardcountymd.gov.
Emergency messaging will be done through geographic targeting landlines and cell phones using a system known as the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS.) This is for emergency messaging only, and requires no action to be taken on your part. IPAWS was created through a Presidential Executive Order, which required our nation to have “an effective, reliable, integrated, flexible and comprehensive system to alert and warn the American people in situations of war, terrorist attack, natural disaster or other hazards to public safety and well-being.”
IPAWS only works on cell phones that have wireless emergency alerts (WEA) enabled, to confirm your WEA are enabled please check your service provider’s website (due to the many mobile operating systems in use there are too many options to post here). You can also follow the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) on Facebook, and Twitter.
Understanding HoCo Hazards
Preparedness begins with understanding your local hazards. A hazard is any potential source of harm or difficulty and may be natural or manmade. High-risk hazards have a high likelihood of local occurrence and may result in serious consequences to life safety, property, critical infrastructure, the environment, and the economy.
Risk = Likelihood + Consequence
For detailed information on hazard risk in Howard County please see the following resource or visit our Hazard Information Page:
- Community Hazard Handbook – An overview of local hazards and hazard risk designed for families and businesses in Howard County.
General Preparedness Websites
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency's emergency preparedness campaign contains information on how to prepare your family, community and business.
- The Maryland Department of Emergency Management's website contains information on preparedness, and hazards that affect the state of Maryland.
- The Red Cross website has emergency preparedness planning resources for families, businesses, and schools.
- The Humane Society of the United States has disaster preparedness information related to pets.
Business Preparedness Websites
- The Small Business Administration has resources on how to protect your employees, lessen the financial impact of disasters, and re-open your business quickly to support economic activity in your community.
- FEMA's website Ready Business will assist businesses in developing a preparedness program by providing tools to create a plan that addresses the impact of common hazards.
Maryland Department of Transportation CHART - The CHART program is Maryland's entry into the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) arena. Provides real-time traffic maps, and traffic cameras.
- The National Weather Service's Sterling Office website has forecasts and information on weather safety for the Howard County area.
- The National Hurricane Center offers maps and discussions of hurricane/tropical storm activity.
- The Storm Prediction Center offers maps and discussions of severe thunderstorms and tornado forecasts.
Health Preparedness Websites
- Howard County Health Department Preparedness Info
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website has preparedness information and resources to stay healthy.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website has information about preventing the flu, and caring for those that have it.
- Maryland's Department of Health's Office of Preparedness and Response.