Frederick Launches Text Alerts to Enhance Public Safety at Special Events

Frederick County is making it easier for residents to get notified in case of an emergency. The Frederick County Division of Emergency Management announced that Alert Frederick County, the County’s official emergency notification program, now offers an opt-in text service to provide emergency information to attendees of large-scale special events in Frederick County. “We are leveraging technology so the public can stay informed in a way that is easy and convenient to them,” County Executive Jan…

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Maryland Counties Deploy First Responders to Assist Hurricane Victims

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball this week announced the deployment of first responders to assist in the preparation and recovery from Hurricane Dorian. Two Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services personnel, Firefighter Dain Yakich and Firefighter Barry Griffin, and Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits (DILP) Director Bob Frances, are in Florida as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Urban Search & Rescue team, Maryland Task Force 1. “Hurricane Dorian has…

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Facebook Tool Allows Local Governments to Send Emergency Alerts

Facebook is expanding a tool that allows local governments and first responders to communicate time-sensitive and need-to-know information to people on the social media network. The tech giant plans to make the local alert tool available to all eligible Facebook pages in the United States by the end of the year. More than 350 local governments have used local alerts as part of a pilot program Facebook launched in November to communicate everyday emergencies —…

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Federal Grants: Hazard Mitigation Assistance Program

Federal grants for flood and disaster assistance totaling over $400 million are available, in two programs, on a competitive basis. A September 4 webinar will explain details on the application process. FEMA is announcing $410 million in funding is available through two Fiscal Year 2019 Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs: Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) and Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM). These competitive grant programs assist state, tribal, territorial, and local governments in building a culture of preparedness…

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Road Flooded, Power Out, No Cell Coverage? Your County Will Reach You.

Attendees at MACo's Summer Conference engage in a tabletop exercise on emergency communications and hear from a county whose been through the real thing. What if, when disaster hits, it hits in a rural area of your county with spotty cell phone coverage and no internet? That was the scenario that attendees of MACo’s Summer Conference session, Reaching Your Residents When Every Moment Counts tackled. Emergency managers, communications professionals, and others worked together in teams of…

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It’s Not All About Getting High

Drones can do all sorts of things. In the words of one of today’s panelists on the MACo Summer Conference panel, The Underappreciated Upsides of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, a drone program is much like a cannabis business -- it’s not all about getting high. The six panelists from various county government agencies, state government, and the private sector shared many applications for county use, including: Surveying Construction monitoring Media, sharing county news with residents Communications and public…

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Feds Award Maryland $1.7M to Modernize 9-1-1

The U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Transportation last week announced more than $109 million in grants to 34 states and two tribal nations as part of the 911 Grant Program, which will help 9-1-1 call centers upgrade to Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) capabilities. Maryland will receive $1,707,856 to power basic improvements such as providing digital and IP network capabilities to 9-1-1 emergency call centers and assist implementation of advanced mapping systems…

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Howard Announces $8.1M Grant to Repair Damage from 2018 Flash Flood
New Cut Road after severe flooding in 2018 (photo courtesy of Howard County Government)
Howard Announces $8.1M Grant to Repair Damage from 2018 Flash Flood

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball this week announced that the County has received an $8.1 million grant from the National Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) to rebuild the portion of New Cut Road that washed away in the May 2018 Ellicott City flood. The 2018 Ellicott City flood caused one death and resulted in an estimated $20 million worth of damages. In 2016, Ellicott City was ravaged by a flash flood that claimed two lives and caused roughly…

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California Makes New Push for Next Generation 9-1-1

For the past decade, California’s plan to upgrade its antiquated 9-1-1 system has mostly fallen flat. But Governor Gavin Newsom this week detailed a new, permanent funding source to accelerate the state's transition to Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911). NG911 will enable the public to make voice, text, or video calls from any communications device via Internet Protocol-based networks. These capabilities can make public safety both more effective and more responsive. “During my first week in office,…

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