County is getting ready to implement a brand new emergency radio system following main disruptions in 2019


In 2019, on Mother’s Day weekend in Montgomery County, several emergency radio channels went down, hampering public safety communications.

Now the district is preparing to switch to a new system. The move to a new emergency radio system will take place in three phases from January 4, 2021, said Gerry Adcock, manager of radio communication systems for public safety. The county expects the final phase to be completed in February.

The radio system for public safety controls the 911 call center. According to the documents of the council committee, some busy signals lasted more than two minutes on Mother’s Day weekend 2019. There were no major incidents that weekend. At a committee meeting on Thursday, Councilor Gabe Albornoz said the system update was necessary, citing the recent fire in the leisure world in Silver Spring on November 28th.

“Can you imagine what would have happened if the radio system hadn’t worked as it did two years ago on Mother’s Day?” Said Albornoz.

“It would have been catastrophic and we had tragically lost lives, of course, but it could have been so, so, so much worse and so this had to be the priority that it was.” One woman died and 50 residents were displaced as a result of the fire in the senior community. 89-year-old Louise Burrows was found dead in her home, Montgomery County police said. The police suspect no foul play.

The current emergency radio system is around 17 years old and should be replaced in 2009, according to committee documents. Officials say the new system will likely last around 15 years, like similar systems.

about Maryam Shahzad |

Maryam is a reporter for Montgomery Community Media. She graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism. Before that she was an intern at MCM. She can be reached at or on Twitter @maryam_mcm.

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