Effective February 18th, 2015, there will be a gradual roll out of some changes in EMS Radio dispatch processes. The major change will be the routine assignment of a TAC channel to all EMS calls, in the same fashion as Fire calls are assigned a TAC. To improve interoperability, all updates on EMS calls will be provided exclusively on the assigned TAC. This means that, after calling enroute on EMS1, all units should switch to their assigned TAC and remain on the TAC until leaving the scene. The only exception would be if they need to reach EMS Dispatch, in which case, it is necessary to return to EMS1 (i.e., arrival on scene, departing for a hospital, clearing a scene in service, etc). Any communications between EMS units on scene or responding and/or fire units on scene or responding should occur on the assigned TAC. If EMS Dispatch is looking for units responding or on scene, they will switch to the assigned TAC to make contact.
There are multiple reasons for the change, the major one being the continued lack of interoperability between fire and EMS. Currently, updates are being given to EMS on one channel and Fire on another. Both are asking Communications to relay messages rather than talking directly to the other. It is hoped that this will help to reduce redundant messages and get EMS and fire communicating with each other more directly (which is what the 800 system was designed to do). This will have a side benefit of allowing EMS first responders to contact their responding ambulance directly on the assigned TAC without being delayed by (or interrupting) other calls in progress on EMS1. Obviously, there will be bumps in the road as this rolls out. Contact EMS Coordinator Mike McEvoy with questions or concerns.