A reliable and effective communications system is vitally important to the accomplishment of the emergency radio communications mission. The objective of this procedure is to provide:

  • Examples of radio communications,
  • information,
  • guidelines, and
  • directives

    that will ensure rapid and efficient communications for the emergency radio communications.

    The manner in which emergency radio communications operations are handled is often a measure of the efficiency of an organization and the attitude of its individuals. Observing simple basic rules will expedite professional message handling and improve working relationships among all EMR Radio Team Communications .

    Application of general guidelines outlined here will lead to professional EMR radio performance.

  • Listen before transmitting.
    To make certain the channels are clear and organize your thoughts before transmitting.

  • Keep all transmissions brief and to the point.
    Avoid longwinded descriptions and unnecessary repetition. Accuracy, brevity, and speed are all important; however, they should be considered in that order.

  • Speak distinctly and pronounce words carefully.
    Speak at a moderate speed using your conversational tone of voice with emphasis and rhythm. A message should be spoken by phrases, not one word at a time.

  • When using a portable/mobile radio.
    Hold the microphone about one inch from your lips, press the microphone button down firmly and then speak slowly and clearly across the mouthpiece in a normal voice.

  • Different radios require varying amounts of warm up time.
    Be aware of this and allow for the radio to stabilize before attempting to transmit.

  • Avoid transmitting.
    When audible emergency warning devices are operating.

  • Use official titles and authorized apparatus designations in all transmissions.
    Do not use nicknames or first names.

  • During all radio operations, remain cordial and calm.
    Words or voice inflections which reflect an individuals irritation, disgust or sarcasm are not to be used. Remember, your conduct on the radio reflects your entire emergency management professionalism.

  • No one emergency services or emergency should overrun the radio.
    Remember, there can be any number of emergencies going on at one time.

  • Do not monopolize the airtime.
    With unnecessary transmissions.

  • Do not use preliminary calls simply to establish contact with dispatch.
    When advising that a unit is responding, at scene, or in service, identify yourself and give your message in a single transmission.

  • The use of thanks, please.
    Including other expressions of courtesy are unnecessary and should not be used.

  • All communications
    Shall be clear and to the point.

  • Portable radios.
    Issued for all front-line EMR Team at every incident position. Emergency Radio Operator Members should carry their assigned portable radio at all times while operating at incidents.

  • After an alert is received at EMS Command Center, all personnel on requested apparatus shall respond based on normal protocol. Emergency Radio Communications Officers in non-alerted stations shall remain diligent to listen to the incident in case the situation changes or circumstances necessitate additional apparatus to respond. Dispatched units shall be recommended based on call type, manpower, and location of the incident. The RFD will respond to any emergency situation which threatens life, property or the environment.

    In cases where the EMR Team is not the appropriate agency or is not capable of delivering the needed assistance, the Emergency Radio Communications Officer shall ensure the appropriate provider is notified. If circumstances cause the EMR Team to respond mistakenly into another jurisdiction, the EMS Team will send at least one investigative EMR Team until response by the appropriate agency is confirmed and our assistance is not needed.

    Upon notification of an alarm by EMS Command Center, the EMR Team Officer shall ensure all information is received and understood. If information is unclear, the EMR Team Officer should clarify information with Dispatch.

    Radio emergency communication shall be received from sender using the following model:

  • Request to initiate communications and determine that the intended receiver is listening.

  • Transmit the message or order concisely in clear text.

  • Receive feedback from the receiver to ensure the message was received and understood.

  • Confirm that the message or order was understood; if not, correct and clarify the message.

    Emergency Radio Officers shall be responsible for normal communication on the radio and "mobile data computer/MDC". If an EMR Team is equipped with an MDC, status changes shall occur silently. The following information shall be transmitted to dispatch on all incidents:

  • a. Responding (EMR-MDC only on equipped units)

    b. On scene (EMR-MDC on equipped units and voice)

    c. In service (EMR-MDC on equipped units and voice)

    d. Transporting (EMR-MDC only on equipped units)

    e. At Destination (EMR-MDC only on equipped units)

    f. Out of Service (EMR-MDC on equipped units and voice)

    g. On Air (EMR-MDC only on equipped units)

    a. Scene size up

    b. Personnel Accountability Reports

    c. On-going scene evaluation (sustained incidents)

    a. Activation of additional alarms

    b. Mutual aid

    c. Fire Investigators (Fire Marshals Office, Fire Investigation Team)

    d. Utility representatives

    e. Law enforcement

    a. Situation under control (fire incidents only)

    b. Fire out (fire incidents only)

    c. Patient(s) extricated

    When receiving an alarm from EMS Command Center, the address and pertinent information will be provided two different times from dispatch. Because of the repetition of information, it is not necessary for units to copy or repeat the information once responding. Instead, units should only repeat information they need to clarify.

    When calling other units or EMR Teams, the format Me to You should be used. This format identifies the calling party first and then the unit wishing to be contacted. For example, if Station 1 wanted to contact Medic 1 they would say:

    EMERGENCY RADIO OPERATOR 1: EMR Team to EMR-Medic 1 MEDIC 1: Medic 1, go ahead

    Terminology Definition Example
    Did Not Copy Signal received is not clear Truck 1 to Station 1, I DID
    (EMR Team or Unit Team) Acknowledge message received Engine 2 COPIES, cancel
    copies the call”
    “Affirmative” Yes “Engine 3, AFFIRMATIVE”
    “Negative” No “Engine 4 to Command,
    “Responding” En route to assigned emergency “Rescue 5 is
    “Out of Service” Indicates a unit or company is not able to “Truck 5 is OUT OF
    respond for either mechanical or SERVICE”
    manpower reasons
    “On Air” Indicates a unit is “In Service” but intends “Medic 3 is ON AIR”
    to be out of the station on official business,
    such as to the fuel pumps or grocery store
    “In Service” Indicates a unit is able to respond to “Battalion 1 IN SERVICE”
    “Stand-By” Order for a unit or company to remain “Engine 2 to Engine 7,
    intact and ready for assignment STAND-BY for now”
    “On Scene” Indicates a unit has arrived at an assigned “Engine 6 is ON SCENE…”
    “In Quarters” Indicates a unit is back at the station “Engine 2 IN QUARTERS”
    “Primary All Clear” Used to indicate initial search for victims inside structure is complete and no victims were located “Main Street Command to dispatch, we have a PRIMARY ALL CLEAR”
    “Secondary All Clear” Used to indicate that a final, more thorough “Main Street Command to
    search for victims is complete and no dispatch, we have a
    victims were located SECONDARY ALL CLEAR”
    “Situation Under Indicates that incident stabilization has “Main Street Command to
    Control” occurred dispatch, SITUATION
    Fire Out Indicates final extinguishment of fire is ;Main Street Command to
    complete and all operations, except dispatch, FIRE OUT
    investigation, are finished
    “Staging or Staged” Placement of apparatus or personnel for deployment in either Level 1 or Level 2 fashion “Medic 7 is STAGED at 400 North D Street”
    “Return to Service” Directed towards apparatus that are not needed at an incident scene and can return to quarters “Main Street Command to Engine 4, you can RETURN TO SERVICE”

    When dispatching units to emergency incidents, EMS Command Center will utilize a two tier approach to dispatching. The tiered approach will allow EMR Teams ample opportunity to copy and utilize the available information for any particular emergency incident.

    The first phase of dispatching is the primary dispatch. The primary dispatch is handled through a computer generated voice system called Location. Locution provides the initial dispatch and alert tones for apparatus. Location will provide the following information

  • Alert tone specific with the classification of the emergency

  • Units dispatched to the call

  • Call type with EMR Team Equipment dispatch determinant code

  • Location of the emergency with the city or venue if it is outside of EMR Team Area

  • The business name

  • Cross streets

  • Map Page

  • If Location is inoperable, a dispatcher will conduct the primary dispatch by activating the alert #2 on the dispatch console for a total of five/5 consecutive beeps. The primary dispatch should give the following information (in order):

  • Unit(s) to respond

  • Type of call (and medical subset, if applicable)

  • Address of the emergency, repeated twice

  • Map Page

  • The format for the dispatcher generated primary dispatch will be:

    (Unit), (calltype), (address), (address repeated), Map Page (4-digit number)

    For example a medical emergency occurring at 101 South Main Street requiring the response of Medic 1 would receive a primary dispatch of:

    Medic 1, medical emergency breathing problems, one-oh-one south Main Street, one-zero-one south Main Street, map page one-zero-zero-two

    The secondary dispatch is the final phase of the radio dispatch process. This occurs after all units recommended for the incident transmit that they are responding on the MDC or radio. The secondary dispatch provides the same information as the primary dispatch, with extra information on the call. The secondary dispatch should give the following information (in order):

  • Unit(s) to respond

  • Type of call (and medical subset, if applicable)

  • Address of the emergency, repeated twice

  • Patient information (Age, Sex, Chief Complaint, and whether the patient is conscious and breathing) or information on the emergency call

  • Map Page

  • The format for the secondary dispatch will be:

    (Unit), (calltype), (address), (address repeated),( additional information), Map Page (#)

    For example a medical emergency occurring at 101 South Main Street requiring the response of Medic 1 would receive a secondary dispatch of:

    Medic 1, medical emergency breathing problems, one-oh-one south Main Street, one-zero-one south Main Street, eighty seven year old female, conscious and breathing, map page one-zero-zero-two”

    For example a house fire occurring at 101 South Main Street requiring the response of Engine 2, Engine 7, Truck 1, Medic 1 and Battalion 1 would receive a secondary dispatch of:

    “Engine 2, Engine 7, Truck 1, Medic 1, and Battalion 1, house fire, one-oh-one south Main Street, one-zero-one south main Street, fire in the kitchen, Map Page one-zero-zero-two”

    The Emergecy Radio Operators uses a UHF Radios three site communications network. Two sites, one located at EMS Station and the other at the Police Station, are capable of transmitting and receiving. Another site located is a &repeater site that helps boost the signals of lower wattage transmissions when units are operating in rural areas. All EMS radios contain a wide variety of other channels for neighboring cities.

    EMR Teams should keep radios on aprpriate channel, labeled as in the radio, when they are in service and available for assignments. EMR Tean Operating Officer at incidents may move to designated channels as specified below:

    Channel EMR Teams Officer, MAIN DISPATCH This channel is the designated channel for alerts and status changes. It serves as the primary dispatch channel and should be kept clear for emergency incidents whenever possible. Communications that should be conducted on EMS:

  • EMR Team status changes

  • Arrival and scene size up (Unless assigned to another channel)

  • Requests for additional resources or public safety agencies (Unless assigned to another channel)

  • Information regarding limitation or hazards while responding

  • Channel EMR TACTICAL 1: This channel is the designated channel for non-emergency communication with dispatch and between units. It should be used whenever possible to eliminate the possibility of delaying emergency traffic on EMR Team. Communications that should be conducted on Tactical 1 include:

  • Non-emergency traffic (truck to truck or truck to dispatch)

  • Radio checks

  • Requests for additional information on incidents in non-urgent situations

  • Directions for rural addresses

  • 1st Alarm assignments

  • Channel TACTICAL 2: This channel is the designated channel for large scale incident operations. EM Incident at the 1st alarm level and above can be moved to this channel under the authority of the highest ranking offer assigned or responding to an incident. The ranking officer responding to an incident may ask for companies to switch to Tactical 2 after the second dispatch is read. This channel is monitored by dispatchers.

    When transporting patients to emergency care facilities, ambulances will utilize the MDC for transmission of “transporting” and “at destination” status.

    Because of the hazardous work that is done on emergency incident scenes, common terminology and standardized protocols are necessary to ensure operations run in an efficient and effective manner.

    All EMS ground communications will conform to the latest NIMS recommendations, which include the following:

    Geographical Designations:

    Each exterior side of a structure should be given a designation:

    Side Alpha Address side of the structure

    Side Bravo Left side of the structure (clockwise from the Adam Side)

    Side Charlie Rear of Structure (opposite of the Adam Side) Side Delta Right side of the structure

    Tactical efforts in or on a structure shall be designated by the location:

    Division 1 1st Floor

    Division 2, etc 2nd Floor and above

    Roof Division Roof

    Basement Division Basement

    Division Baker Baker Side of the Structure

    Functional Designations:

    Although there are endless varieties of functional designations for use on the EMS ground, the following are the most commonly assigned functional groups:

  • EMR Team Attack
  • Investigation
  • Ventilation
  • Search and Rescue
  • Water Supply
  • Lobby Control
  • Rapid Intervention
  • Exposure Protection

    Wildland Designations:

    Flanks of the EMR Team shall be referred to as divisions with the cardinal direction as the descriptor.

    Example: West Division, East Division, etc



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