The State of Florida’s Statewide EMS Communications Plan demonstrates how to balance a statewide EMS plan’s use of 800 MHz and the UHF national EMS MED channels.
In 1975, the first EMS Communications Plan was implemented. In conjunction with federal funding made available from 1973 through 1981 by Congress through the EMS Systems Act, the first Plan enabled implementation of many EMS radio systems throughout the state in the UHF radio frequency band. Experience gained during the intervening years, changes in technological approaches, and changes in EMS operational needs have necessitated EMS Communications Plan revisions. The Plan is kept current through an active change program.
Through the Plan, and funding made available through the State EMS Grants Program, new directions and enhancements in the statewide EMS telecommunications system have been established. The Plan is organized into two volumes. Volume I contains the general, administrative, and regulatory information needed by the managers of organizations involved in EMS operations. It further defines the broad concepts and goals of EMS communications within Florida. Volume II contains the statewide radio frequency allocations as well as operational information for day-to-day EMS communications system operations. Volume II is formatted as a field manual to be carried as a standard reference on each permitted vehicle, either in hardcopy or electronic format.
The plan includes several important components to maximize interoperability while maintaining cost. These include:
1) The State of Florida, Division of Communications, has to approve all EMS radio systems and frequencies and provide concurrence letters to the FCC.
2) The plan requires monitoring of certain UHF MED Channels in the dispatch center, at hospitals, and in all ambulances.
3) If a County is operating exclusively on 800 MHz trunked frequencies, agencies are not required to put a separate UHF radio in each vehicle, but the dispatch center has to have UHF base station equipment and monitor MED 8 in order to patch.
4) If an agency operating on 800 MHz channels has designated Strike Team ambulances that provide mutual aid out of your area, then the agency must install a UHF mobile radio to access MED Channels.
5) MED 8 is the designated statewide hailing channel, and includes “direct mode” travel channel for ambulances and a “direct mode” base station to base station simplex frequency for hospital to hospital coordination.
6) DTMF codes are used to allow ambulances to alert specific hospitals, or to alert a county, as may be necessary (to give a patient report or to call for assistance if you are traveling through a county and break down).
Below is the link for the Plan. http://www.dms.myflorida.com/content/download/78159/455346/version/1/file/EMS+Communications+Plan,+Volume+1+-+4th+Edition.pdf