Wake County (NC) EMS 800Mhz Viper System Procedures

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These procedures are intended to provide an overview of how users will operate with the trunked radio system. It is presented in a question-answer format to address the most common functions and scenarios encountered in the workplace. As the system matures, there will be additions and deletions to these procedures. This document will be updated periodically to reflect any changes to the architecture of the system and to reflect best practices. Comments and questions on the radio system should be directed to agency Chiefs and Supervisors. A discussion database has been established for them to share this feedback with others so that we may learn from each other?s experiences.


ALERT will be the talkgroup (TG) that the 911 Center will use to transmit dispatch specific information. This TG is simulcast on the VHF frequency (154.1900), however communications on this talkgroup will be specific to EMS. This talkgroup will be transmit restricted so it cannot be used to call the dispatch console. You will not hear the two-tone pages on the Alert TG, only the ?alert tone? and subsequent voice dispatch. It is recommended that users have the radios configured to scan certain talkgroups while maintaining the ALERT TG as the priority. This will allow you to hear other activity in the County, but not miss dispatch information.


All communications on the VHF channels currently in use by RESCOM (156.2250) and CENTRAL (154.1900) will be consolidated onto one frequency. This frequency, 154.1900, will become the County Paging frequency. This frequency will become transmit restricted and will not be monitored at the console. By monitoring this frequency, users will hear all tone/voice dispatches for all Fire and EMS agencies on the County Smartzone system. No other traffic will be heard on this frequency. By early 2005, EMS will have a separate frequency for tone/voice paging. The system will be upgrading existing tone and voice pagers so that all pagers in the system are either Motorola Minitor III or IV models. These units are programmable and capable of accepting multiple paging configurations that the new system will be able to execute (i.e. systemwide alerts). EMS pagers will be reprogrammed a second time in early 2005 to accommodate the second VHF channel. The pagers are configured with several different capacities. They will receive calls for the primary agency or unit to which they are assigned. For Wake County EMS units, there is a department page that activates all pagers with one set of tones. There is also a Wake County EMS Systemwide tone for emergency broadcasts. Each Chief Officer also has a unique set of tones in their pager. The tones that activate the pagers are completely new and sound totally different from what you are used to hearing. This complete revamp of the tone code plan was necessary to address the multiple paging needs of the system as well as provide additional capacity for future use. For example, Garner EMS is using only 2 of the 7 sets of tone in the plan for that agency. Future uses are virtually limitless.


The programming for the EMS Minitor pagers is basic. There are four switch positions on the top of the pager to identify the different modes of monitoring. They are as follows: A: Tone alert, selective call B: Tone alert, monitor C: Vibrate alert, selective call D: Vibrate alert, selective call, silent store The pagers will store a single 80-second dispatch message for replay purposes.


When a call is cancelled or the address is updated, the 911 Center will broadcast that information over the VHF channel and the assigned talkgroup. For example, ?All Six Forks EMS units responding to Durant Rd with exception of 1272 disregard the call?. They will also broadcast issues that are related to the safety of responders, for example ?Hopkins and Zebulon units responding to Jack Mitchell Rd, Wake SO advises the scene is not secure?. As EMS primarily responds only on-duty units that have two-way radios, this is not as important an issue as with the fire departments


Certain users in the system will be equipped with alphanumeric pagers to receive dispatch feeds directly from the CAD system. These feeds will be sent to targeted groups based on the dispatch recommendation. For example, all Wendell FD and Wendell EMS alphanumeric pagers would receive information for a call in their jurisdiction, however the remaining pagers in the system would not. The pagers will provide users with the following information when a dispatch is received : o Nature of call o Address of call o Cross street of call o Commonplace of the call o Talkgroup Assignment o Units assigned to call These pagers will function on the County-owned paging system and are not going through a commercial paging provider (i.e. Arch). The paging system will use the old VHF Tac 2 for communications. This will add a high degree of reliability and speed to the system, however it will limit the coverage range to primarily Wake and surrounding Counties. Each pager will have a Digital ID number so that it can be used as a numeric or alphanumeric pager in addition to dispatching. Wake County will provide those numbers and information for sending pages to those units through one of the paging software applications (i.e. Air Messenger Pro) so that departments can do local messaging.


The radio system has provided each response unit in CAD with a Direct Entry Keyboard (DEK) device, known to some as ?status buttons?. These devices will allow users to send certain function changes directly to the CAD system, allowing for more accurate recording of status changes by field units. It is very important that the responding unit is the same unit that was dispatched. If not, the DEK unit will not work. The DEK device is the primary medium for all status changes in the CAD system, with the exception of a unit clearing an incident. In order for supervisory personnel to monitor the activity of units in their jurisdiction, Wake County will maintain users executing voice status changes in coordination with the DEK device buttons. That process will take place as follows: When a unit is dispatched to a call, they will check enroute on the appropriate TG ? for EMS, this will predominately be DISP_1. The Telecommunicator will not acknowledge this voice communication. At the same time, the user will depress the button (STS1) identified as sending the ?Enroute? command directly to the CAD system. The DEK device will only be active for commands related to an incident when that specific unit has been dispatched and assigned to a call. For example, if Central dispatches Knightdale 1372 to an MVC call and the personnel decide to also respond with 1373, they will need to contact the Telecommunicator with a preamble, on the assigned TG or DISP1 and add themselves to the call. This will result in CAD dispatching 1373 to the call. Only after the CAD has processed that addition will the DEK device be operational. If 1373 responds on the call, checks enroute on the assigned TG, and fails to properly contact the Telecommunicator to have them added to the call, the CAD will not know they are on a call and will dispatch them to any other calls for which they are recommended. The CAD system is able to process a unit marking out-of-service when they are not assigned to a call. This would be used whenever the unit is out of its response area, such as getting fuel. When not assigned to an incident in CAD, the unit will be able to mark themselves back in- service. The DEK device will be used to indicate all primary status changes, as permissible within the CAD system. For EMS this will include: o STS1: Enroute o STS2: On-Scene o STS3: Enroute to Hospital o STS4: Arrived at Hospital o STS5: In-Service o STS6: Out-of-Service o STS7: Arrived Cover o STS8: Note: Should the enroute button not be activated on the DEK box within 90 seconds of dispatch, the CAD will recommend and dispatch another unit to the call.


Each mobile radio has a 6-digit identification number, known as the Mobile ID number. Each agency Chief has a list of those ID numbers for each vehicle in their fleet. CAD uses this number as the address from which it will accept information specific to a unit in the system. CAD has been configured with each initial Mobile ID for each unit it can dispatch. This will be dynamic, as EMS-1 will occasionally need to change ambulances. For any period greater than 8 hours, Rescom will process a configuration change for the Mobile ID number. To make the change, the following steps must be followed: ? Call RESCOM via telephone and speak to the Shift Supervisor ? Provide them the response unit number (i.e. EMS-1) and the new Mobile ID number ? RESCOM will contact the response unit on DISP_1 once the change has been made in CAD For units that will be out-of-service less than 8 hours , or those that are awaiting the change process to be completed by the Rescom Supervisor, the following will need to take place when they are dispatched: ? Acknowledge the dispatch on DISP_1 (after a preamble) and advise the telecommunicator ?our MDT is out-of-service and you will need to maintain our times?. This will be their indicator to complete your timestamps on this incident. ? For every status change, you will need to contact Rescom on the appropriate TG, with a preamble, and announce the status change.


The application of the radio system will differ for EMS users based on whether or not they are dispatched with a County fire unit. Please note that all possible status changes should be accomplished via the mobile status heads. Rescom/Central will not be routinely acknowledging status changes on the radio. It will be up to the responding units to use the status heads for status changes times. Operational sequences are divided into two areas, based on the nature of the incident. Routine Incidents normally involve a single-ambulance response to a Medical event. Tac Incidents involve Fire and EMS for joint-nature responses (i.e. structure fires or cardiac arrests). The Tac Incidents will receive the assignment of a Public Safety Tac Channel (Tac 9 through 30) in the initial dispatch. All units assigned to this call will use this as their primary communications TG for the duration of the event. The following outlines a normal progression for each: EMS Dispatch ? Routine Incident o Alert Tone and Voice Dispatch is heard on ALERT TG o Dispatched units switch to DISP1, acknowledge call and check enroute (no acknowledgment from telecommunicator) with STS1 o Arrival and Size-Up on DISP1 with STS2 o Scene Operations are conducted on DISP1, unless the unit requests that an Ops TG be assigned (i.e. additional EMS resources on-scene dictate alternate TG) o Units checks enroute to hospital, with STS3, or clears call on DISP1 o Patient communications on destination hospital TG o Units checks out at hospital on DISP1 with STS4 o Unit clears call on DISP1 o Units switch back to ALERT TG for additional calls EMS Dispatch ? Tac Incident o Alert Tone and Voice Dispatch is heard on ALERT TG, including Tac Channel assignment o Dispatched units switch to assigned Tac Channel, acknowledge call and check enroute (no acknowledgment from telecommunicator) with STS1 o Arrival and Size-Up on Tac Channel, with STS2 o Scene Operations are conducted on Tac Channel, unless the Dept requests that additional Ops TG be assigned o Units checks enroute to hospital, with STS4, or clears call on Tac Channel with telecommunicator o Patient communications on destination hospital TG o Units checks out at hospital on DISP1, with STS4 o Unit clears call on DISP1 o Units switch back to ALERT TG for additional calls Other Scenarios: o For events to which Fire and EMS are dispatched, the CAD will assign a Public Safety Tac (Tac 9 through 30) TG. All units dispatched to that call will share that TG throughout the event o When using a PS Tac TG, you will refer to the telecommunicator as the name of the Talkgroup. For example, TAC12 ? this is EMS-5. o When using a PS Tac TG, the last unit clearing the scene will be responsible for contacting the Telecommunicator and clearing the TG. This will put the PS Tac TG it back in the queue for future assignments by the CAD system o Should one unit be remaining on the scene, such as awaiting a utility or law enforcement, it is recommended that the PS Tac TG be cleared with the Telecommunicator; it should be noted to the Telecommunicator that some one is remaining on the scene, therefore not returning that unit to service, and that they will be moving their communications to DISP1. For example using PS Tac9, ?Tac9 from EMS203? (await acknowledgement from console); all EMS units are clear from this call, EMS203 is remaining on-scene for SHP; EMS203 will be switching to DISP1; Clear PS Tac 9?


In the event that EMS Command declares an MCI, the following talkgroups will be designated for the various functions: Tac 24= Command Tac 25= Fire Operations Tac 26= Staging Sector Tac 27= Triage Sector Tac 28= Extrication Sector Tac 29= Treatment Sector Tac 30= Transportation Sector Each Sector Officer will coordinate communications for their area on the assigned talkgroup. They will be the only personnel contacting EMS or Fire Command on the Command TGs. Units will contact Staging when arriving at the scene and will use this TG for all assignments when deployed. Depending upon deployment assignment, you will utilize the appropriate TG for your unit. When out-of-county units are requested, the appropriate NPSPAC and/or VHF channels will be patched into Tac 26 so that those units can contact the Staging


When a unit hears another unit dispatched on the ALERT TG and they are going to take that call in their place, they should switch to DISP1 (or the assigned Tac Channel for Tac Incidents) and contact the Telecommunicator. When acknowledged, they should indicate that they are doing a call swap with the unit originally assigned to the call. If a different agency is now responding to the call, the Telecommunicator will reprocess and redispatch the call. This will send the necessary information on the incident to the pagers of the responding unit. The calls will with then proceed as detailed above. Call swaps are permitted only under situations that will enhance the response to the scene.


When an incident commander determines that the TG assigned to the incident (either DISP1 or a Tac Channel) is not sufficient for effective operations, that person may expand the TG assignment for the event. If a PS Tac Channel was assigned by the CAD for the incident, it will remain as the Prime TG for the incident, otherwise DISP1 will remain the Prime TG. o The IC should contact the Telecommunicator on the Prime TG. For example, ?Tac10 from Capital Blvd Command (await acknowledgement from console); assign an additional Ops Channel to the Capital Blvd Incident?. Please note the 911 Center console will only continue to monitor the Prime TG. o If a PS Tac were assigned at dispatch, this would allow an IC to keep the Prime TG for Scene Operations and utilize the other requested TGs for functions such as Staging, etc. By maintaining this Prime TG, units actively engaged in operations will not have to change their radios. o It is not permissible to use simply use additional PS Tac TGs, as they are controlled by the CAD and not assignable otherwise. For this reason, Ops TGs are used to supplement Prime TGs. To keep up with what is being used, their use should be requested through the Rescom telecommunicator o For larger scale incidents, the Tri-Net Mutual Aid Talkgroups should be implemented instead of Fire or EMS Ops in this situation. o When the incident is cleared, the last unit should clear all TGs assigned to the call with the Telecommunicator on DISP1.


There has been Interoperability solutions developed for those Counties surrounding Wake to assure seamless communications. There remains to be completed additional testing with these interoperability solutions. Several counties are enhancing their NPS capabilities, which will enhance these plans. For responses into Johnston County: Johnston County units have NPSPAC-4 in their radios. This repeater is located in Zebulon and can be patched, upon request, by Rescom into the EMS Operational TG. EMS units can also switch to this TG on their radios and have direct communications with Johnston Co units. For responses into Harnett County: Harnett County units have NPSPAC-2 in their radios. This repeater is located at Willow Springs and can be patched, upon request, by Rescom into the EMS Operational TG. EMS units can also switch to this TG on their radios and have direct communications with Harnett Co units. For responses into Durham County: Durham County units have all the Tri-Net Mutual Aid TGs programmed into their radios. The Durham County TGs are Mutual Aid 6 through 10. For responses into Chatham, Granville, Franklin, Nash, and Wilson Counties: These counties utilize State Fire (154.2800) as a fireground/scene operations channel. There are State Fire bases installed at the North, South, and Little River tower sites to assist with interoperability with these counties. This patch must be requested through Rescom when responding into these counties.


o In keeping with the intent of the National Incident Management System, the unit being called should be spoken before the unit calling. For example, ?Rescom from EMS3?, ?Tac12, this is Garner 873?, etc. are all acceptable. o Telecommunicators will not acknowledge by voice any communications without a preamble, such as ?Tac22 from 1271?. By merely saying ?1171 enroute?, you will not be acknowledged. A key rule to the system is ?No Preamble, No Response? o The last unit clearing a scene will be the one responsible for contacting the Telecommunicator and clearing the assigned TG for the event. o Telecommunicators will only be monitoring PS Tac TGs that are assigned to an event. The 911 Center will constantly monitor the DISP1 TGs.


For any routine requests from either a county fire unit or an ambulance to the 911 Center, utilize DISP1. Rescom will monitor this TG at all times.


DISP1 will be the TG that communications between users will be initiated upon. Once the party you are seeking has been reached, you will select an alternate TG to continue your communications. The ADMIN TGs are intended for this purpose. For example, ?961 to 471 (wait for acknowledgement); Switch to ADMIN South?. They would then each switch their radios to the ADMIN South TG and continue their conversation. The Admin TGs are arranged on a geographical basis. The unit initiating the call, in this past example 961, would defer this conversation to their area Admin TG. The Admin TG for a given area would also probably be included in the scan list for radios in that area. This would allow units in that area to call each other directly on the appropriate Admin TG, minimizing communications on DISP1. Additionally, all Model III radios have the ability to Page all users on the system via their individual Radio ID number. When you receive a page to your unit, you should switch to WAKECOM TG to acknowledge the page. The WAKECOM TG will be known as the ?Meet Me? TG. From the WAKECOM TG, users can move their communications to any other non-operational TG, such as the Admin TGs, to continue the conversation. For example, a medic on EMS-4 receives a ?Page Received? message on a portable radio. He would switch to the WAKECOM TG and say ?Unit paging EMS4?. That unit would then identify themselves and advises another TG to move to ? ?EMS-4, this is 1262; Switch to ADMIN North?. Model III radios also have the ability to create Private Calls between radios on the system. This should be used very sparingly due to the impact Private Calls have on system resources for regular communications. Utilization of this feature is monitored and the System Manager will address improper use.


On the EMS portable radios, a ?hot button? feature has been enabled. This will automatically open the microphone on the radio for 10 seconds after the button is pushed. The example below details the procedures for EMS. The Emergency Buttons should not be used except in true emergencies, especially situations where voice communications is not possible. When an Emergency Button is activated all activity stops in the 911 Center until the situation is clear. For EMS, when the Emergency Button is depressed on a radio, several things happen at the same time. First, the radio is automatically moved from whatever TG the unit is selected to and switched the EMS EMERGENCY TG. This TG is position 16 on all Wake County Radio System Zones. The user does not need to touch the radio to switch to the Emergency TG. The radio will also automatically activate the Press to Talk button, allowing the user 10 seconds to broadcast any information about the emergency by simply speaking out loud. At the same time, an alarm is received on all consoles in the 911 center that have the EMS TGs active. This is at a minimum all those in the Fire/EMS area and the Telecommunications Supervisor. The alarm preempts other traffic on their console and immediately brings up the Emergency TG. The radio traffic broadcast via the ?hot mike? will be heard on these consoles. Only radios in the system that are monitoring the Emergency TG will hear those communications. After the 10 seconds is up, a dispatcher will contact the radio activating the emergency button to confirm their status. The alias for that radio on the system will identify the user. If they cannot be reached, the Telecommunicator will send additional resources to their last known location to assess the situation. The Telecommunicator will ask you ?advise your status?? on the Emergency TG. They will attempt to contact you 3 times prior to sending resources to check on your welfare. Should the activation be confirmed to be accidental, the user will have to reset the emergency button and the Telecommunicator will cancel the emergency activation. When an emergency is activated, the radios in the system will indicate that an emergency has been declared. If your radio remained on the TG to which it was set, and not the EMER TG, then you were not the activator. No action is necessary on your part.


FIRECOM: Common TG in all FD radios for systemwide administrative applications; EMSCOM: Common TG in all EMS radios for systemwide administrative applications EMS and FD NORTH/SOUTH/EAST/WEST: Administrative and non- operational communications between or within departments FD TA2: 700MHz simplex talkgroup to be used on scenes where 800MHz penetration into buildings is less than useable EMS TA3: 700MHz simplex talkgroup to be used on scenes where 800MHz penetration into buildings is less than useable VR TA4: 700MHz simplex talkgroup to be used on scenes where 800MHz penetration into buildings is less than useable and a FutureCom unit is operating FIRE or EMS DISP2: Alternate dispatch TG for use in high-traffic scenarios; for example, should severe weather impact a region of Wake County particularly hard, the 911 center could move all traffic for those areas to this alternate channel WAKECOM: talkgroup in all radios affiliated with the Wake County Smartzone system ? for additional interoperability HOSPCOM: interhospital communications, especially useful in disaster coordination ERCONF1: For non-patient related communications with a hospital(s), especially useful in disaster coordination HELO1: For landing zone operations RAL FIRE: two-way patch with Raleigh FD Headquarters South VHF S_OPS 1-4: Digital talkgroups for special events, training sessions, etc. Should contact DISP1 to notify them of it being used and when clear EVENT 1-4: Analog talkgroups for special events, training sessions, etc. Should contact DISP1 to notify them of it being used and when clear HAZMAT: on-scene hazardous materials team operations and/or training; will likely be used in cooperation with PS Tac Channel assigned to event FDTRN 1-2: simplex channels for close proximity training evolutions

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