Communications | Part One


The EMS Team communicates via written, electronic and verbal means with:

  • Callers and dispatch center
  • Among the EMTs
  • Back up units
  • Emergency Department
  • EMS System Admin
  • Public safety units
  • Disaster networks

Medium for messages

  • Face to face
  • Radio or phone
  • Leaving voice mail
  • Write a note
  • Email
  • Fax
  • Pagers with text

Verbal Communications

Semantics: meaning of words. Unambiguous is best. Codes, symbols and acronyms must be standardized.

Noise: anything that interferes with communication. Use feedback and confirm the message was received

Telephones: use internally, externally, routine and emergency

Advanced 911 systems: include a visual display of caller’s phone # and address

Dedicated land lines: continuous direct connection from one location to another, means no busy signals

Cellular phones: excellent reception and better continuity in transmission than typical radios. Easy to use and cost is decreasing. Used at:

  • Dispatch
  • On scene
  • Scene to hospital
  • Delivery of on-line medical direction
  • 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECGs)
  • Faxes and computer data

Radios: primary means of communication between EMS teams and dispatch. Standard 25 kHz.

Radio system consists of:

  • Base station : most powerful, 80-150 watts
  • Mobile radios : mounted on vehicles, 20-50 watts, 10-15 miles, multiple channels
  • Portable radios : handheld 1-5 watts, multiple channels
  • All of the above receive and transmit, so called transceivers


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