Guideline 1-400 - EMS Communications

CMH EMS & MIH Protocols




Medical personnel shall communicate to provide the best patient care and patient safety possible.


The purpose of this guideline is to assist staff in communicating with each other to provide exceptional patient care with an emphasis on patient safety.


  1. Radio and emergency communications shall be made in a NIMS-compliant manner.
    1. Ambulances shall be named and numbered to reduce confusion:
      1. "Rescue" refers to a non-transport capable vehicle. This vehicle can have any combination of BLS, ALS, and leadership staff on board and can perform as a quick response vehicle, support vehicle, and/or command vehicle.
      2. "Squad" refers to a BLS-level ambulance capable of transporting a patient. NIMS type 3 or 4 ambulance.
      3. "Medic" refers to an ALS-level ambulance capable of transporting a patient. NIMS type 1 or 2 ambulance.
      4. "Ops" refers to an ALS-level ambulance with an Ambulance Strike Team Leader on board. This ambulance can be referred to as a command vehicle in addition to transport ambulance.
      5. Numbering shall be by primary BEMS license assignment:
        1. 01 through 09: Dunnegan Critical Care Unit (Polk and Hickory Counties).
        2. 10 through 19: Cedar County Ambulance District (Cedar County).
        3. 20 through 29: Sac Osage Hospital (St Clair County).
  2. Official communication between ambulance staff members should follow the chain of command outlined in Guideline 1-400-12 - Staff Communication Paths. This guideline is not meant to limit communication, only serve as a guide. There is no such thing as too much communication, regardless of the format or path.
  3. Medical control contact should follow Guideline 1-400-48 - Medical Control.
  4. While on duty, ambulance staff shall carry a hand-held radio.
  5. Required radio communications by ambulance crews: Note, utilization of the phone for the following communications is discouraged.
    1. Start of shift check in within 15 minutes of shift start. This communication shall include vehicle assignment and crew names.
    2. While available for a call, each time a county line is crossed into or out of Polk, Hickory, Cedar, or St Clair counties. Contact both dispatch centers indicating you are leaving one and entering the other and available for call.
      1. Additionally, when leaving Springfield, contact Polk Dispatch advising location and available.
      2. If ambulance is available and mobile farther than usual from the station, advise dispatch of location and availability. Crew members must also stay together during their shift to allow for immediate response.
    3. En route to call.
    4. Unplanned stops during response or transporting.
    5. On scene at scene.
    6. Leaving the scene. If transporting, include mileage and destination facility.
    7. Arrive at destination, if applicable. Include destination mileage.
    8. Within 30 minutes of end of shift, crew may advise "EOS" to be moved to the bottom of the rotation and use this time for EOS duties.
    9. Out of service at the end of shift. If a call is pending, crews may be held by CMH PHS leadership for up to an hour to provide coverage.
  6. When dispatched to an emergency call, crews will respond without dispute. A grievance may be filed with leadership at a later time.
  7. ER radio reports should be attempted starting with at least a 15-minute ETA.
  8. Patient handoff reports (i.e. from first responders to ambulance crew or from ambulance crew to ER staff) should follow Guideline 1-400-72 - Patient Handoff Report.


Change Log:

DateLink to
Description of change
01/29/14pdfAdded comment if med control cannot be contacted from CMH policies.
12/12/14pdfChanged phone number for Golden Valley. Changed name for Mercy Joplin Psych. Removed Sac-Osage.
11/17/15pdfAdded PRC exception to rule that only paramedics can obtain medical control. Added medical control clarification for EMH vs CMH ambulances.
12/04/15pdfModified Medical control SHALL be provided by receiving hospital to is preferred to.
08/24/18pdfAdded comment that the sending physician can also be consulted for medical control orders.
11/27/19pdfAdded locations for 15 min ETA to CMH for radio reports.
04/04/20pdfAdded content (without substantive modification) from old Section 6-010 - Acquisition of Medical Control.
10/07/20Renamed all policies to guidelines.
11/10/20pdfAdded information from internal memo from Sarah Newell to Polk County Dispatchers dated 10/26/2016.
02/26/21pdfChanged name from Communications to Ambulance Communications. Moved Medical control section to Guideline 1-400-48. Added links to Guidelines 1-400-12. 1-400-48, and 1-400-72.
02/26/21pdfAdded content from Polk Dispatch memos dated 10/6/17, 02/25/20, 11/05/18, 6/19/18, and 10/19/17. Added content from CMH Policy PHS01-35 (Ambulance Dispatch).
06/05/21pdfMoved to

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