Medical Radio System

Medical Radio System

Buffalo and Erie County, N. Y., have begun operation of the Erie County Medical Emergency Radio System, linking 10 hospitals, 48 ambulances, police and fire departments.

The $160,000 radio system, a very high frequency radio network supplied by General Electric Company, was set up under federal and local grants channeled through the Lakes Area Regional Medical Program. The Federal Communications Commission has approved one VHF radio band for the system’s exclusive use. Approval of a second frequency is pending.

Roger J. Fenlon, coordinator of the Erie County Health Department Bureau of Emergency Health Services, noted that previously ambulance crews had to relay patient information through the ambulance dispatcher. Often phone lines to the hospital were busy and the dispatcher couldn’t get through. He added, “It’s important that there be direct communications from ambulance to hospital. If the hospital medical or nursing staff wants more information on the patient, now they can get it from the ambulance crew.”

The Erie County system consists of mobile units for vehicles, hand-held two-way units, paging receivers and base stations. If funds can be obtained, Fenlon said, the radio system will be expanded to include other hospitals, 40 more ambulances and several community agencies.

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