DHS Awards $2M for Rural Emergency Communications Project

The REMCDP grant was created to work with a public health or medical organization to identify barriers and create solutions for rural emergency communications.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) awarded a $2 million merit-based grant to the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) to improve rural emergency communications.

The DHS Rural Emergency Medical Communications Demonstrations Project (REMCDP) grant was reestablished to work with public health or medical facilities to identify solutions to communication barriers in emergency medical situations. Lessons learned by grant recipients can be shared with similar communities to provide solutions and opportunities for growth.

DHS selected UMMC to receive the grant this year after a one-year grant application process. The funds will be awarded for a two-year performance period, beginning in October 2018.

Grant Provides Additional Emergency Communications Training

UMMC will use the grant funds to continue its First Hands training program, which provides training to first responders across the state in first aid and in the use of the Mississippi Wireless Information Network (MSWIN), a statewide public safety communication platform designed to make connecting with first responders and victims in rural areas easier. MSWIN is a  P-25 700 MHz Land Mobile Radio (LMR)  public safety communication system with 97 percent mobile coverage, reliable even during extreme weather.

The DHS grant will help the university continue the program, as well as fund the development of a “just-in-time” training on LMR communications and an operational format. Grant money will also be used to provide a refresher course to graduates of the First Hands program, and provide the basis for creating First Voice, a companion program for public safety communicators.

Through First Hands, providers learn how to communicate medically-significant information, as well as criteria for air evacuation and landing zone operations, in addition to traditional life-saving applications and skills.

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