The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) supports and promotes communications capabilities used by emergency responders and government officials across the country. In its efforts to advance interoperability, OEC develops the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP), which is the Nation’s strategic plan that establishes goals, objectives, and actions to enhance and improve interoperable and operable emergency communications. The 2014 NECP recognizes the broader nature of emergency communications, which includes interoperable communications for emergency medical personnel.
To aid in 2014 NECP implementation, Congress authorized OEC to establish a demonstration project that leverages existing technologies and engages non-medical professionals to help establish or sustain statewide medical communications systems and utilize existing infrastructure to improve the delivery of rural medical care. In 2016, OEC established the Rural Emergency Medical Communications Demonstration Project (REMCDP) to work with a public health or medical facility to examine communications barriers and identify solutions that enhance existing emergency communications infrastructure. Following a competitive selection process, DHS awarded $2,000,000 to the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) for its First Hands Program in September 2016.
In recognition of continued NECP development projects, Congress authorized a second round of REMCDP funding. After a merit review process, DHS awarded $2,000,000 to UMMC to expand its First Hands Program during the two-year period of performance beginning October 1, 2018. UMMC will use REMCDP funds to continue the First Hands program, which combines medical and Land Mobile Radio communications education and exercises to empower first providers giving medical aid. Planned deliverables include the development of a just-in-time training and operational platform and a refresher program for graduates of the First Hands program. In addition, UMMC will develop a companion course for public safety communicators entitled First Voice. REMCDP lessons learned will be shared with other communities to serve as a repeatable model for addressing rural population healthcare needs.
Details About the REMCDP Grant Opportunity
- Eligible Applicants: Public and state controlled institutions of higher education.
- Eligibility Criteria: The entity applying must operate or have access to an existing statewide emergency communications system that is leveraged to address rural health disparities such as mortality rates and cardiovascular diseases. The applicant must also be an emergency communications center (e.g., trauma center).
- Anticipated Number of Award(s): 1
- Total Available Funding: Up to $2,000,000
- Period of Performance: 2 Years (24 months)
- Program Objectives:
- Use of current statewide emergency communications systems to deliver rural medical care and services;
- Development of trainings and exercises to ensure that rural emergency responders and personnel can use emergency medical communications systems and equipment effectively;
- Collaboration with state leaders to address the addition of or transition to FirstNet (in the planning phase) with the current land mobile radio and statewide emergency communications systems;
- Collaboration with non-medical professionals and emergency communications stakeholders that use emergency medical communications;
- Solutions to ensure that emergency responders and medical practitioners can communicate in rural, underserved communities, as needed and when authorized;
- Development of concepts for inclusion of rural medical care and emergency communications support as a component of the NECP; and
- Identify, document, and share lessons learned and best practices of the demonstration project, which in turn could be shared with other stakeholders addressing rural population healthcare needs, such as high cardiovascular diseases and/or high mortality rates.
For the REMCDP Notice of Funding Opportunity and application submission, go to www.Grants.gov
Access to the REMCDP Notice of Funding Opportunity and supplemental materials providing additional information on the grant opportunity are also available here:.