HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Due to the transition to a digital radio communications system in Horry County, HCFR Chief Joseph Tanner said the county has given portable radios to hospitals the area for right now, so their line of communication isn't disrupted as they get their own compatible systems.
Chief Tanner said the county has spare portable radios in case any of them break down, so those spares have been given to area hospitals for the time being to use to communicate with first responders on their way to the hospital with a patient.
"We have to have communication with the hospital, so they can know what to expect with the patients and then to give the information and protocols back to our units in the field and make sure we're doing all the correct things," he said.
The analog radio system from 1989 was replaced last week with a new digital radio system. The transition happened two weeks early because a transmitter for the analog system went out.
Chief Tanner said the coverage is better than in the past and he expects it to improve more.
The county was still able to use the existing radios for the switchover by upgrading the software.
Conway Medical Center Spokesperson Julie Rajotte said the hospital already has a dedicated phone line that connects to the EMS radio system, allowing them to do everything they did previously with no disruption to service. She said those calls are recorded as well.
Julie Kopnicky with Grand Strand Medical Center said the hospital was aware of the switchover, but it happened sooner than originally planned. The hospital is working with Myrtle Beach Communications and the updated system will be set up before May.