The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Interoperable Radio System (CoMIRS) is a statewide 700/800 MHz trunked radio system that serves as the statewide emergency services communications backbone. CoMIRS is used by municipal, regional and state public safety entities, providing operable and interoperable communications for over 250 public safety and transportation agencies throughout the state. The system supports interoperability channels for use by eligible users.
In 2021, Franklin County Emergency Services began migrating from the 450MHz Franklin County Emergency Communication System (FCECS) to CoMIRS. CoMIRS is now the primary emergency communication system used by Franklin County’s fire, police, emergency medical services, and their dispatchers. FCECS is still being used and maintained in a limited capacity until all remaining emergency communications needs are transitioned to CoMIRS and the remaining radio equipment and towers are transferred to other state and municipal partners.
Requests to access Franklin County CoMIRS Talk Groups are made to the FRCOG.
If you are planning to purchase any new portable, mobile, or console radios, vehicle repeaters, in building repeaters, or any other equipment that interacts with or uses the CoMIRS system, contact the Franklin County CoMIRS Advisory Group prior to making that purchase. This group will review the intended purchase and ensure that the purchased equipment will properly interact with CoMIRS.
Without this necessary step, there is no guarantee that new radio or equipment purchases will be compatible with CoMIRS and work with the state’s system.
Technical and Administrative Advisories
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Fiscal Year 2023 FCECS assessments are posted and cost per user has come down slightly since last year. There’s a considerable effort taking place between the FRCOG and EOTSS as we move forward together to complete the county’s CoMIRS migration. Until that transition is fully complete, we will continue to maintain FCECS (at some level) until a paging solution has been implemented. We are cost conscious and have, and will continue, to properly decommission equipment and tower sites that are no longer needed for emergency communications in Franklin County. Our county’s migration efforts have made substantial progress over the past year and the FRCOG will continue to advocate for our region’s needs and support our emergency services through coordinated regional planning and as the county’s CoMIRS liaison with the Commonwealth.
Franklin County Fire Service: Standard CoMIRS Radio Operating Procedures have been updated.
The Franklin County Fire Chiefs Association voted and approved an amendment to these SOPS that designated Operational Talk Group 6 (OPS-6) as the default fire ground channel for Greenfield Fire. Updated SOPS.
Kenwood Portable Radio Programming Update Incoming
For all Franklin County emergency service agencies using Kenwood portable radios, please be aware that a programming update is in the works and expected over the next few months. This update will address the emergency alarm button press length (we are increasing the press length to prevent accidental alarm activation) and expanding channel banks to include designated vehicle repeater channels for vehicle repeaters compatible with Kenwood radios. This will be an over the air software update and instructions will be provided to all departments when the update goes live.
Please Contact CoMIRS Advisory Group Before Making Radio and Radio Equipment Purchases
For all Franklin County CoMIRS users: if you are planning to purchase any new portable, mobile, or console radios, vehicle repeaters, in building repeaters, or any other equipment that interacts with or uses the CoMIRS system, contact the Franklin County CoMIRS Advisory Group prior to making that purchase. This group will review the intended purchase and ensure that the purchased equipment will properly interact with CoMIRS. Without this necessary step, there is no guarantee that new radio or equipment purchases will be compatible with CoMIRS and work with the state’s system.
On April 1, 2022, beginning at 08:00 the standing patches between FCECS UHF 450MHz system and the CoMIRS 800MHz will come down.
Currently, Shelburne Control is patching FCECS Channels Fire-1 and FD Simulcast 1 for countywide fire/EMS initial dispatch operations, and Police 2- PD Simulcast 2 for countywide law enforcement operations. When these patches are disabled, radio transmissions by field units on UHF 450MHz system channels or the 800MHz CoMIRS channels will not be rebroadcast. Conversely, the dispatch center is transitioning into a Simul-Select mode so that all outbound radio transmissions from Shelburne Control will be broadcast over both channels. Both channels will continue to function independently for field units. The patches can be rapidly re-initiated if needed.
Shelburne Control will continue to monitor both the FCECS 450MHz UHF channels and the 800 MHz CoMIRS channels and respond to radio traffic on both of those systems. First responders in the field can request that Shelburne Control put temporary channel patches between the two systems in the unlikely event an incident calls for it.
This transition to Simul-select dispatching should provide seamless communications to field units. Regional channels can still be patched with Ops channels for our mutual aid partners if necessary. We appreciate your patience during this transition phase and welcome comments, concerns, and thoughts to improve communications. Please pay particular attention to dispatcher radio communications on April 1st to ensure no communications are missed while Shelburne Control is working on console programming. Please keep all non-essential field communications on both FCECS and CoMIRS channels to an absolute minimum on April 1st.
On April 1, 2022, dispatching by pagers will continue to occur, as it has been, on the 450mhz UHF system. What will change is paging traffic will now also be broadcast on CoMIRS 800MHz Channel – Fire 1.
This programming process has been prepped but cannot be initiated until the patches are severed. Previously, FCECS migrated away from county wide simulcast paging to paging off of the best FCECS 450MHZ UHF regional tower for each community. Beginning on April 1st, Shelburne Control dispatchers will begin simultaneously and seamlessly transmitting pages on both FCECS 450MHz UHF regional towers and on the CoMIRS 800MHz channel Fire 1. This change enables departments with adequate digital coverage in their community the option to purchase 800 MHz pagers. EOTSS estimates that as soon as the summer of 2023, the county may be able to fully transition to only 800hmz CoMIRS system paging.
Departments wishing to use pagers on the 800MHz system should read Paging on the CoMIRS 800MHz System Q&A and familiarize themselves with the steps they need to take in order to be prepared for this final phase of the CoMIRS migration.
The Unication G4(single band) and G5(multi-band) 800MHz pagers will likely be the model supported by CoMIRS. Find out more about this pager by reading the Unication Pager Report on the FCECS and 800 Systems.
On March 1, 2022, all communication between AirMedical units and Franklin County emergency services now occurring on the 800MHz channel 8TAC91D.
8TAC91D is a national interoperable channel found in the 800 Interop zone of our Franklin County CoMIRS radios. Effective Tuesday, March 1st, responders will use this channel to communicate with Airmedical units when establishing landing zones in Franklin County. Until then, responders will continue to use channel UTAC41D on their FCECS 450MHz radios.
For any questions regarding the operational use of this channel, please contact Shelburne Control.
Introduction to the Digital 800 Mhz Radio System
Radio System Trouble
If you experience an issue while using the radio system in Franklin County, please use the Radio System Trouble Ticket to let us know. The radio system manager will contact you within 48 hours to confirm that he is working on the issue you reported.