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The South Central Connecticut Regional Emergency Communications System was conceived in the late 1960's when a study done by the U.S. Department of Transportation in conjunction with the Yale Trauma Program found that a victims suffering from a sudden illness or injury had a better chance of survival on the battlefields of Vietnam than they did in the their homes or on the streets of the United States.
As a result of these types of studies, the medical community nationwide set out to improve the quality of care rendered to victims prior to their arrival at the hospital, and to improve the training that was provided for America's emergency responders.
Early on, it was realized that to effectivly utilize the new skills that were being taught to ambulance and rescue personnel and that they would be able to respond in an efficient and timely manner, communications would play a vital role in what was coming to be known as the Emergency Medical Services system.
On a national level, the U.s. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and the private Robert Wood Johnson Foundation further recognized these needs by establishing seed grant programs for Emergency Medical Communications.  These agencies, in conjunction with the Federal Communications Commission established a new radio service for use by EMS systems nationwide which became operable in the early 1970's.
In 1973, recognizing the need for such a communications system in the Greater New Haven Area,  The Hospital of Saint Raphael and Yale-New Haven Hospital applied, as a consortium, to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to establish a communications system to be used in the delivery of emergency medical services in the ten cities and towns that made up the area that was served by these two facilities.
In January of 1974, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awarded a grant for $361,971.00 to the two hospitals for the creation of an Emergency Medical Communications System to serve the cities and towns of Bethany, Branford, East Haven, Hamden, New Haven, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, West Haven, and Woodbridge.
The Hospitals proceeded to establish a committees to plan operations, write equipment specifications, and to hire and train a staff for the communications center.  The system as it was designed was ready for operation in December of 1975, when concerns that were raised by commercial ambulance providers in the area brought the project to a halt.  Protracted negotiations with the commercial providers became fruitless.  Desiring to see the project come to completion, the Hospitals turned to the City of New Haven and Mayor Logue, hoping that the City of New Haven would take over responsiblity for CMED on behalf of the other towns in the region and complete the project.
With the approval of the other member towns, the City of New Haven agreed to the transfer of the grant.  The CMED Communications Center opened in the USVA Hospital in West HAven on November 29, 1976, with the City formally accepting the grant in January 1977 by an Act of the Board of Alderman.  The operation of the system was placed in the hands of the Chief of the New Haven Fire Department who would serve as the unpaid Director of CMED.
In July 1977, a training program was co-sponsored by the two Hospitals and CMED to certify Fire and Ambulance personnel to provide Advanced Life Support procedures in the field under the direction of physicians communicating with them via CMED radios.  The first Advanded Life Support units went into service in late July 1977 in the New Haven Fire Department, Hamden Fire Department, and New Haven Ambulance Service.
In October of 1977, with the imminent expenditure of the remaing grant funding, the 10 towns agreed to fund CMED from their general funds using a population usage formula developed by their Chief Elected Officials.
In 1977, the CMED staff assisted the EMS Council in developing a grant application to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for additional grant funding.  The application met with success and plans were made to use these monies to expand the CMED system to serve all twenty towns in the South Central EMS Region.
In March 1979, the City of Milford raised funds from private sources and joined the CMED system.  The Town of Guilford joined in July 1980, making them the eleventh and twelfth towns in the system.
In January of 1981, the Town of Madison and the City of Derby became members of the system.  In May of 1981 the CMED Communications Center moved from the USVA Hospital to its current location in the City of New Haven's Emergency Operations Center in the New Haven Hall of Records.
The system continued to expand over the next two years as the cities and towns of Wallingford, Clinton, Seymour, Oxford, Meriden, and Ansonia became members.  In July of 1983, the City of Shelton joined the CMED system completing the planned service area for the system.
To be continued....

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