Advocating Interoperability Among Emergency Service Organizations in Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester Counties


The Berkeley/Charleston/Dorchester (BCD) Multi Agency Coordination (MAC) Group is a collaborative effort of Public Safety Agency Administrators/ Department Heads that gather at least quarterly for proactively discussing, planning, and/or developing comprehensive, integrated responses to everything from small scale, everyday incidents up to the more complex threats, incidents and events impacting one or more jurisdictions within the tri-county area.


What is Multi-Agency Coordination (MAC)?

The MAC is not intended to supersede the municipal or county emergency operating centers (EOCs), but to augment them by bringing Public Safety Agency Administrators/Department Heads together pre-incident/pre-event to discuss, plan, train, develop, identify resources/capabilities, etc. that collectively and cooperatively may better serve, respond, and seamlessly operate safely and proficiently during an actual incident/event.

Multi-agency coordination ensures critical resource and information analysis support to the Incident Command/Unified Command. Coordination does not mean assuming command of the incident scene. With the many different jurisdictions and agencies providing emergency support functions in the tri-county area, often responding together and/or individually crossing over into other counties/jurisdictions it is imperative for the safety of all responders and the public that we operate professionally and with some sense of uniformity.

Working together as a MAC is a process that allows all levels of government and all disciplines to work together more efficiently and effectively. It may extend across jurisdictional lines and/or occur whenever personnel from different agencies interact in such activities as preparedness, prevention, response, recovery, and mitigation.

Our Purpose

Our purpose is to collaborate and coordinate, plan, and propose compatible policy making decisions, procure and/or commit agency resources, etc. prior to and during an incident of major significance. This diverse group interacts in such activities as preparedness, prevention, response, recovery, and mitigation. The end goal is to improve the overall safety and health of our communities while becoming more efficient and effective in our operations and emergency response.

Our Mission

The mission of BCD MAC is to advocate interoperability among emergency service organizations in the Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester Counties to ensure the safety of our responders and the public.

 We will achieve our mission through proactive planning, development, and standardization of operational guidelines, policies, and procedures, where feasible; and by participating in joint-training and multi-agency exercises; that when an incident of significance impacts any of the tri-county area our agencies would automatically come together and operate seamlessly, effectively, and efficiently as one. 

Agencies Represented

 The BCD MAC consists of various agencies, each generally performing common functions; however, not all the system’s functions may be performed during every incident, and functions may not occur in any particular order.

Berkeley County – 911, Radio Communications, EMS, County Fire Chiefs Association, C&B Fire, Hanahan Fire & EMS, Goose Creek City Fire, Police, & EMS, Goose Creek Rural Fire, Moncks Corner City Fire & Police, Sherriff’s Office, Emergency Management.
Dorchester County – 911, Radio Communications, EMS, Summerville Fire & Police, Dorchester County Fire, Emergency Management.

Charleston County – 911, Radio Communications, EMS, County Fire Chiefs Association, Charleston Fire, North Charleston Fire & Police, Sheriff’s Office, St. Paul’s Fire, Awendaw-McClellanville Consolidated Fire, St Andrews Fire, Emergency Management.
Regional – Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments
Federal/State – Joint Base Charleston Fire, SC Highway Patrol Troop 6, SLED.

Our goals

To achieve the mission of the Berkeley/Charleston/Dorchester Multi-Agency Coordination Group, realistic goals, and objectives with timelines for completion must be established to enhance strengths, address any weaknesses identified, provide a clear direction, and address the concerns of our community.

“Goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favor.” Brian Tracy

GOALS and OBJECTIVES for 2020 – 2025

Develop compatible operating policies and procedures

Objective 1A:  Develop written common/compatible operating policies and procedures, as approved by the MAC Group, for implementation by individual participating agencies/ departments, where feasible.  

Timeframe: On-going                                                                              

Purpose:  To ensure responder safety and efficiencies when operating on a mutual-aid, auto-aid, or other multi-agency response incident/event.


Critical Tasks:         

1A1.  Each department/agency participates in the planning, drafting, and developing of unified and/or standard policies and procedures through their representative’s participation on the Interagency Communications Committee, Training and Exercise Committee, and/or Policies and Procedures Committee.  Their proposals/recommendations:

  1. Must support the expectations of MAC theory, and
  2. create a practice that sustains operational capabilities within BCD counties.

1A2.  Each individual department/agency ensures implementation, as feasible, in accordance with their own department/agency’s legal, administrative, and organizational requirements.

Establish interagency communications

Objective 2A:  CAD to CAD (Computer-Aided Design) Communications for the PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Points)
Timeframe: End of 2025

Purpose: Automatic and immediate communication between PSAPs allows the dispatch centers communicate more effectively, increase the efficiency of staff, and to dispatch automatic and mutual aid units more effectively to calls for service.


Critical Tasks:      

2A1. Determine best method to transfer CAD data between PSAPs.

  • 12/21 Update: There are several ways to facilitate CAD to CAD transfer between PSAPs.
    1. Work with ATI (Advanced Technologies International) on data sharing between PSAPs.
      • 12/21 Update: Currently working to determine the most economical method to connect all PSAPs in the tri-county area.

2A2. Standardize apparatus names in each of the CAD systems and Records Management Systems (RMS).

  • 12/21 Update: Each dispatch center lists apparatus in the most efficient manner for their staff to operate. Once the final method of CAD to CAD is determined, then translation tables will be built to allow DACs to see other county units.

2A3. Identify opportunities in the Firehouse RMS to increase the Unit character count.

  • 12/21 Update: Closed – No longer applicable.

2A4. Ensure upgrades to facilitate CAD to CAD.

  • 12/21 Update:
    1. Berkeley has upgraded CADs to Southern Software
    2. Goose Creek has upgraded CAD to Southern Software
    3. Hanahan is considering an upgrade, currently TBD, no CAD to CAD
    4. Dorchester is hoping for a new CAD
    5. Summerville has Spillman CAD
    6. Charleston has Central Square.


Objective 2B:  Achieve a Common Radio System that allows responders to effectively communicate across jurisdictional boundaries.

Timeframe: On-going (mostly complete)

 Purpose: A common radio system allows responders to more effectively communicate across jurisdictional boundaries while improving personal safety and efficiency of services.


Critical Tasks:

2B1. Update and maintain a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) signed by all involved agencies on an annual basis.

  • 12/21 Update: An MOU is in place for all field agencies. PSAPs have all agreed to share channels between dispatch centers. Update to MOU will be published as an amendment in January 2022.

2B2. Ensure radio programming is standardized by agency/jurisdiction and personnel are trained on navigating zones/radio channels, to ensure effective interoperability with other agencies/jurisdictions.

  • 12/21 Update: Complete – All agencies have radios programmed with surrounding agencies channels and staff are trained.

2B3. Promote the use of common radio terminology and plain text communications, in accordance with NIMS.

  • 12/21 Update: Complete. IAW NIMS all Fire and EMS agencies use plain text terminology in their day-to-day operations. LE utilizes plain text terminology during multi-jurisdictional incidents and exercises.


Objective 2C:  ESInet (Emergency Services IP Network)

Timeframe: End of 2023

Purpose: Improve operational capabilities through interconnectivity of the primary PSAPs in Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester, Beaufort, Horry, and Georgetown counties. The intent is to enhance situational awareness, emergency response, asset management, emergency call handling and disaster recovery through interoperability. The specific systems designated to be deployed remain to be determined. A primary objective is to deliver emergency 911 traffic via the Coastal ESInet, and to enable NG911 core services with future scalable capabilities for additional public safety applications.


Critical Tasks:      

2C1. This objective belongs to the Coastal ESInet Cooperative.

  • 12/21 Update:
    1. Charleston County has transitioned operations into an ESI Network
    2. Berkeley County is under contract to ESInet services with a projected go live of early 2nd quarter 2022.
    3. Hanahan, Goose Creek, and Dorchester County are currently working on the most appropriate ESInet solutions for their agencies. Goose Creek and Hanahan are waiting on answers from the State 911 Advisory Board on funding/reimbursement RFIs.


Objective 2E:  Satellite (SAT) Phone / Radio List

Timeframe: End of 2022/On-going

 Purpose: To provide back-up communications should cell towers and/or landlines fail.


Critical Tasks:

2E1. Establish who has a SAT Phone or Radio and develop a contact list that can be laminated and placed with each SAT Phone or Radio in BCD.

Develop and coordinate interagency training and exercises

Objective 3A:  Establish BCD Multi-year Training and Exercise Plan (MYTEP) or calendar.

Timeframe: End of 2022/On-going

Purpose:  To enhance situational awareness of training and exercise opportunities within the tri-county area.


Critical Tasks:         

3A1. Establish a primary point of contact for each discipline for each County.

  • 12/21 Update:
    1. Berkeley County
      1. (1) EMS – Thomas Krakeel
      2. (2) 911 – Ashley Taylor
      3. (3) LE – Bobby Shuler
      4. (4) FD – BC Fire Chiefs Assoc President (Bob Maibach)
      5. (5) EMD – Tammie Pierce
    2. Charleston County
      1. (1) EMS – Todd McGeorge
      2. (2) 911 – Alyshia Linville
      3. (3) LE –
      4. (4) FD – CATOA (Mike Smith)
      5. (5) EMD – Will Rochester
    3. Dorchester County
      1. (1) EMS – Joshua Arrant
      2. (2) 911 –
      3. (3) LE –
      4. (4) FFD – Brent Turner
      5. (5) EMD – David Amann

3A2. Establish and build out a calendar for use between all three counties and all disciplines.

  • 12/21 Update: Pending

3A3. Obtain approval and buy – in from necessary agency leadership to facilitate this process.

  • 12/21 Update: Approximately 80% Complete

3A4. Recruit other necessary organizations not currently represented.

  • 12/21 Update: Pending LE support


Objective 3B:  Identify potential funding streams for training and exercise opportunities.
Timeframe: On-going

Purpose:  There are multiple training opportunities that may have an associated cost that an agency may not be able to cover or wish to cover. More training opportunities that are not limited due to funding would build our capabilities.


Critical Tasks:

3B1. Build out costs in the MYTEP as needed.

  • 12/21 Update: Pending

3B2. Work with external partners through the Local Emergency Planning

committee and other groups for funding streams.

  • 12/21 Update: Healthcare Coalition, others pending.

3B3. Partner with the healthcare coalition for training opportunities.

  • 12/21 Update: Closed this task, combined w/3B2.

3B4. Investigate grant opportunities for training.

  • 12/21 Update: Considering possibilities via the Port Security Grant and/or State Homeland Security Grant


Objective 3C:  Identify list of instructors in various disciplines and those with exercise development knowledge.


Purpose:  Having an awareness of instructors in various disciplines and topics should allow for more training opportunities within the tri-county area as the list of instructors will be easily obtainable.  


Critical Tasks:

3C1. Build out a list of instructors for various disciplines and topics.

  • 12/21 Update: Studying the best medium for this, currently Salamander is being considered.

3C2. Communicate the list of instructors as needed.

  • 12/21 Update: Closed this task, combined w/3C1.


Objective 3D:  Identify training pathways for various career fields. 

Timeframe: End of 2022

Purpose:  To establish minimum training criteria for employees and responders in the various career fields. Some pathways may already be identified, but this needs to be built out tri-county wide.


Critical Tasks:

3D1. Investigate standard/regulation requirements for the various

career fields.

  • 12/21 Update: NFPA, ISO, OSHA, Federal EMS/DOT Standards, SC EMS Standards, QS, SCCEM for Emergency Management, LEMPG requirements for Emergency Management. LE/Dispatch Pending.

3D2. Evaluate current training programs or current pathways for those career fields.

  • 12/21 Update: FEMA NQS is being utilized for this (Refer to FEMA Resource Typing Library Tool -RTLT). Additionally: FEMA Professional Development Series for EM, FEMA/AHIMTA Tasks Books…


Objective 3E: Effectively utilize quality improvement and quality assurance in our training programs via after action reviews and course critiques.

Timeframe: End of 2022/On-going

Purpose:  To continuously improve in house training, exercises, and drill programs through effective quality assurance and quality improvement programs (QA/QI).


Critical Tasks:

3E1. Utilize effective course evaluation forms.

  • 12/21 Update: Individual examples have been received and a form is being drafted for recommendation.

3E2. Invite evaluators from outside the tri–county area to participate in exercises and drills.

  • 12/21 Update: Closed this task, combined w/3E3.

3E3. Establish guidelines for training programs.

  • 12/21 Update: Pending

3E4. Through QA/QI (Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement), identify the focus of training programs.

  • 12/21 Update: Closed this task, combined w/3E3.


Objective 3F:  Badging and Credentialing

Timeframe: End of 2022/On-going

Purpose: Standardized badging and credentialing allows for better incident accountability and will allow for a common method of re-entry after a natural disaster or State Firefighter Mobilization. (Ref: SC Office of Homeland Security Credentialing Standard Operating Procedure 2018-a40de9cb)


Critical Tasks:

3F1. For responses in BCD counties Passport Accountability Tags will be used for local incidents.

  • 12/21 Update: Complete

3F2. For responses outside of BCD counties Salamander badges will be utilized (Ref: SC Office of Homeland Security Credentialing Standard

Operating Procedure 2018-a40de9cb).

  • This needs to be socialized with all county emergency response agencies/departments.
  • Each PSAP, EMD/EPD Agency, and EMS Agency must issue Salamander badges to their staff.
  • Salamander badges are considered a State Level ID and will be honored by Law Enforcement at traffic control points during an evacuation/re-entry.
  • 12/21 Update: Many agencies have access to the badge printer or Salamander access.

3F3. Establish a Qualification Review Board to assist in the Credentialing process as recommended by the SC Office of Homeland Security Credentialing Standard Operating Procedure 2018-a40de9cb.

  • 12/21 A QRB proposal will be presented during the Jan 2022 MAC Group meeting for review/approval.