Tactical EMS

Eastern Pennsylvania Tactical EMS Team

Tactical EMS Teams Communicate Efficiently & Securely in High-Risk Emergency Situations

About Eastern Pennsylvania Tactical EMS

The Eastern Pennsylvania Tactical EMS Team is an organization of SWAT paramedics and physicians who respond to emergencies across eastern Pennsylvania. Created in 2004, they provide life-saving services for tactical operations. Northern Berks EMS is a sponsoring agency of Eastern PA Tactical EMS.


As a tactical paramedic service, the Eastern Pennsylvania Tactical EMS Team attends to life-or-death situations in the field. Team members typically travel alone, and in the past, they relied on text messages and phone calls to pass along critical information. Unfortunately, this meant they’d have to pull over while driving to communicate, risking safety and wasting crucial time in emergency scenarios where every second counts.

Phone calls and text messages often failed the team in critical moments. For example, during a lengthy 48-day search across rural Pennsylvania for a violent suspect, poor phone call quality prevented the EMS team from coordinating with other team members just a mile away.

When saving human lives is the primary objective, there’s no time for roadblocks like these. The team decided to move beyond their mobile phones and implement more powerful communication tools.

As they searched for a solution to fit their needs, they found that most voice products on the market didn’t provide enough range or flexibility. With a territory that stretches across 46,000 square miles, the Eastern PA Tactical EMS Team simply wouldn’t be able to use Land Mobile Radio systems or similar tools.

"Communication is our biggest challenge in these life-or-death situations, and we’ve solved that problem with Orion." — Stephen Bobella, Executive Director, Northern Berks EMS (a sponsoring agency of Eastern PA Tactical EMS)

Switching to Orion instantly transformed the way the Eastern PA Tactical EMS Team communicates. Instead of handling mobile phones while driving, the team now stays in sync with the push of a button and stays ready for any new development.

Because the team provides emergency care in such diverse environments like mountains, cities, and rural areas, it’s essential that their communications tools work correctly at all times. Having a reliable method of communication like Orion ensures that crews can respond quickly to tense situations, and more importantly, ensure their staff is safe.

With their Onyx devices, there’s no need to pick up a phone, tap out a message, or watch for a reply. Instead, teams can focus on the road and arrive at the scene quickly and safely.

“For us, our bottom line is making sure our team gets home safely every night,” said Bobella. “Tools like Orion help us make that happen.”

Bobella’s team took advantage of advanced Orion functionality to meet tight operational security protocols required by SWAT teams. The Eastern PA Tactical EMS Team needed to make sure that they would not draw attention to themselves during volatile and unpredictable SWAT calls. Using Orion Pro, they were able to disable the lights on Onyx for their entire team, so that each person could remain completely dark in any sensitive environment.

“As a customer, Orion has been amazing to work with,” said Bobella. “As someone who buys a lot of equipment every year, I’ve never worked with a company so capable of adapting to our needs.”

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