Facts . Mission . Join . Support . In Action . Contacts
FAQs . Statewide Interoperability Plan . Grant Resources . Policies
Interoperability Solutions for Ohio Public Safety Presentation
Completing Ohio 21st Century . MARCS Task Force Report
MARCS (Multi-Agency Radio Communication System) is an 800 MHz radio and data network that utilizes state-of-the-art trunked technology to provide statewide interoperability in digital clarity to its subscribers throughout Ohio and a 10 mile radius outside of Ohio. The MARCS system provides statewide, secure, reliable public service wireless communication for public safety and first responders.
The MARCS development contract required 97.5% mobile voice and data in street coverage. 99.71% aggregate voice coverage was realized and 98.13% aggregate data coverage was achieved. This allows maximum statewide interoperability and enhanced safety and protection for public safety service providers through secure digital transmissions.
The MARCS network operates on three system components:
- Mobile Voice – operating on the 800 MHZ digital trunked technology
- Mobile Data – allowing data transmissions, LEADS inquiries, reformatting of data from Mobile Data Terminals (MDT)
- Computer Aided Dispatch - providing GPS-based auto vehicle location, resource recommendation and GGM display
There are currently over 47,500 voice units and over 1,800 mobile data units on the MARCS system with over 1200 public safety/public service agencies statewide. This includes local, state and federal agencies.
MARCS - Mission
MARCS is dedicated to providing Ohio's first responders and public safety providers with state-of-the-art wireless digital communications, and to promote interoperability, in order to save lives and maximize effectiveness in both normal operations and emergency situations.
MARCS - JOIN MARCS
To become a MARCS subscriber, we must have a MARCS Radio Use Agreement on file. Once we have a fully executed MARCS Radio Use Agreement, the MARCS staff will work with you to get your equipment programmed, activated and deployed so you may reach go-live.
Our technical staff will work with you to develop a programming template for your radios and will supply you with two (2) agency specific talkgroups. In order for you to communicate with all other agencies on the MARCS system, you will also be given all the mutual aid/interoperability talkgroups (see MARCS Policy MPP15.0).
Mutual aid/interoperability talkgroups are inserted in all MARCS subscriber radios to ensure optimum statewide interoperability. The technical staff will also talk to you about other agency’s talkgroups you may want to have in your radios. This can be a local police department, fire department, hospital, health department, etc. There is no charge for the programming or consulting services of the technical staff. In addition, we will train your staff to use the equipment or supply you with training aids so you may incorporate your standard operating procedures so you can train your staff. There is no additional cost for training support either. We also have a helpdesk staff available 24/7/365. They can provide technical support to subscribers and also have a means of contacting any MARCS staff member any time of the day.
MARCS In Action
In January 2007, Columbus, Ohio was cited as the fourth most-prepared city in the nation for disaster preparedness. This is partially due to the fact that the City of Columbus Department of Public Safety has incorporated MARCS interoperability into their emergency preparedness plan with over 900 units deployed. The City of Columbus is prepared to enable any agency at the local, state or federal level to speak with all other agencies in the state through the MARCS capabilities.
In August 2005, Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast of the United States. Communications vans from Ohio Emergency Management Agency, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, several County Sheriff Offices, Ohio Fire Marshall and Ohio National Guard equipped with MARCS equipment convoyed to the area to assist in the relief efforts. Ohio’s resources were able to communicate with local agencies in the Gulf area. Although high winds toppled many of the public safety towers in the area, the Ohio communications vans were equipped to act as stand alone tower sites, aiding communications in the area. The MARCS resources worked so well that talks between Gulf Coast public safety agencies and Ohio MARCS users are still under way, so these disaster ravaged areas can also build a similar system.
MARCS is made up of three components. Voice, Data and Computer Aided Dispatch. A vehicle equipped with the full suite of subscriber equipment for the voice and data component is shown below.
The Computer Aided Dispatch component of MARCS provided global positioning system (GPS), auto vehicle location (AVL), resource recommendation, patching capabilities and much more.
The State of Ohio realized back in 1990 there were serious problems with the communications systems utilized by their public safety and service agencies. This was evident after the Shadyside flood disaster in 1990. First responders were unable to communicate with each other even though they had portable and mobile radios. The inability to communicate between responders created serious issues when attempting to rescue and evacuate people on either side of the raging river. The State of Ohio conducted in-depth studies of the lack of statewide interoperability communications, resulting in the development of a statewide voice and data communications system providing the bridge between the communications gap.
MARCS - Contact Us
The MARCS Program operates 24/7/365. Although our regular business hours are 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, the entire staff is on call. You can reach any staff member after hours by contacting the MARCS Network Operations Center at 1-866-OHMARCS (1.866.646.2727).
MARCS Network Operations Center/HELPDESK at 1-866-OHMARCS (1.866.646.2727).