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    Default NIMS Terminology

    While this title doesn't appear to be related to tactics, it definately is to fireground safety.

    My large metropolitan department will not follow standard NIMS fireground terminology at structure fires. We sometimes use the term "sector" sometimes "branch" and sometimes "group" with no regard for their proper use. Even worse is the failure to label sides and floors of structures by division. I feel this has hampered fireground communications and firefighter safety.

    I have been unable to locate a single document that defines the fireground terms. While the on-line NIMS 100-800 series seems to to address terms for expanding incidents, I am looking for info on your basic structure fire. Can anyone recommend something I can use to push for implementation?

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    Probably no help to you, but we have not adopted any "national" guideline.

    In my area, floors are labelled as.....floors. Sides are labelled as divisions.

    We don't use branch/group/sector in the way I think you are looking.


    We stuck with the best NIMS recommendation I could ever find in all of the BS training....plain text. A floor is a floor. 3 floors up is the 3rd floor.

    Best of luck to you.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Probably no help to you, but we have not adopted any "national" guideline.

    In my area, floors are labelled as.....floors. Sides are labelled as divisions.

    We don't use branch/group/sector in the way I think you are looking.


    We stuck with the best NIMS recommendation I could ever find in all of the BS training....plain text. A floor is a floor. 3 floors up is the 3rd floor.

    Best of luck to you.
    Right on the money. +1. We use plain text and are especially leery of renaming the sides of the building or floors. Doing all the same throughout your FD or even area is smart, but changing basic terminology to NIMS for the sake of "supposed" compliance, is dangerous. A failure to recognize basic fireground geographical terms could easily lead to brothers not being helped when in need.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 16Scott View Post
    I have been unable to locate a single document that defines the fireground terms. While the on-line NIMS 100-800 series seems to to address terms for expanding incidents, I am looking for info on your basic structure fire. Can anyone recommend something I can use to push for implementation?
    NIMS doesn't specifically address fireground operations, as it's meant to encompass all types of incidents. If you are assigning teams geographically (such as sides of a building), then they are supposed to be Divisions per NIMS. If they are assigned by task or function (such as RIT/RIG, Rehab, Ventilation, etc.), then they are supposed to be Groups. Those would roll up into Branches or Sections or even directly to the IC depending on complexity and span of control. At a small structure fire, start building at the bottom of the NIMS chart and add middle layers as expansion dictates. There could very well be an IC and a single group/division without any layers in between.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 16Scott View Post
    While this title doesn't appear to be related to tactics, it definately is to fireground safety.

    My large metropolitan department will not follow standard NIMS fireground terminology at structure fires. We sometimes use the term "sector" sometimes "branch" and sometimes "group" with no regard for their proper use. Even worse is the failure to label sides and floors of structures by division. I feel this has hampered fireground communications and firefighter safety.

    I have been unable to locate a single document that defines the fireground terms. While the on-line NIMS 100-800 series seems to to address terms for expanding incidents, I am looking for info on your basic structure fire. Can anyone recommend something I can use to push for implementation?


    Fires were being put out LONG before NIMS was thought of. IT is not a cure for training and knowing what you are doing, regardless of what terminology you use . Next time you goto a job throw that book in and see if it puts the fire out.

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    We pretty much follow the NIMS template. Anything geographical is assigned as a division (floors, sides, etc), but our "groups" are assigned by task. Ventilation is just that, ventilation, not "ventilation group".

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