1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber

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    Oct 2002
    Hepburnville, PA

    Default Radio Designation Question

    I was wondering what radio designation your different departments assigned to an EMS Coordinator or EMS Captain. We are a volunteer department that runs QRS. Any ideas - I am in need of them.

  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber

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    Jun 1999


    Here all ems radio designations are assigned by the county. Example we're ems agency 80. All of our designations start with this. Next comes a letter, either A (ALS bus), B (bls bus), or M (medic flycar). Then is the unit #. Our buses are 80B1 thru 80B3.

    In the county due to this numbering system most agencies drop the letter and the officers use that designation. Example ems capt (801), ems lieut's (802, 803).

  3. #3
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    May 2000
    Wheaton IL


    All of our numbers are based on the rig that your on, only chief officers have their own numbers at incidents.

    An example would be Engine 631 has four members on it the driver is 631, the officer 631A, behind him is 631B and behind the driver is 631C. If you have positions assigned to the seats then you could use 631 irons, etc.

    My full time department uses numbers for the officers but that causes more confusion if some one uses the wrong number or an officer isn't working on his usual company. "L56 to command, mayday we are in the basement and are lost". What rig is L56 on? what is their assignment? If they used 103A to command... everyone knows what company is lost and has a better idea of what is going on.

  4. #4
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    DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Aug 2000
    Somewhere between genius and insanity!


    Our radio designations are...

    The Chief is Car 1.
    The Deputies are D-1 through D-4
    The Captains are M-1 through M-4
    The Lieutenants are L-1 through L-8

    Radio designation for appratus is the apparatus name
    Engine 1, Ladder 1, Rescue 1, etc.

    Portables for the personnel assigned to the apparatus
    Engine 101, 102, 103
    Ladder 101, 102, 103,
    Rescue 101, Rescue 102, etc.

    At the beginning of the duty tour, a list of the personnel on duty and their riding position is faxed to Fire Alarm. For example, if the emergency button for Engine 102 is activated, the fire alarm operator can call the firefighter by name to see if he/she is alright and notify the OIC if there is an emergency.
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 11-24-2002 at 05:40 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Kobersteen's Avatar
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    Nov 1999
    Fairfax County (VA) Fire & Rescue Dept.


    I can't really speak for Fairfax County, because I haven't been there too long, but the old system in Houston went something like this.

    All EMS people in the office or in Supervisory positions are 11xx.

    EMS Jr Captain (EMS Supervisor x 5 per day): 1181, 1182, 1183, 1184 and 1185

    EMS Sr Captain (Sr EMS Supervisor x 2 per day): 1101 and 1102

    EMS District Chief (Chief Supervisor x 1 per day): 1100

    and DC Fire does it like this:

    EMS Lieutenant (EMS Supervisor x 3 per 12 hr shift): EMS 1-6, EMS 2-3, EMS 4-5 (the numbers reflect the fire Batalions that they are responsible for. Ex: EMS 1-6 is responsible for units in the 1st and 6th Batalions.)

    EMS Captain (Chief EMS Supervisor x 1 per 12 hr shift): EMS 5

    Hope this helps!
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  6. #6
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    N2DFire's Avatar
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    Feb 2000
    S.W. Virginia


    We have a county wide Apparatus & Personnel numbering system.

    Apparatus has a radio designation of Vehicle type and District Number. In the case of duplicates then an alpha character is added to the name.
    Primary Ambulance - Med 3
    Secondary Ambulance - Med 3B
    EMS Response Unit - Response 3
    Engine 3
    Pumper 3
    Tanker 3
    Brush 3
    and so forth.

    For personnel it goes like this:
    EMS Captain, Fire Chief, Asst. Chief use the title & District # Scheme. (i.e. Captain 7, Asst. Chief 9, etc)
    Everyone else gets a unique 3 Number radio designation.

    For EMS the first number is always 2, for Fire it's 3.
    The second number is your district number.
    The third number is arbitrarily assigned by the agency.
    For Fire, the First & Second Lt. ALWAYS get numbers 1 & 2.

    So a 1st Lt in district 5 would be 3-5-1, and an EMS member in district 10 would be 2-10-XX.

    My Rescue squad has done something a little "different" with radio numbers. All ALS providers have a ending number of Zero something.
    For example my number is 2-3-02 (Pronounced on the radio as Two-Three-Oh Two or Two-Three-Zero Two).

    When this is coupled with the fact that a BLS provider has a valid number of 2-3-2 and we are both on the radio at the same time, this confuses the ever living crap out of the dispatchers. Oh well - it looked good on paper.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless

  7. #7
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    Weruj1's Avatar
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    Dec 1999
    NW Ohio


    our unit number are assigned by the county as well. However officer numbers are 200 series (not assinged by the county), a neighboring department we run with wanted to change their system and they are the 100 series in declining rank such as:
    200- Chief
    201- Asst Chief
    202- Fire Captain
    203-EMS Captain
    204-Fire Lieut
    205-Fire Lieut
    206-EMS Lieut
    207-Safety Officer
    208-EMS Lieut
    hope this helps, if there is no officer on a rig, he/she assumes that unit number i.e.- portable 794. etc etc
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  8. #8
    55 Years & Still Rolling
    hwoods's Avatar
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    Jun 2002
    Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....

    Talking We Got The Oldest........

    We have the oldest county-wide numbering system in the US (until someone proves us wrong)dating back to June 4, 1922. Each station has a number assigned, most are in the order in which the VFD joined the Prince Georges County Vol. Firemens Association. The system is simple, and has been copied all over the US. Engines are the station number plus a number from 1 to 5 - Station 18 has E 181 & E 183. Ambulances are the station number plus a number from 7 to 9 ie: Ambulance 188 All other apparatus carries its type plus the station number as in Brush 18, Medic 18, Squad 18,(heavy rescue) Tower 18, (Tower Ladder) A Ladder truck would be Truck 18, Other units could be Tanker 18, Floodlight 18, Boat 18, and so on. Chief officers are Chief 18,Chief 18A and Chief 18B. We do not provide radio designations for Captains, Lieutenants,Coordinators, etc. EXCEPT individuals who are members of a "Special Team" such as HazMat, Divers, Rope, Trench, Etc who have a number assigned. Although there have been ideas to change the numbering system over the years (one guy wanted a code that would identify pump capacity and tank size, as E18-15-5 - Station 18,1500 pump,500 tank) none of these were ever seriously considered. If anyone wants to get more on this, send me a email. Stay Safe....
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

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  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Sitting in my chair, listening to the scanner while the young kids respond


    Van Buren County, Michigan has a very simple system. We are rural, only 14 fire depts county wide, it goes like this:

    Each fire dept or ems provider is assigned a two digit number.

    For example 17 is Lawrence, 18 is Hartford.

    The next two numbers indicate the type of unit. 10's are ems, 20's are pumpers, 30's are tankers, 40's and 50's are various ladders, 60's are grass rigs, 70's are rescues, 80's are special units such as air or lighting, 90's are utility and misc.

    EMS officers use their dept. designation and a single number. Example, 17-1 is Lawrence QR Chief.

    Fire officers use dept. name and then 101, 102, etc.
    Example: Hartford chief is Hartford 101, capt. is Hartford 103.

    In terms of EMS, our county has a number of first resp0onse teams. They are BLS non-transport. Their units are all designated as 10 and the ALS ambulances start at 11.

    Hope this helps.
    Pete Sinclair
    Hartford, MI
    IACOJ (Retired Division)

  10. #10
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    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Here and There


    In our borough, just about everyone has a radio designator.
    For firefighters, it's your dept name and a number. Chiefs and deputy chiefs are "1" and "2" (as in Palmer 1 and Central 2). Asst Chiefs are 3-X, Batt. Chiefs are 4-X, Captains 5-X, LTs 6-X, Engineers 7-X, interior FFs 8-X, basic FFs and trainees (who don't usually get radios unless they are EMTs) are 9-X, with "X" being whatever number they are in line. For straight EMTs, the are all Medic X-Y, with X being the number of their area and Y being whatever number they are. Ambulance chiefs are "1" and deputy chiefs "2" (for example, Medic 6-1 is the chief of Wasilla Ambulance, Medic 8-2 is the deputy chief of Big Lake/Meadow Lakes Ambulance). As for apparatus, ambulances are just the town name & "ambulance" and a number if there's more than one (like Wasilla Ambulance 2, Willow Ambulance). Fire and rescue apparatus are the type, station number, and another number for tankers and engines (Tanker 12-11 out of station 12-1, Rescue 65 out of station 6-5, Engine 711 out of station 7-1, etc).

  11. #11
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    Lewiston2FF's Avatar
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    Mar 2000
    Niagara Falls, NY, USA


    Our county wide dispatch and numbering system is based on the departments in the county in alphabetical order (with a few exceptions) this is based on the NYS FD number assigned. Long story I will try to explain.
    NYS has given each county a designator number, and each FD within that county its own number. For example Niagara County's number is 32, my FD number according to NYS is 32008. Therefore since we are all on the same county dispatch my FD number is 8. Ambulances are designated as R-9 units and if an FD has more than one an A, B, or C follows the R-9 as appropriate. Engines are E-X, X being the number assigned by the FD. Tankers are T-X, Aerials A-X, and All other vehicles M-X with Chiefs getting the M-7 designation, Asst. Chiefs get an A, B, C... after the M-7 depending on their rank.

    Might make more sense if I list it this way.
    Chief 8M-7
    1st Asst. Chief 8M-7A
    2nd Asst. Chief 8M-7B
    Engines 8E-1, 8E-3
    Tanker 8T-2 (Thought it would be to confusing to have an E-2 and T-2)
    Ambulance 8R-9
    Brush Truck 8M-10
    Shawn M. Cecula
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

  12. #12
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    RyanEMVFD's Avatar
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    Oct 1999
    Why? It's not like you're going to visit me! But I'm near Waco, Texas


    we follow the county method of designations. each dept is issued a station number, for instance ours is station 36. the chief is station # then 00 (i.e. 3600). the assistant chief starts at station # then 10 and the other officers follow after that. firefighters start at 20 and go up. fire trucks start with the fire truck type then station number (for example our engine is engine 36). if there are two fire engines then it becomes E361 and E362.

    my number is 3610 and the main truck i work on is our Rescue 36.
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  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Nov 2002


    Chief Woods, I would like to see radio designations for Officers. At least something like they do in Anne Arundel where they indicate they have "3 and 1" (3 Firefighters, 1 Officer) I think it would help responding command officers know who they have when they arrive.

  14. #14
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2002


    My dept: Chiefs, Capts. etc. Benton 1, 2, 3 etc
    Trucks Start at 12 and go up.

    My old Dept: Officers where 1- 19 Nurses, Paramedics 20-29
    EMT's 30-49, First Responders 50-69,Firefighters 70&up.

    Trucks: Raymond Engine 1, 2, 3, etc
    Rescue 1, 2, 3,
    Tanker 1,
    Brush truck 1
    Last edited by Benton7; 11-27-2002 at 04:48 PM.

  15. #15
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    Fire304's Avatar
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    Jun 2002
    At the Helm


    We are a combined EMS/Fire unit, so we have some EMS only, some cross trained, some fire only.

    100 series is EMS
    200 is cross trained
    300 is fire

    I am 304 since I am not EMS trained. Once I get my EMT I will be 204. Medics occupy the 40 block, so an EMS only medic would be 142. A FF'r/medic is 249. We ran into a problem when we got more than 10 medics, and now that we are over 100 total personel we're had to duplicate some numbers (227 and 327 come to mind). A little better planing for growth (we grew very fast) would have been better, but it works.

    As for officers, they are assigned "car" numbers, so
    Car-1 is the big white hat.
    Captains are the 10 series w/company number as their 2nd digit so Car-12 is the E-2 captain.
    20 series is LT's so 22 is E-2 lt.
    Platoon 4 is EMS, so Car-14 and 24 are the Capt and LT for EMS.

    It works pretty good, on the fire ground we get assigned unit call signs based on which truck/position you are in.

    Tower1 pump to Interior Command...
    Tower1 interior to Tower1 roof

  16. #16
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    May 1999
    Richmond Va


    We only run BLS first responder, the city ambulance service runs all ALS ambulances and handles transport. FD EMS ofFicers are EMS 1 (captain), & EMS 2 (Lt). All the ambulances are designated "medic ##", and they have their own deisgnations for their officers.
    IAFF 995
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  17. #17
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    Our county and the two adjoining OES area counties share a 4 digit number system that tells you where and what you have coming by the number itself. Example: Engine 4111

    The first two numbers tell you what department is sending the equipment.

    21xx - 45xx is Santa Cruz County Fire Agencies
    1700 and 4600 is CDF (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection) = they have there own 4 digit number system for the whole state but have been included so there is no confusion int he three county system.
    51xx - 89xx is Monterey County Fire Agencies
    91xx - 93xx is San Benito County Fire Agencies

    The third number tells you what kind of equipment you are getting

    xx0x is a chief/admin officer with xx00 reserved for department chief and xx03 reserved for On Duty Batt Chief
    xx1x is a ICS Type One Engine
    xx2x is a ICS Type Two Engine
    xx3x is a ICS Type Three Engine
    xx4x is a ICS Type Four - Type Six Engine
    xx5x is a Water Tender
    xx6x is a Rescue/HazMat/Breathing Support
    xx7x is a Truck Company
    xx8x is a Fire Prevention Officer
    xx9x is a utility vehicle (Pickup, Staff Car without the assigned person in it)

    The Last number usually tells you what station the equipment is coming from.

    My call sign is 4105 so I am an admin officer from Santa Cruz County Fire.

    By knowing the number series its very easy to tell what you are getting and from where its coming.

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