1. #1
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    SamsonFCDES's Avatar
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    Jul 2003

    Default Radio Protical/Call Signs

    Im a looking into different raido proticals and call signs for use in my Volunteer VFD. We have always just used names/last names, a habit we picked up from the Fed wildland crews.

    But, for out local jurisdiction, we would like to come up with a new system that preserves a small shred of anonimousy.

    What do you use for radio call signs.

    Right now we use names for ICs and FFs.

    We use numbers, 1-14 to designate vehciles. Numbers realy dont mean much on this and are asigned to vehicles are they are purchased/retired.

    Just looking for ideas, thanks.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Mar 2000


    Command/Line Officers have regionally assigned "Car" numbers.

    Our Department number is 90. We have Stations 190 and 290. Our Chief is Car 90, Deputy is Car 190, down to 3rd LT being Car 790.
    Apparatus designated by type (Engine Tank, Engine, Ladder, etc) followed by number and station number -- so we have ET190, ET290, E190, L190, etc.)

    -- Once command established, they usually switch to functional names (Command, Ops, Interior, Water Supply, etc)

    Members use either:
    -- Apparatus they're operating
    -- Function they're assigned (Roof, etc)
    -- Name if neither the above is appropriate
    -- Channel 5, our low-power simplex we usually use for traffic control gets pretty informal with first names, but that's because it's normally just 2 or 3 guys handling traffic direction alone on it.
    Last edited by Dalmatian90; 12-22-2003 at 01:06 PM.

  3. #3
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    Nov 2002


    We use a county wide dispatch for multiple departments. Some time long ago each department was assigned a station number. Then all apparatus, personnel everything derives from that number.

    My department number is 71. So my man number is 7134. My truck number is E71 for Engine 71. Our Chief's are Chief 71 and Chief 72. All our officers are Officer 71-74 according to their rank and seniorty.
    AKA: Mr. Whoo-Whoo

    IAFF Local 3900

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  4. #4

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    Jun 2002
    West Virginia


    My county is like ff7134's. Each department is assigned a number. We currently use 100-800. My department is 800. Officers are 801-807. Apparatus are 811-820. Members are then assigned an individual number starting from 831 to 899.
    These opinions are my own, not of my company or my affiliates

    2 in, 2 Out, Pass on, Collar up, SHOW TIME!

  5. #5
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    Dave1983's Avatar
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    Oct 2003
    Gator Country


    Here we have a county numbering system. Stations are 1-70. Our stations are 26,27 & 28. Apparatus in each station goes by type/station. So at our HQ station (county #27) we have Engine 27 (E27)is the primary engine, Marine 27 (M27)is our rescue boat, District 27 (D27) is our district chief, Pumper 27 (P27) is the reserve engine and Utilility 27 (U27) is the utility vehicle (4X4) that we use to run errands, pick up suplies etc.

    All admin units are numbered 100-900, with two letters in front to designate which dept. 100 for chief, 200 asst. chief, 300 training, 400 prevention, 500 ems, 600 operations, 800 pub ed, 900 maint. 700 isnt used much by anyone and I'm not sure off hand what it's for. So our chief is PS100, our fire marshal is PS400 and our mechanic is PS900 ect.

    Individual crew members dont have seperate radio ID's other than by unit. The company officer is L27 (lieutenant for E27) Medic 27 is for the paramedic, Driver 27 the driver.


  6. #6
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    Sep 2000
    South Carolina


    The vol. fire dept's on our county (Kershaw Co. SC)fire channel use this system:
    XX being the station numbers 11 to 22.

    XX01 - Engine
    XX02 - 2nd Engine
    XX03 - 3rd Engine
    XX04 - Tanker
    XX05 - 2nd Tanker
    XX06 - Brush
    XX07 - 2nd Brush
    XX08 - Service/1st Responder
    XX09 - 2nd Service/1st Responder
    XX10 - Chief
    XX11 - Asst. Chief
    XX12 - 1st Capt.
    XX13 - 2nd Capt.
    XX14 - 1st LT.
    XX15 - 2nd LT.
    XX16 to XX99 - firefighters/members

  7. #7
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    Dec 2000


    Originally posted by ff7134
    We use a county wide dispatch for multiple departments. Some time long ago each department was assigned a station number. Then all apparatus, personnel everything derives from that number.

    My department number is 71. So my man number is 7134. My truck number is E71 for Engine 71. Our Chief's are Chief 71 and Chief 72. All our officers are Officer 71-74 according to their rank and seniorty.
    We also have pretty much the same system (although most departments in our county moved to their own frequencies many years ago).

    Ours is first digit=department, second digit=station, third digit=apparatus type.

    Until the late 60's my department had 3 stations, our's was no. 2 so 721 is our first out engine, 722 our second out engine, 723 our rescue (ambulance), etc.

    Since we no longer have other stations, they changed the officer designations to 7x0: 700 is the Chief of Department, 710-730= Asst. Chiefs, 740-790 = Captains.

    Firefighters are not usually assigned radios to our IDs are just 1 through 30. If we do not have an IMS sector designation or apparatus number to use as a radio ID (such as working at a fundraising event, etc.), we are "Firefighter 10" or "Unit 10".

  8. #8
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    Dec 2001


    We also have a county wide fire system that dispatches multiple departments

    Departs have been assigned a beginning number 1-9 ie 6xx

    x00 is overall the department
    x01-x09 denotes officers
    with x01 being chief
    x02 being 1st asst and so on

    x10 is the 1st medic unit
    x20 is a weed or fast attack truck
    x21 is the 2nd such truck
    x30 is the 1st engine
    x40 is the 1st tanker(if a truck is both tanker/engine the dept chooses how it wants it designated
    x50 is the 1st aerial
    x60 is the 1st utility

    makes it very eash to know which department and what type of vehicle
    is on it's way

    If you don't respond.....who will

    IACOJ EMS Bureau Member
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  9. #9
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    Feb 2000
    Here and There


    A system I've seen used for personnel involves using the department name and a numerical designator
    For example
    Smallville 1 = Chief
    Smallville 2 = Dep Chief
    Smallville 5-1, 5-2, etc = Captains
    Smallville 6-1, 6-2, etc = LTs
    Smallville 7-1, 7-2, etc = engineers
    Smallville 8-1, 8-2, etc = firefighters
    and so on depending on your rank/job structure. If you have a number associated with the department or station, you could use that in place of the dept name.

    As for apparatus, how detailed you get depends on how many departments you have mutual aid agreements with or share a channel. If you use your own channel, then Engine 1, Rescue 2, etc are OK, just adding your dept name if you go mutual aid. If you share freqs, then it might be best to have an area wide numbering system.

  10. #10
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    cozmosis's Avatar
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    Jan 1999


    The career side of my department uses a three-digit call number for each of the on-duty personnel. Chiefs & staff positions have a 50x number. (Ex- fire chief is 501, fire marshal is 502, etc.) The senior firefighter on duty is 510 and is followed by 511, 512, etc.

    Some of the fully-career departments around me use a system based on riding positon on the apparatus. The captain of Engine 9 would be Engine 9-A. Other riding spots are would be called Engine 9-B, Engine 9-C, etc.

    In the department where I got my start as a POC firefighter, the fire chief's favorite number was 28. So, they had a four-digit numbering system based on 28. The chief was 2801. All other officers were between 2802 & 2809. Career firefighters were between 2810 & 2819. POC firefighters were 2820 and above.

  11. #11
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    Sep 2002
    Montgomery County, PA


    Radio identification is pretty simple for us...we use plain language, there are truck numbers assigned, but mostly used for individual piece IDs. Kinda goes like this (XX for station IDs):

    Chief XX
    Assistant thru LT XX
    Engine XX
    Engine XX-2 (for second engine from station)
    Ladder/Quint/Tower XX
    Rescue XX
    Utility/Special Service XX
    Medic XXX

    FF's using portables usually go on air with Portable XX or Portable XX-2

    The only difference is what we call 'Borough Chiefs'. These are for towns that have multiple stations within their limits. The municipality appoints a chief to oversee both stations on scene....makes for a unified command structure. These chiefs would be identified by the town name and then the number 5. For example: Pottstown Borough Chief: Pottstown-5, Royersford Boro: Royersford-5, etc....
    Once again....the above views are my own and not that of my department. (And probably should not be construed as having any real meaning, whatsoever!)


  12. #12
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    Nov 2000
    WC IL MABAS Div. 44

    Default Remember KISS

    Keep It Simple Stupid

    Keep your system as simple as possable to get the most out of it.
    This is especially important for members with out a lot of radio commuication experiance. Our system is very simple to use. We use the district name and an unit identifier. All apparatus is numbered 1-9 or by use. IE- Smithville Engine 1, Smithville Tanker, Smithville Brush Truck 4. All individule FF in county start with 10 and go up.

    XXX is district name
    XXXE1 Engine 1
    XXX10 Chief
    XXX11 AC
    XXX24 FF

    We use plain english, no ten codes. By using the district name in the identifier it eliminates any doubt of talking to the wrong unit when multiple calls are happening in the county. Command always answers as XXX Command
    Proudly serving as Vice-President of the Illinois Delegation of the IACOJ

  13. #13
    55 Years & Still Rolling
    hwoods's Avatar
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    Jun 2002
    Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....


    Like many others, we have a county wide system. Since we started 1n 1924 with a county numbering system, we've had time to work the bugs out. Our stations are numbered 1 thru 53 with a few empty slots where stations merged, closed or whatever. My station is 18, Engines are 181 and 183 (we sold 182, next new engine will be 182 again) Tower Ladder is Tower 18, Heavy Rescue is Squad 18, Chiefs are Chief 18, Chief 18A, (Assistant Chief - Me) and 18B (Deputy Chief) Members below Chief Officers do not have radio designations, Except for those who are members of specialty teams. We handle 125,000+ calls a year, on one dispatch, two EMS, Two Fireground, and one Admin. channels, some fireground work is done on low power "talkaround" channels as well. Yes, we could use a few more channels, but we're getting the job done as is. Anyone want to listen, there is a link from FH.com links page. Or, pick it up direct at www.wlhvfd.com which is the site of the West Lanham Hills VFD. Stay Safe....
    Last edited by hwoods; 12-23-2003 at 07:53 PM.
    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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  14. #14
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    Nov 2002


    The individual man numbers are part of our Accountability/Down Firefighter/RIT. All our radios have a "Man Down" button. When this is activated in transmittes a code to the County 911. They use that man number and then contact the IC notifying them who is in distress. This also, kicks out an open mike feature on the radio every 2 minutes, lasting 1 minute. It will keep doing this till the radio is reset or the battery dies.
    AKA: Mr. Whoo-Whoo

    IAFF Local 3900

    IACOJ-The Crusty Glow Worm

    ENGINE 302 - The Fire Rats


  15. #15
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    Nov 2003
    Buffalo, New York


    The department I am in is a volunteer department out of New York State. We designate as follows:

    Snyder 9, 9-1, 9-2 (Chiefs)
    Snyder 1,2,3,5,6,7,7-1 (Engines, Trucks, Light/Heavy Rescues)
    Snyder L-# (Lutenants)
    Snyder C-# (Captains)

    If we know a certain person has a portable we will say (EXAMPLE) "Snyder 6 Portable 2"

    **We dont call individual fireman**

  16. #16
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    RobbyJR307's Avatar
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    Dec 2002


    We use a county wide dispatch and everybody has a station number in the county. Our station number is 3 so our chief goes by Chief 3, our Assit Chiefs go by Assit 3-1 and 3-2, and then Captain 3, and so on.

    For our units it pretty much the same thing.
    Our engines Engine 3-1 and Engine 3-2
    Our Service truck is Service 3 or Special Service 3

    Thats how it goes for all departments in our county.
    Engine Co 3
    Westmoreland City

    These opinions are mine and mine only nobody eles.

  17. #17
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    Mar 2003
    Sedro-Woolley WA


    Same as most others. County Widw numbering and dispatch.

    1st Dept. Number
    2nd Station Number
    3rd Unit Number

    County numbering goes as follows for single stations
    xx01-xx09 are assigned to line officers
    xx10 command units
    xx11-xx14 engines
    xx15 Ladders
    xx16 Tenders
    xx17 Rescue
    xx18 Utilitys
    xx19 Aid Units
    xx100-? personnel numbers
    If you have more stations then you would replace the #1 as stated above with a 2, third station with a 3 and so on.

    Works well when you have a mutal aid call. remember the dept. # responding and all other numbers are the same for each unit.

  18. #18
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    Jun 2002


    Every department has a station number. (Even if there are multiple stations, the department gets one number. This is reffered to as the station number though, and dispatches are "Station xx")

    We happen to be station 30
    Then we have:

    01-Chief \
    02-Deputy Chief |
    03,04-Asst. Chief |
    05,06,07-Captains(Truck, Engine, Rescue) }-Department Standards
    08-Safety Officer |
    09-Fire Police Captain |
    10-Fire Marshall /

    The next part is used countywide

    51-60-Squad(52=Fire Police)
    91-99-ALS(For fire departments, it's also special response.)
    Any statements I have made are my statements, and my statements alone.

  19. #19
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    backdraft663's Avatar
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    Oct 2002
    Cincinnati Ohio Area


    We use a county wide dispatch, ours is alot different from all the above replys, each fire department no matter how many stations gets a call sign, ours is WILLIAM, others are robert, lincoln, nora, xray, charles, and so on just like the police use when calling out your license plate number. The main station in each department is station 1 then if you have more than one it will be station 2 and so on.

    When they radio us they say your station number then your call sign then the apparatus number.

    IE: 1 William 21

    here are the numbering for all our apparatus

    11-19 are used for engines
    20-29- ladder
    31-39- tankers
    41-49- rescues
    51-59- brush
    61-69- misc
    91-92- ambulance
    96- first responder

    All chiefs in our county use the number 90

    If they were trying to get in touch with our chief they would simply say

    1 William 90

    If you are on the radio talking you identify yourself by a number, it is your member number with a 7 in front

    mine would be 1 William 730, since im member #30.

    Its fairly simple but many dont understand it. I think thats the most simplest way I can explain it.

    You say 1 William (then one of the below) if your designated position is in the numbers stated.
    90- chief
    88 89- asst chief
    85-87- captain
    81-84- lieutentants
    80- ems chief?

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  20. #20
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    Jun 2003


    our department uses station number and individual numbers...ex;station is 11 person is helmet number 72 1172
    vehicles are 1115 - 1119 personell are numbers 62-93

  21. #21
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    Feb 2003
    Homer NY

    Default callsigns

    in my county they go as follow
    the first # = department
    the second # = who/vechile
    the third # = vechicle #
    EX. my dept as follow
    501. 0 are engines
    511. 1 are brush units
    521. 2 are tankers
    531. 3 are ladders
    541. 4 are rescues
    x51. 5 are ambulances
    561. 6 are chiefs
    571. 7 are captains
    581. 8 are leutenants
    x91. 9 are code enforcement in city only
    posts are solely my opinion.

  22. #22
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    Dickey's Avatar
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    Feb 2000


    You should check with your county to see if there is a county wide system in place. If not, then ask your neighbors what they use so you don't use the same system and get confused.

    Here, we have a county wide system.

    Altoona is designated as "8"

    So officers are:
    400-Chief (his police chief number)
    801- ***'t Chief
    802- ***'t Chief
    803- Captain
    804- Captain
    805- Lieut.
    806- " "
    807- " "
    808- " "
    810- Admin. Assistant

    then firefighters are given numbers from 811-850, based on senority that changes every year if there is any turn over. Our trucks are the same such as "Altoona Engine 1" "Altoona Rescue 1" etc.

    Best bet is to make something that is easy to use, easy to remember and easy to change or expand when your department changes or grows. Also remember your neighbors, gotta have something that will work with them as well.

    Keep your head down and your powder dry.
    Lt.Jason Knecht
    Altoona Fire Rescue
    Altoona, WI

  23. #23
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    Jul 2001
    Not the end of the earth but I can see it from here...


    Our system is a little different than some of the others here....to start off, in Louisiana we have parishes, not counties (just have to be different) That said, all 5 departments in the parish are dispatched by the Sheriff's Office dispatchers. We all 5 use the same numbering system which consists of letters and numbers...for example:

    NF-xx A Napoleonville unit
    PF-XX A Paincourtville unit
    LF-XX A Labadieville unit
    BL-XX A Bayou L'Ourse unit
    PB-XX A Pierre Part/Belle River unit

    In each department, XX-1 is the chief (for example, I'm PF-1) and XX-20 is the main station. Anything outside of those is sort of up to the individual department. The lowest numbers just above 1 are normally the apparatus numbers (PF-2, PF-3, etc.) Then individuals are assigned the higher numbers.

    The main drawback with this system, I feel, is that the TYPE of unit is not designated in the call sign. Unless I'm really familiar with my mutual aid departments, I have no way of knowing what type of apparatus they are sending.

    Last year I made a minor change to the numbering system, which was to assign all the captains with a number in the teens which corresponded to their apparatus. (Ex. PF-12 is captain of PF-2, PF-16 is captain of PF-6, etc.)I've found that this makes it easier to remember people's numbers (for me,anyway). I'm not sure if the other departments have followed suit, although a couple of the other chiefs commented that they thought it was a good idea.

  24. #24
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    firefighterbeau's Avatar
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    Aug 2003
    Central ND USA


    our dept each firefighter has a number 101-118. 101 is chief and it goes down the line from there for use on our local fire channel only. each truck/apparatus has a number that is a state radio number used for calling dispatch, also things like engine 5 if you can't remember the state unit number.

  25. #25
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    Nov 2003


    Here .
    Made a chart to show how the numbering is within the district and the cities that are within the district boundaries . Dispatch is KOK411

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