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  1. #1
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    Default Radio Procedures

    My department currently has no procedures in place for communicating person to person over the radio. Most everyone uses first names or last names. I feel that is very unprofessional and would rather use a number system to communicate between firefighters. Any thoughts?


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    Forum Member fireman4949's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aspeltz
    My department currently has no procedures in place for communicating person to person over the radio. Most everyone uses first names or last names. I feel that is very unprofessional and would rather use a number system to communicate between firefighters. Any thoughts?
    For F/G ops:

    Engine 1A..........Officer
    Engine 1B..........Driver
    Engine 1C..........Sr. FF
    Engine 1D..........Jr. FF

    Truck 4A............Officer
    Truck 4B............Driver
    etc., etc., etc.

    The IC will have a specific Command designation (for example: Elm St. Command), as will Operations and Sector Commanders.



    For communicating when not on a scene, assign each person in the dept a radio ID# based upon seniority and rank.

    Chief....................101
    Deputy Chief(s).........102, 103, etc.
    Captains...............201, 202, 203, etc.'s
    Lieutenants...........300's
    Drivers.................400's
    Firefighters...........500's

    The ID#'s must be updated as needed when personnel join and/or leave the dept.

    This is the system we use and it works very well.




    Kevin
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    IAFF Local 2339
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    Use task oriented designations based on riding assignments...such as...

    Engine-

    Engine 27 = officer
    Engine 27 Nozzle,
    Engine 27 Back-up..etc.

    Most often it is abbrivated and said as 27 Nozzle or 27 Control etc...

    Ladder 171 OV= L171 Outside Vent man.
    Ladder 171 Roof= L171 Roof man....etc.

    This way there is little confusion over what what said as far as was that a B or D? or who was that...in that Roof conveys immediately who you are and where you should be operating.

    FTM-PTB

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    Default What's the priority

    I understand your desire to sound more professional by using call signs rather than names, but what is more important on the fireground, communications that sound professional or communications that are clear and effective?

    If it takes using names to communicate effectively, then that's what you should do. If you switch to call signs, there will be people who can't remember everyone else's, let alone their own - every department has that. What happens if you try to communicate important information to "Dave" but you accidentally use "Steve's" call sign?

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    Using names for incident communications?
    I have a huge problem with this....

    First, I do not want my name being used over the radio due to those out there in "scannerland". I have a scanner in my home and I do not need my wife or kids hearing my name over the radio while I am at work.

    Secondly, what if there are two names which are the same? I agree with using clear and effective communications on the fireground. However, way too many people have radios and scanners these days. In a Unified command structure with a multi-agency response....names will not get the job done.

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    Well in our dept not every member has a radio just the chief asst. chief captons and safety officer now we do have extra radios on the equipment truck which are used during operations which then we use a "dynamic call sign system" ( example - 1 person on the team for a interor attack will have a radio which they will have the call sign interor ops or so ) so call sign depends on task at hand like traffic will be traffic 1 traffic 2 and so forth

    I hope this explains things well enough to give a understanding but it works well and isn't confusing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by firemedicgm
    I understand your desire to sound more professional by using call signs rather than names, but what is more important on the fireground, communications that sound professional or communications that are clear and effective?

    If it takes using names to communicate effectively, then that's what you should do. If you switch to call signs, there will be people who can't remember everyone else's, let alone their own - every department has that. What happens if you try to communicate important information to "Dave" but you accidentally use "Steve's" call sign?
    WGAF about "sounding" more profesional. This is about true accountability...this is about easy and thorough communications. I don't care what it sounds like to anyone else other than the people who need to hear it. "Sound more profesional"? is that the line of thinking your department uses to determine if a tactic is sound and effective on the fireground? "How does this look to everyone?" Define looking profesional...I've seen persons on 6th Ave "looking" Profesional how ever I'm almost sure they are squandering my investments while making themselves rich between their 3-martini luncheons.

    It isn't that hard...if the company officer wants to speak to the roof man of Ladder 18...then he would transmit "Ladder 1-8 to 1-8 roof"

    If the officer of Engine 17 wants to call for more water pressure...he would transmit Engine 1-7 to 1-7 Chauffeur...give us more water.

    It is irrellevant who is the roof or Chauffeur for that day...Billy, Petey, Joey, Jimmy...what does matter is there is only one 18 Irons....17 Nozzle...etc. It not only communciates postions but duties and nothing more. I have a number of guys in my company by the same name...do you think that might cause a small issue.

    If Dave gives a report at a fire located on the 3rd floor of a 6 story building Dave to Bill:"we have fire extension to the 4th floor rear...".

    Does bill know where Dave is? Does the Battalion Chief for the day know where Dave is or what his assigned duties were for the tour? However if instead you heard 11 Roof to Battalion 4...there is fire extension three floors down from the roof (and the chief can see the building is a 6 story tenement) Now everyone knows that the roof man looked into the rear court yard and now sees fire issuing from the rear windows on the 4th floor. This would be good for the officer of the Engine with the handline to know as they could then make their way towards that location or the Officer in charge of the second line could take their line up there.

    What if after giving a Maday for immenent collapse in the rear and a collapse occurs...now no one can find Dave... if he were 20 OV and gave the report...the chiefs could begin to assume that he was in the rear prior to his transmittion. And they would know they are looking for 20 OV not Dave who was the Back-up of Engine 17 but Dave who was the OVM of Ladder 20.

    As one can see using terms which designate postion, duties and roles only enhances safety and efficency on the fireground...it isn't about "appearances" or "sounding" profesional...it is about being profesional and doing this job using a little common sense.

    FTM-PTB

    PS-Can anyone explain this whole issue of "sounding or looking" profesional. I don't know what it means...if you mean look like you know what your doing...I personally would rather work with firemen who DO know what they are doing...instead of appearing like they know what they are doing.

    I see many persons on here cite this as the reasons for their actions and it just astounds me the number of individuals who claim this as the reasonings behind their actions. Nothing personal...but where did this come from? Is it in Brunnos books or something.
    Last edited by FFFRED; 01-27-2006 at 02:09 PM.

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    our department uses numbers for example chief is FC1 then it goes fireman 1 and so on. I cant remember those numbers and if your calling engine 6 somtimes fireman 6 answers. But this is the way its always been they say and I say what happens when we get a female on our department and we cant say fireman anymore.I like last names or task specific such as interior or vent and so on or team smith.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFFRED
    WGAF about "sounding" more profesional. This is about true accountability...this is about easy and thorough communications. I don't care what it sounds like to anyone else other than the people who need to hear it. "Sound more profesional"? is that the line of thinking your department uses to determine if a tactic is sound and effective on the fireground? "How does this look to everyone?" Define looking profesional...I've seen persons on 6th Ave "looking" Profesional how ever I'm almost sure they are squandering my investments while making themselves rich between their 3-martini luncheons.

    It isn't that hard...if the company officer wants to speak to the roof man of Ladder 18...then he would transmit "Ladder 1-8 to 1-8 roof"

    If the officer of Engine 17 wants to call for more water pressure...he would transmit Engine 1-7 to 1-7 Chauffeur...give us more water.

    It is irrellevant who is the roof or Chauffeur for that day...Billy, Petey, Joey, Jimmy...what does matter is there is only one 18 Irons....17 Nozzle...etc. It not only communciates postions but duties and nothing more. I have a number of guys in my company by the same name...do you think that might cause a small issue.

    If Dave gives a report at a fire located on the 3rd floor of a 6 story building Dave to Bill:"we have fire extension to the 4th floor rear...".

    Does bill know where Dave is? Does the Battalion Chief for the day know where Dave is or what his assigned duties were for the tour? However if instead you heard 11 Roof to Battalion 4...there is fire extension two floors down from the roof (and the chief can see the building is a 6 story tenement) Now everyone knows that the roof man looked into the rear court yard and now sees fire issuing from the rear windows on the 4th floor. This would be good for the officer of the Engine with the handline to know as they could then make their way towards that location or the Officer in charge of the second line could take their line up there.

    What if after giving a Maday for immenent collapse in the rear and a collapse occurs...now no one can find Dave... if he were 20 OV and gave the report...the chiefs could begin to assume that he was in the rear prior to his transmittion. And they would know they are looking for 20 OV not Dave who was the Back-up of Engine 17 but Dave who was the OVM of Ladder 20.

    As one can see using terms which designate postion, duties and roles only enhances safety and efficency on the fireground...it isn't about "appearances" or "sounding" profesional...it is about being profesional and doing this job using a little common sense.

    FTM-PTB
    Fred, as always, right on the money

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    For all of my future comments on this issue, I defer to FFFRED. Very, very well put. I agree 100% - task or assignment specific identification is the way to go. Thanks.

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    Firstly, we use a very similar method to FFFRED's examples. So much easier to identify unit and task function than to try and remember who is in each slot especially with overtime guys riding off shift, guys from other stations and off duty guys coming in to the scene and on spare pieces.

    Secondly, ASPELTZ, wlecome to the forums! I thought I was the only person hailing (originally) from Red Wing, Minnesota (21st Street) here! Are they still using 4 digit numbers for apparatus out there? My father was on Cannon Falls FD and they had a seemingly complicated numbering system (to me) with 4 digits in place of calling units Cannon Falls Engine 1 it was like 4591?
    Proud to be an American, Union Firefighter!

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    Task specific, anything else can cause confusion. Task specific allow all to know who you are, where you are (generally) and what youre suppose to be doing and allows them to immediately reference in their minds the conditions at your locations with the conditions at their location even if they arent taking part in the radio traffic. Bubba to Jim-Bob just doesnt cut it.
    Just another one of the 99%ers looking up.

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    We generally use task designations too, but not quite as descriptive as Vent or Roof. For multi-unit assignments, teams are assigned a call sign as they check in with accountability or command.

    Command = Incident Commander
    Safety = Scene Safety Officer
    Ladder 1 = Aerial Operator on Ladder 1
    Engine 2 = Pump Operator on Engine 2
    Tac 1 = Fire Suppression/Search Team #1
    Tac 2 = Fire Suppresion/Search Team #2
    RIT = Rapid Intervention Team (could be numbered if more than one team is activated)
    Med 1 = Medical Team #1

    Teams could be given geographic or zone designators as well such as Tac 2 assigned to Bravo Side Exposures (called Tac 2 Bravo).

    etc.
    Last edited by mcaldwell; 02-07-2006 at 03:58 PM.
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    We use both number and task oriented designations...never first and last names. If you're just a regular firefighter you use your task designation. If you're a line officer you use your number designation. Task oriented designations also work well with mutual aid since you would more than likely have all kinds of numbers being blurted out over the radios.

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    does anyone just say like "engine 1, portable 1" like in Ladder 49? That seems the easiest way to do things.

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    we have state wide ics. You are what you are doing and opperators are their piece.

    engine111 operator = engine 111
    1st hose team = fire attack 1
    1st search team = search 1
    ventilaton = vent 1
    safety officer = saftey
    rit 1 = rit 1

    Its not complicated and it enables crews to be relieved without confusion on the radio. The 1st hose line will allways be fire attack 1 even if the crew on the line has been relieved 3 times. Also your job may change if it does then your name changes to. You may start as fire attack 1 be relieved exit the building change your bottle then be tasked as the 2nd seach team you then become search 2.

    The command is structured similarly. The incident commander is the local station number followed by a zero. For example station 1-1 ic would be 110. a typical senario would be the duty officer takes command upon arrival and is 110 later the battalion chief arrives and assumes command the battalion chief becomes 110 and the duty officer gets reassinged to what ever the chief wants examples:

    Division C command = Division C

    Floor 8 command = floor 8

    accountability etc...

    this system helps cut down the confusion and is simple to use.

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    _______________
    Last edited by sfd2605; 03-17-2008 at 08:06 PM.

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    does anyone just say like "engine 1, portable 1" like in Ladder 49? That seems the easiest way to do things.
    No. Because then I have to remember who is wearing "portable 1", or what task he was supposed to perform. .
    Proud East Coast Traditionalist.

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    We keep it fairly simple around here. On scene, officers are called by their unit name or what group/division they are in charge of. Driver/operators go by their unit name, ie. "Engine 76 to Engine 76 driver." Firefighters go by their radio numbers if they have to get on the radio.

    Off of the scene, we have radio numbers that are split up county-wide by city and then again by agency. My city has the 700's assigned to us. 701 through 729 belong to the police department (but 701 is the only one used), 731 through 759 would belong to the EMS department if we had one, and 761 to 799 are for the fire department. It's like this for every department in the county. Every department has *61 as their fire chief, then 62 as deputy, and so on. 764, 765, 766, and 767 are all captains. Everyone else has their radio number assigned randomly.

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    All members, including volunteers have portables and are assigned unit numbers (1, the chief, through .... however many members we currently have). For day to day non-fireground communication it's simply "Unit __ calling UNit ___".

    On the fireground, we use a combo of unit numbers and sectors or tasks. We use command and generally designate interior, roof, etc. on structures fires. On brush fires generally we will use unit numbers as we are assigned a particuliar area, but beacause of the fluid and random nature of the incident it's often difficult to define geographic sectors. When possible and we are working of a roadway we do, but it's not often.

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