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Thread: Response Codes

  1. #1
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    Default Response Codes

    We are having a disussion on our dept. about response coeds, ie: Code 1 ,2 and 3. Our SOP we are looking at states code 1 and 2 run with no lights or sirens, code 2 siren and lights in trafic only and code 3 lights and sirens. Is this pretty standard or are there different ways that other depts. run?


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    MembersZone Subscriber mtnfireguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSMV72 View Post
    We are having a disussion on our dept. about response coeds, ie: Code 1 ,2 and 3. Our SOP we are looking at states code 1 and 2 run with no lights or sirens, code 2 siren and lights in trafic only and code 3 lights and sirens. Is this pretty standard or are there different ways that other depts. run?
    We have to modes:

    Responding - Lights, sirens, horns, etc

    Enroute/Routine - no lights, sirens, horns, etc
    Buckle Up, Slow Down, Arrive Alive
    "Everybody Goes Home"

    IACOJ 2003

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    Our dept has a code 1 (no lights or anything), a code 3 (lit up like a Christmas tree with siren blaring) and a code 4. The code 4 is basically a code 3 response, but in a technically non-emergency situation (ie, responding to a call). The code 4 is (theoretically) used to get an apparatus back into the district ( a very humourous term, if you knew my city) or back into service quickly, because of mitigating circumstances (ie, multiple calls). I've been working at this dept for about 10 years now, and have only ran a code 4 once and then only because we had an arsonist setting fires at some of our historic buildings (my town relies heavily on tourism). We used to have a code 2 (lights, no siren), but have long since discontinued it.

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    We have alphabetic response codes. Alpha is non-emergency. Anything Bravo and up is lights and sirens. I'm not sure if there are any codes past Delta, but as the letters go up, so does the priority. Not that there should be any distinction in how quickly or safely you get to the scene based upon the pt's condition. Either you turn on the lights and sirens or you don't. I don't necessarily agree with the Alpha-Delta codes because of that, but it's part of the EMD system, and it probably helps the dispatchers or the record-keepers. Because of that, it'll stick around.

    Another service for which I work uses Priority 1, 2, and 3. 1 being lights and sirens (emergent), 2 being no lights or sirens (urgent), and 3 being non-emergency (transport). Priority three is only for the NET's that the service does, and is not used for 911 calls. The service does both 911 and NET.

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    We aren't fancy enough to use terms like "Code 3" to describe our response.

    I recognize the terms because I talk to people from other departments that use them.

    My department started adopting ICS standards years ago and may have gone a little overboard on the "plain english" part of the standard.

    We respond "Normal", "Lights Only" or 'Lights and Sirens'.

    By unwritten rule, most emergency responders (police, fire, ems), tend to respond lights only between 12am and 6am. We are in a small town in a rural area. There is little to no traffic during these hours and we don't like waking people up.

    We will also respond lights only on mutual aid calls. Once we hit the highway, we usually aren't doing much more than the speed limit anyway, and 20 miles with a siren going just gets old. We use lights because even though we aren't going fast, it does encourage the slow drivers to make room for us.

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    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSMV72 View Post
    code 2 siren and lights in trafic only
    It seems to me that a call would be an emergency or a non-emergency...not an emergency only when there's traffic around.

    Make it completely emergency or completely non-emergency.

    At work, we use Code 2 for non-emergency, and Code 3 for emergency.

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    code 2 siren and lights in trafic only
    Do you guys top off your federal going down an abandoned street? I know people who do that...



    My co. has 2 modes. Going to a call (lights, sirens used at officer's discretion) and reduced rate(respond with caution)(lights, no sirens, lights off at red lights).

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    we use Code 2 for non-emergency, and Code 3 for emergency.
    same here. code 2- non emergency, code 3- light/sirens. There's no inbewteen

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    Quote Originally Posted by alpha4 View Post
    same here. code 2- non emergency, code 3- light/sirens. There's no inbewteen
    thats us too..............
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    Be wary driving Code 2, Lights with no sirens. In some states, you MUST have the siren on for legal purposes, should you be in an MVC. I know, don't use it on deserted streets, 1am when no traffic, but if you hit traffic, use the siren, or be prepared for legal actions!

    Down here, we have two modes
    10-18, aka responding, L&S, air horns, etc

    10-51, aka en route, normal traffic, and, IMO, is not done enough. Too many responses are made responding, when they should be en route.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLSboy View Post
    Be wary driving Code 2, Lights with no sirens. In some states, you MUST have the siren on for legal purposes, should you be in an MVC. I know, don't use it on deserted streets, 1am when no traffic, but if you hit traffic, use the siren, or be prepared for legal actions!
    That's the reason we discontinued our "Code 2". The city attorney mentioned that if there was an accident, we could be sure that the lawyer that sues us will ask if we had all our emergency warning devices on and if they were functioning properly. He pointed out that it would NOT be good if we said "No".

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    We also have two response modes, Code 1 and Code 3. Technically we DO have Code 2, but it is NEVER used. Code 1 of course is no sirens or lights and obeying regular traffic laws. Code 3 is lights, sirens and air horns. The only time we have ever ran just lights and no sirens is late at night like around 2 or 3 in the morning so we donít wake people up from sleep. We will just use lights but if we get into traffic or at intersections we will hit the sirens and then shut them off again.

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    Oops, repost
    Last edited by KevinFFVFD; 09-04-2007 at 05:36 AM. Reason: repost

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    We have emergency response and non-emergency. No codes are used and there is no "middle ground" lights only kind of thing. The County Fire Chiefs decided what nature codes need which level of response. These were distributed to all the departments and companies. Some follow them "to the letter", some, not so much. But if an IC says have all units respond non-emergency it's pretty clear what is desired.

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    I thought with NIMS there were no more codes, only plain language ? We use non emergency and emergency response to indicate how to run.

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    Default Response levels

    OK. So we've established that code response levels are becoming more common, but my question is how does your department define the various levels. My department has us responding to smoke and/or CO detector activations with no light no sirens unless there is a confirmation of smoke or fire. Pretty unsafe practice if you ask me.

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    before the codes were discontinued we used:

    code 1 - PD officer / Fire Fighter Down or Under fire Etc

    code 2 - "With Lights and Siren or Hot"

    code 3 - "With Traffic"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Binaroundawhile View Post
    We have emergency response and non-emergency. No codes are used and there is no "middle ground" lights only kind of thing. The County Fire Chiefs decided what nature codes need which level of response. These were distributed to all the departments and companies. Some follow them "to the letter", some, not so much. But if an IC says have all units respond non-emergency it's pretty clear what is desired.
    Same here. County wide SOGs set which units respond emergency/non emergency depending on the call type.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLSboy View Post
    Be wary driving Code 2, Lights with no sirens. In some states, you MUST have the siren on for legal purposes, should you be in an MVC. I know, don't use it on deserted streets, 1am when no traffic, but if you hit traffic, use the siren, or be prepared for legal actions!

    Down here, we have two modes
    10-18, aka responding, L&S, air horns, etc

    10-51, aka en route, normal traffic, and, IMO, is not done enough. Too many responses are made responding, when they should be en route.
    NY is one of the states, if you have the lights on you are supposed to have the siren on too. In our district we have no codes. It's either emergency or non-emergency, although some will say proceed with caution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcl312 View Post
    We use non emergency and emergency response to indicate how to run.
    We use that also but I've been lobbying to change it to "routine" and "emergency" just for clarity on the radio.

    IMHO, either you respond with the normal flow of traffic or in emergency mode as prescribed by your state laws for emergency vehicles. There shouldn't be any "in between" unless expressly permitted by your state's traffic code.

    (FWIW, CT is all or nothing. If the lights are on and you're moving on a public street then the siren had better be on, too.)
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    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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