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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber KevinFFVFD's Avatar
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    Default NIMS plain english......

    Hello everyone. I took the NIMS 100, 200, 700 and 800. I know that they say you should use plain english in radio communication. However, I know of several police officers and firefighters who disagree with this, mostly saying they should still be allowed to use 10-codes when communicating with their own people and then use plain english when communicating with another agency. Most say this because at least where we live people can still listen to Fire/EMS and Police radio traffic on scanners, expect on TAC channels (but from what I understand there is a way to listen to that even on scanners). So I am a little confused. Does NIMS say we should eliminate all 10-code and signal traffic, or just if we are communication with outside agencies?

    Thanks everyone. Stay safe.


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    Our county does the same 10 codes in county and plain English outside of the county or when MA responds from out of county to us. I think it is wrong but can't convince the powers to be. I believe we should us plain English all the time so it comes natural when it hits the fan and we need several other departments from outside the county or we go outside the county.

  3. #3
    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    The "requirement" is the use of clear-text for communications between departments, but is strongly encouraged for intra-department communications also. Naturally, if you use it daily, you won't have to remember to use it only on the "big one."

    In my volunteer county, we (the FD) went clear-text about 8 years ago, and have been that way since. Law enforcement in the county went clear-text last year. At work, we went to clear-text about 6 months ago for both FD and PD.

    As for the scanner deal, whether or not the TAC channel can be heard depends on a lot of different factors, including encryption, Pro-Voice, and other things. Regardless, people should assume that everything you say on the radio can be heard.

    The idea of using 10-codes to keep things "secret" is far-fetched. All that anyone has to do is pay attention to what's being said to associate the 10-code with the regular "words" that are being said.

    IMO, just do away with the 10-codes, as unpopular that that might be with some others on here.
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    MembersZone Subscriber Dickey's Avatar
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    This is a debate such as career vs. vollie, straight bore vs. fog, chicken vs. egg, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    The "requirement" is the use of clear-text for communications between departments, but is strongly encouraged for intra-department communications also. Naturally, if you use it daily, you won't have to remember to use it only on the "big one."

    I
    This is the latest news so far. Because there was so much uproar of changing and getting rid of codes, this is the compromise. We have been using plain language for about 10 years now and it's just second nature now.

    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post

    IMO, just do away with the 10-codes, as unpopular that that might be with some others on here.

    I can't say to totally get rid of codes either. As a dispatcher, it makes more sense for law enforcement to say "Copy a 10-27 and a 10-28?" vs. "Copy a warrant/driver's license check and a vehicle registration check." Some departments, I know FDNY is one of them, would have so much radio traffic the radios would fry in no time if they didn't use some sort of code.

    I believe you can use what you want in your own department, but if you work with another department then use plain language.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dickey View Post
    I can't say to totally get rid of codes either. As a dispatcher, it makes more sense for law enforcement to say "Copy a 10-27 and a 10-28?" vs. "Copy a warrant/driver's license check and a vehicle registration check." Some departments, I know FDNY is one of them, would have so much radio traffic the radios would fry in no time if they didn't use some sort of code.

    I believe you can use what you want in your own department, but if you work with another department then use plain language.
    hehehe--CHP not only has and uses the full list of 10-codes...they also have 11-codes for all sorts of crap. Never mind that "EMS" is fewer syllables and easier to say than "11-41", but damnit they have a code for it and it's gonna get used!
    Of course in some cases it's easier, as you said... "11-25, number one" is easier than saying "I have complete blockage of the number one lane of traffic."

    As for scannerland... unless you get the Motorola XTS5-billion or whatever the hell they're up to now with the optional encryption package, scannerland is going to hear you. The radio manufacturers "upped the ante" with digital radios, and scannerland replied with digital-capable scanners. Sure, they're prohibitively expensive now, but give it time and everybody "into" scanning will have one, whether the local agencies run digital or not (scannerbuffs are notorious technophiles)...
    Given the proliferation of scanning sites that not only list frequencies but codes used, well, it's just best to follow the old military adage about radios: "If you say it, the enemy can hear it, and probably understand it."

    Personally, I'm really not all that concerned if the local al-Qaeda cell (they're everywhere remember...) knows whether I'm on-scene with a single-family dwelling fire that autovented through the roof or IA on The Next Great Tumbleweed Conflagration...

    As for running L1-29s/28s "on the air"...that's sooooo 1980s, Dickey. Tell your guys to run their own crap on the MDCs.
    My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

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    MembersZone Subscriber Dickey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the1141man View Post
    As for running L1-29s/28s "on the air"...that's sooooo 1980s, Dickey. Tell your guys to run their own crap on the MDCs.
    Don't even get me started.......

    Our Fisher Price MDC's are so screwed up. They have been promising jail photos, prior contact history, maps, all this pie in the sky stuff for several years now and it just doesn't work. Our infrastructure sucks to support it. Most of the time they work ok for officers to run stuff but its very slow. We have HTE software (I swear it stands for Hate The Employee) which sucks!

    That combined with mindless department management results is a big SNAFU.
    Just as an example, our PD requires an officer to fill out a form with the case number, address, time, type of case and officer name and badge number for a damn MDC update!!! The whole point is to be paperless and when you do something on the computer you create more paper!!! DUH!

    Oh well, guess things would be different if I was Chief right....?
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  7. #7
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    Talking You must be from the South

    Quote Originally Posted by Dickey View Post
    We have been using plain language for about 10 years now and it's just second nature now.
    That's pretty funny,'cause up here in the woods we learn plain English starting in pre-school, so it's really "first nature". Sorry couldn't help it!



    Sadly 10-codes were used for so long they have become second nature and are hard to erase. Our are has said that it is going all plain text for 4 years but in reality maybe 65% is this way. The PD's had some valid times where using codes was important, but they fail to understand that 10-codes are pretty common.

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    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    My thoughts...



    It's enough to make someone 51-50!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    My thoughts...



    It's enough to make someone 51-50!
    This might be my favorite topic! Now I get to hear everyone preach about how I have to learn some national system so that when - insert "funny" way of saying when the s#it hits the fan here - we all know how to "play" together!
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

  10. #10
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Talking Well..............

    So, what are we doing about the areas of the country where Plain English is undecipherable.......... "Bubba, y'alls git more water up th' mountin, Fahr's gittin bigger.........."



    Personally, I have no use for Ten Codes. Period. Scanners?? The Scanner industry is staying ahead of Motorughha. The scanners are there, waiting to read your encryption before your "Latest, up to the minute, cutting edge Technology" Radio is even taken out of it's shipping carton.

    My question to the "Scanner Haters" is - "What are you trying to hide?" We are Fire/Rescue/EMS, not the CIA. Who cares??
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    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFF View Post
    This might be my favorite topic! Now I get to hear everyone preach about how I have to learn some national system so that when - insert "funny" way of saying when the s#it hits the fan here - we all know how to "play" together!
    When Chicago has a hugemongous fire and the IC says "it's a 7-11", does the rest of country think it's a fire in a conveinence store?
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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  12. #12
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    So, what are we doing about the areas of the country where Plain English is undecipherable.......... "Bubba, y'alls git more water up th' mountin, Fahr's gittin bigger.........."

    Or up in Maine.....

    "Whea's tha fiah?"
    "It's ovah theah, but you can't get to theah from heah"
    "ayuh.. I know that"

    Or in Woonsocket, Rhode Island

    "It's a big fiar, eh?"

    "Yah, two or tree alarm... "
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  13. #13
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    I can understand the point of using ten codes for brevity's sake.

    If you think that by using a 10 code, that the scanner user won't know that a 10-7 is a DOA, then you are fooling yourself!

    We use clear text, I like it...
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    I can understand the point of using ten codes for brevity's sake.

    If you think that by using a 10 code, that the scanner user won't know that a 10-7 is a DOA, then you are fooling yourself!

    We use clear text, I like it...
    If we get a DOA we use a super secret code. We say "Send the cops, we got a DOA." Don't tell anyone our code!
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

  15. #15
    makes good girls go bad BLSboy's Avatar
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    Saying things like
    Code 99 (CPR in progress)
    Signal 7 (DOA)
    Class 4 (pronounced)
    etc are, IMO, more respectful then saying what they mean.

    "Brevard, 88 Rescue, yup hes dead "
    "Brevard, 88 Rescue, Pt is Signal 7, we will be on scene awaiting SO" sounds MUCH more professional.

    NIMS can go suck a big fat one....
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    Just get rid of NIMS.

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    And that Chief is the problem. Who cares about the scanner geeks. But a 10-7 is a unit out of service per APCO.
    If 10 codes are used then they should be the APCO set because it is about the only universal 10 code. APCO published the first list of 10 codes in 1940. I have dispatched for Police and Fire prior to being a full time firefighter, (Police dispatching has a much better gig), you learn 10 codes fast enough but in a multi agency incident EVERYONE must be on the same page, so clear text is better.
    It has nothing to do with the scanners. You can't have a cop report a 10-75 (in contact with someone) and a fire guy thinking he is reporting a working fire. Or an FDNY guy report a 10-45 and no one do anything because a 10-45 is a dead animal.

  18. #18
    Forum Member wcfpd2601's Avatar
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    As far as the public knowing the codes in scanner land....there is no way around it. I have seen many places that will sell a 10 code list and a frequency list when they sell a scanner. Not to mention, most people that listen enough can figure them out. I don't think it can be avoided. I have been on departments that use the hell out of em and am with one that doesn't use them at all. I have heard people use codes that aren't normally used and nobody knew what the heck they were saying...LOL! I have gotten used to not using them so much so it really doesn't bother me.

    On a little side note, I have always read that 10 codes were designed due to keeping messages shorter because technology didn't used to be as good; signals were weak, would get lost more frequently, etc. Thoughts, truth, false?
    The success of a fire department depends on the willingness of its members to put aside their differences and work for the benefit of the dept/community.

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    Scanner land - who cares? Nearly everyone on here works for or with a publicly financed agency. If johnny taxpayer wants to sit up at night and listen to me say "we are on scene and going to advance a line" or "everyone can respond with traffic, the guy is dead" who cares?

    Nothing we do is top secret stuff. If it is you are probably doing something wrong.

  20. #20
    Forum Member DixieFire53's Avatar
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    Default Clear Voice All The Way

    Clear Voice All The Way

    Two days after Hurricane Katrina hit we had responders from all over the country and about half the FEMA USAR teams in our city. A few days after that we had responders from other countries. We found that clear voice was absolutely necessary and very hard not to use when you are used to using 10 codes. The USAR teams from around the country adopted clear voice years ago. Once things settled down our department dropped the 10 codes and adopted clear voice. It was no easy task. Old habits are very hard to break. But when the next big one hits our department will already be communicating using the Nations standard clear voice (NIMS recommended  ). Even after a couple of years we still have a 10 code fly over the air.
    DixieFire53, Deputy Fire Chief FF/EMT-P, Local 272

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