Below you will find
some common terminology heard over the scanner.
Switching to Tac – Fire
crews stay on the dispatch channel until the first unit arrives on
scene, then they switch to a tactical channel so that the dispatch
channel can be used to dispatch other units/stations as needed. (Ex.
“Waterloo Pump 3 on scene, nothing visible, switching to Tac.”)
E2, E3, E4 When referring to an area of a
building/property each side is given an number. E1 is
always the side that faces the street, and E2-E4 are clockwise
Working Fire A structure fire that is big enough to
require multiple units/stations to be called and for the
incident command system to be used.
Fully involved A working
fire that has spread to more then half the building.
MVC Motor Vehicle
CO carbon monoxide
VSA Vital Signs Absent
(not breathing and have no pulse)
Tiered response When more
then one agency responds to an incident. Usually referred to in medical
calls where Fire, EMS and Police are dispatched.
EMS Emergency Medical
RIT Rapid Intervention
Team. This is a team of firefighters whose sole
specialty is to enter a structure and rescue any firefighters who
become injured or trapped and have called for assistance.
Hazmat A Hazmat unit is specially trained to
handle hazardous materials.
Hot Zone The hot zone is
the area where the incident is happening. (Ex. At a working fire the
hot zone is inside the building. At a hazmat call, the hot zone is the
area containing the hazardous material)
Heavy Hydraulics Cutting
and spreading tools that are powered by high pressure hydraulic fluid.
These tools are most often used to free people who are trapped in
vehicles after a motor vehicle acident. The “Jaws of life”
is a brand name of
a heavy hydraulic tool.
Mayday When a firefighter
becomes trapped, injured, or in need of assistance at a scene they will
call a mayday to request assistance and the RIT team will be sent to
rescue them. (Ex. Over the radio you will hear “Mayday! Mayday!
Rehab Fighting a fire is
very physically demanding work so to make sure firefighters don’t over
exhausted or dehydrated they are sent to rehab after being in the hot
zone so they can rest, cool down, and re-hydrate.