Waterloo Region Fire Services


With a population of approximately 647,540 at the start of 2023, the Region of Waterloo is located in the heart of Southwestern Ontario. This live audio feed covers the cities of Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo as well as the townships of North Dumfries, Wellesley, Wilmot, and Woolwich.


Local municipalities are responsible for providing fire services. These include responding to fires, the enforcement of the Ontario Fire Code and conducting property inspections.


All regional fire departments use a joint dispatch center in Kitchener, are ‘paged out’ on a general alarm, and will then be assigned a tactical channel to use. This centre provides dispatch services and averages over 13,000 calls per year to the Townships of Woolwich, Wilmot, Wellesley, North Dumfries, and the cities of Kitchener Waterloo and Cambridge. The dispatch technology allows fire and police services to share data, mapping software and dispatch information on the same platform.


The Kitchener Department alone works out of seven fire stations spread out across the city, has an annual operating budget of $36.3 million and responds to more than 15,000 calls a year.

Common terms heard on the audio feed are as follows:


Enroute:  Responding to a call with lights and siren.

Apparatus is out of station:  Either proceeding to a call with no lights or siren or driving around.

On Scene or Arrival:  At location of the alarm.

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 Collision.

VSA: Vital Signs Absent (not breathing and have no pulse)

Tiered Response: When more than one agency responds to an incident.  Usually referred to in medical calls where Fire, EMS and Police are dispatched.

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)

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! Mayday!”)


When referring to an area of a building/property, each side is given a letter. A, B, C, D. A is always the side that faces the street, and B to D are clockwise from A.


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  • Waterloo Region Fire Services