I have to ask because I am mad! I work for a F/T EMS service and I am a retired FF/Medic who has a question. How many Fire/EMS services still use 10 codes. I hate hearing 10-5 when you clear at a call. I think and thought that things were suppose to change follwing 9/11. Am I wrong? I guess what concerns me the most is that I was a carear FF/Medic in S.C and then moved back up north and started to run F/T EMS and the codes are diffrent. Is anyone also running into this problem?

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All the answers have been in the same vein, so I'm going to hijack a little... We've never use the 10 codes (not being in North America) and for years have had four (4) simple plain English statements to use when advising Dispatch of the status of an incident:
INVESTIGATING, NOT YET UNDER CONTROL, UNDER CONTROL and STOP.
Each of these has an equally simple definition. Yet most people use them incorrectly! How can we who do the correct thing win? I keep suggesting that the meanings should be changed to what is actually being done in the field - if you can't beat them , take them over...

Now back to the thread. If the codes aren't universal, they must be ditched. Plain English and keep it simple, don't hold conversations. Comms have to be clear and unambiguous.
Plain english... no codes. There are specific phrases that are to be used or not used and specific ways to call and identify, but there's no question as to what is being said. Aside from the fact that our radios suck, it works well.
For the most part in North Georgia we have gone to plain text..... however you still get those that have top say 10-8 etc. It just makes good sense to say it so EVERYONE can understand.
We use the Q codes
in the northern virginia area we no longer use ten codes we use plain language ...... the only codes we use either fd or pd side are for:

ff/ofc down
sensitive info needs to be conveyed
emergency traffic
arrest in progress
transporting to jail
bait car


the list used to be much much more extensive


we also switched from our owm phonetic alphabet to the military one
We did away with "10" Codes several years ago. The problem we still have is with our dispatch, who dispatches us as well as our PD, who still use 10 codes and some other codes. They do a very good job talking to us in paln english, but when they get busy they do forget who they are talking to sometimes.
We are dispatched by the county sherriffs so we use ten codes when responding to the scene, after that we use plain english.
In order to comply with N.I.M.S. which is federaly mandated , all departments will require eventualy to use plain english .. for the perpose of a functional mutual aid event ..
"just makes good sense to say it so EVERYONE can understand." Easy for you to say...try being a California girl living in the south. I sometimes miss the 10 codes....I could understand a lot of the ff's then. Now I am having to ask my native southern partner for a translation! Sorry if I offended anyone :) We actually have computers on our trucks and can look up our calls and any information they put in the narrative. We can also self dispatch ourselves to the call or check ourselved on scene from the computer so that really helps. We did away with 10 codes to speak plain english only to start transitioning dispatch to use the universal codes for call types....go figure!
10 codes are NEARLY a thing of the past in my area, though I too think that 10-4 will never die! Clear language does seem to eliminate a lot of miscommunication. I know it must be tough for the long-time folks to drop it....hell, I am still trying to stop talking like a sailor!
like the rest of you our dept has stopped using them all together
My best answer to this is,,,KISS..Keep It Simple, Stupid..plain english, short and to the point.

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