I hear the talk now, and then about the 10-Code being done away with. Just say what needs to be said..short and to the point. Instead of 10-76...3 Engine enroute to..... Maybe if everyone knew the 10-Code in the area they worked in, this would help. A code could mean something else in another state. On the fire scene, radio and hand signals are used...radios do go dead; or get lost.

What are the back-ups that can be employed and yet understood by all; or is this just wishful thinking?

Views: 10799

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I think someone should develop a standard hand signal? Just in case you lost or your radio went dead, a standard hand signal should work fine within a working area.
Ok I am a 911 dispatcher in my county and also a volunteer at a fire/ems station. We use plain English. We did away with any 10 codes for fire/EMS our law enforcement still uses some 10 codes but those are for safety reasons. However I should mention we have 1 universal 10 code county wide for law/fire/EMS and its a distress code. Meaning you get sent on a "routine" medical and say get a knife pulled on you. One simple 10 code gets all available Law units headed your way.
Hand signals should be developed and learned by each firefighter to cut down on the time to walk to and from the IC. If you have radio issues and need something on the second floor of a structure you can stick your head out the window and throw some signs at the IC or Pump Operator. Thumbs up or a circular clockwise motion with the hand above your head to charge the line or increase pressure. In my Haz-mat training I learned that patting the top of your head means "Radio Issues, no transmission." There are tons of others from haz-mat.
Or the favorite, if you dont like an order you can slowly extend the middle finger, thats always a crowd favorite and sure to get you personal one-on-one time with the chief after the call. LOL

There should always be a back up plan in case plan "A" fails, the fire ground is a dynamic and un-predictable place, and should never become "routine", and the players should never get the "Invincible" syndrome.

Stay Safe out there, and disregard the middle finger sign, just in case a rookie took it seriously.!!!! LOL
radios do go dead; or get lost.

They shouldn't. If either occurs it means the people are not taking care of their equipment. The battery condition should be checked daily and there should be fresh batteries for each riding position on the rig. Why would the radio get lost, it should be on the person, should it not?

Now I get the idea on what you are promoting here, but realistically the entire radio system or scene communications is not going to blackout entirely. Yes a channel could be affected etc, but there is also talk around or point to point capabilities. While dispatch may not be able to hear what is going on, there should still be capabilities to talk to each other without resorting to hand signals etc.

What are the back-ups that can be employed and yet understood by all; or is this just wishful thinking?

Besides switching channels, there are old methods like messengers, hand signals, rope pull signals, etc. However, such circumstances occuring to thus put such a system in place would be unlikely, there typically will be alternate means within a current radio system.

The circumstances and scene involved would also have to be taken into account. If we are talking a structure fire scene and you would have to resort to hand signals, I would say pull crews out and go defensive. I disagree completely with someone sticking their head out a window to give a thumbs up or down for pressure. If you are operating inside a fire structure and you don't have a radio or realistic comms, then there is no reason to be inside. Sure in the "old days" you didn't have radios and things went well, but in the "old days" you didn't have the same hazards as we face today. No structure is worth a FF and no structure is worth resorting to hand signals for interior ops.
The National Incident Management System utilizes plain English in all radio communications. We're all going to that with the exception of a few straglers who occasionally blurt out a 10 code. The transition is nearly complete for the fire service anyway(not law enforcement). Hand signals are essential on the fireground. The federal wildland fire community has a few that are universal. I'd like to see our department standardize some hand signals. And that middle finger for the rookie is a great idea.
My friend Randy, you sound so harsh about this subject matter. In the ideal situation, it would all goes as you so CLEARLY pointed out. I have been on a fire scene, where the radio did get lost..crawling around..(things do happen that way). Radios DO GO DEAD! Yes, even new ones. That is the point of this question! Others who have commented thus far, I think seem to understand that..it''s the 'what if'. You know toss the idead around, brain storm, get us all to think about it...that's all.
Hey, Norm! How's it goin' out there?
I wish to see the universal hand signals of the wildland fire, do you have a soft copy or a link where can I read or see it?

Every profession has their own unique hand signs and uses of fingers to convey information. Just sayin'


Hold hand to the side, shoulder high, exposing palm to the driver. At night, hold hands in the same manner, with the addition of a flashlight in one hand shining at the driver. This will indicate and immediate STOP.

Point in the desired direction with one hand and motion in a circular “come-on” gesture with the other at the chest level. At night, direct a flashlight beam at the hand pointing in the desired direction.

Hold the hands to one side of the body indicating the approximate amount of distance the apparatus is from the obstacle. Close hands accordingly as the driver slowly maneuvers the apparatus to point where the signal indicates immediate STOP. Always allow enough for drivers reaction time. At night, indicate in the same manner with
the flashlight in the upper hand and beam directed at the palm of the other. On STOP, cover the flashlight beam with the hands.

Hold hand directly in front, chest high, fingers on hands directed toward one another, and motion in a circular “come-on” gesture. At night hold a flashlight in one hand and
direct the beam toward the other.

Hand signals have been developed to provide a uniform means of communication between workers on the ground and equipment operators. They are especially useful when noise, distance, or language barriers make voice communication difficult.

There are eleven recognized hand signals found in ASAE Standard S351. They are illustrated in figures below.

Reply to Discussion


Find Members Fast

Or Name, Dept, Keyword
Invite Your Friends
Not a Member? Join Now

© 2023   Created by Firefighter Nation WebChief.   Powered by

Badges  |  Contact Firefighter Nation  |  Terms of Service