As someone who has lived in two major citites, NYC and Boston, I noticed that units call their fire controls differently. For instance, the way Boston Fire does it is different than the way FDNY does it which is also different than my old volly county used to do it.




Boston Example Fire Alarm: Fire Alarm Calling Ladder 26.

L26: Ladder 26 answering

Fire Alarm: Ladder 26 an unknown type medical at xxx Mass Ave nearest box XXXX, OK Ladder 26?

L26: Ladder 26 has it

Fire Alarm: Ladder 26 has it 15-30 (time)


What are some neuances you've noticed about your dispatching "lingo"? I've noticed certain areas have certain recognizable phrases too...for instance FDNY is "K". What is yours?


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My biggest nuances are calling fire dispatch "control". What are they in control of? The only terms we use other than plain English is urgent or priority. When this is called everyone gets off the air. This gives the unit calling a clear radio frequency for what ever the problem is. We all so use "K".

We just call ours communications. Years ago it was headquarters, for others it was fireboard.

It goes like this "Communications to Engine 821" "Engine 821 go ahead" Or "Engine 821 By"

Then it would be  "Engine 821 to Communications" "Engine 821 go ahead"

If you go on the medical radio which is a state controled system you have to use county or city names and numbers to id the ambulance. "Montgomery Ambulance 701 to Montgomery Commuications and Walter Reed Hospital ready for transmisson of medical imformation"  

the east coast of florida was big on using "Q" signals (ham radio related) for comms. saying QSL instead of 10-4 was somthing to get used to when i was visiting. i never asked how that got started.

i believe Los angles calls their dispatch OCD (operations, command, dispatch?) i believe

where i live now the cops call their dispatch by the county name and fire and EMS call ours ECC (emer, communications center)

I believe OCD is Operations Control Dispatch. 


i type corrected-lol & thanks

Where I currently live the three big lingos that stick out are:


1. 10 codes. For some reason the people who grew up here just cannot get away from 10 codes. I personally think that is is because most of the people around here still have CB's in their personal trucks. (joking.......sort of). Whenever I talk on the radio, I like to mix it up and use Clear text.


2. We call our communications center "dispatch." Example: XXXX(city) Dispatch, this is XXXX(department) 216(unit number).


3. They call an Engine a "city truck" because it is designed to stay in the city and not leave roadways (unlike brush trucks). We don't have any ladders in the county departments; but I can imagine what they would call them........."stick trucks".

We use 10 codes around here too.  The county Emergency Manager has tried getting away from it, but the Sheriff and Chief of Police are too old to try and not use it, so all their guys use it.  This carries over to the FD and EMS.  Dispatchers all use it to.  It isn't any quicker or safer, and really just hampers communication.  I refuse to use it.  I always say out what I'm doing and never use the 10 codes.

Please.  It's "CDO" - in alphabetical order, as it should be.


(For anyone who might be a little "OCD".

Our biggest one here is "headquarters" being dispatch. ie: "Headquarters, Engine 8 en route" or "Fire 1 (chief), headquarters ......"  Though that reminds me that our chief, asst. chief, and top 3-5 (depending on the current chiefs structure) captains being called "Fire-1" through "Fire-#" which maybe a local way of doing it too.

Also, those vehicles that carry a given amount of water to supply the engine on a fire outside of the hydranted areas of our district are called us.

The apparatus that carries a crew, a multitude of tools, and no water is called "Rescue-1"

Other than those examples everything else (seems) to be plain English, except for the rare old timer that grabs a radio and uses 10 codes. but, that's getting less and less everyday.

I'm in Cambria County, PA.  Our center identifies as "Cambria."  "Cambria, Engine 861 responding."  We use all plain English.  No 10 codes, or any other codes.  We acknowledge a transmision with a simple "that's received."  Fire, police or EMS, it's all the same.

Now that the the transition to MFC is complete, OCD has become the Department’s back-up dispatching facility and the radio call sign "OCD" is no longer operative. At one in the morning, the strategically planned five hour radio transfer was made. Now, all inbound and outbound radio transmissions will use the call sign, “Metro.” No other changes to radio terminology, resource dispatch algorithms, or operations will occur. 

 Metropolitan Fire Communications (MFC)

We call ours dispatch or fire control. I have never figured out this when responding. We  say 141 out of service and so on for each truck. When we get back we call back in service. I have always thought when the trucks are on the road you would be in service because you are out doing something like "providing a service". And when back you would be out of service because the trucks are parked and we go back home. Maybe i just look at things backwards!

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