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  • 10 Codes, Plain Text, or other Code System

    Does your department use 10 Codes or plain text, or maybe some combination of the two, or some other type of code system? Which do you prefer and why?

  • #2
    My agency uses ten codes, but, we have talked about going to plain text. Our radio traffic is terrible despite the ten codes. I think the real answer is teaching people to say whats important in fewer than 50 words .
    Bless all of our Fallen Brothers and Sisters. You will not be forgotten

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    • #3
      We use plain text. It's just easier. 10-codes don't help much. One of the ideas behind 10-codes was to 'mask' the call so only the right people knew what you were doing, but anyone who really cares to know what they mean, will find out.
      ftm-ptb-rbp
      leather forever

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      • #4
        Mostly we use plain text. We have a few codes for sensitive issues such as Code 18 = Deceased Person. We also use abbreviations for common calls: AOR = In Service, available on radio, AIQ = Available in Quarters.
        FTM-PTB-DTRT

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        • #5
          We use plain text.

          Just about every other department out here uses ten codes due to the fact that most of the area FD's are dispatched by local law enforcement.

          I prefer plain text, but as was mentioned before, sometimes people get a little long-winded.
          Bryan Beall
          Silver City, Oklahoma USA

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          • #6
            We use plain text in radio transmissions. The only two codes we use are Code 13 (fire truck is broken down/out of service/send the mechanic!) and Code 100 (bomb scare).

            Some departments in the area (and East Coast Paging Systems, the buff network I belong to) use the term 10-45 to describe injuries and fatalities at an incident. 10-45 Code 1 is a fatality. Code 2 is a serious injury, Code 3 is a minor injury.

            Plain text is easier when dealing with mutual aid incidents and/or task force activations.

            Pyroslayer...re your "illiturat thred" ...
            too many 10 codes makes anyone who is "mathematically challenged" confused on the radio!
            ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
            Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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            • #7
              We use a combination of 10-codes along with EMS signals around here and a smattering of plain text thrown in to complicate things.
              When the defecation hits the oscillation I'll be there.

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              • #8
                we are just like xenophon13, we use a little bit of everything. Most of the EMS units use 10 codes and the signals.

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                • #9
                  I think you'll find most "10-codes" or "signal" systems weren't designed to keep their meanings confidential so much as they were meant to standardize and minimize radio traffic.

                  Plain text is somewhat easier to communicate with, especially with units from outside of your area.

                  Unfortunately, the fire service uses a lot of jargon that varies dramatically from one state to another, even one county to the next. And this goes much deeper than the classic Tender/Tanker arguements.

                  Asking for a Squad will get you anything from an Ambulance to a Heavy Rescue to a Snorkel depending where you are. What exactly is "In Service" anyway and when do you go "Out of Service." For my department, anything that isn't at the garage having the mechanic work on it is in service. Some departments use "In Service" meaning there operating on a call; others use "In Service" to mean "I'm *not* on a call and am available." When you request ALS, does that include EMT-Intermediate in your area or strictly Paramedics?

                  Never mind telling something is behind the truck will cause some people to scratch their head when all they see are pumpers.

                  That plain-text jargon is almost as confusing as signals, isn't it?

                  =============
                  To answer the original question specifically, we use a combination of Plain Text and about a dozen Signals. The signals are traditional, and fill either very, very specific meanings or are short-hand. A "53" for instance means "On the air, responding" and saves four syllables.

                  Used to be a quite extensive list of signals and that list continues to move more and more to plain text each year.
                  IACOJ Canine Officer
                  20/50

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                  • #10
                    Plain English. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.

                    The 10 codes were meant not only to standardize, but to make it easier to understand radio transmissions back when the voice quality of the radios was not so good. So instead of saying 7 or 8 words that could be misconstrued, radio rooms came up with 10 codes, which always mean the same thing.

                    Although, I admit that I've always wanted to pull up at a fire and transmit "10-75 on box 91-21."

                    These days, the quality of the radio signal is much higher, so why not just say exactly what you mean?

                    Plain English.
                    "Let's roll." - Todd Beamer, one of a group of American soldiers who handed the terrorists their first defeat.

                    Joe Black

                    The opinions expressed are mine and mine alone (but you can borrow them )and may not reflect those of any organization with which I am associated (but then again, they just may not be thinking clearly).

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                    • #11
                      My EMS service we are supposed to use clear text but we add in EMD codes with the initial dispatch. For example a traffic accident with a trapped patient would be a 29D4. But so much for clear text.
                      NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
                      IACOJ Attack

                      Experts built the Titanic, amateurs built the Ark.

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                      • #12
                        Our fire-rescue organization uses mainly plain text.
                        We do have "Red Star Locations". These are locations that are hazardous to police, fire, and EMS personnel. These include locations that have a history of drugs, weapons, or family violence.
                        We use a signal code for death or dead body.
                        There is also a signal for locations with known blood borne pathogens.
                        Finally we utilize a signal code with our medical control that allows us to follow all protocols if unable to establish communications with medical control within 5 minutes.
                        joejoe33

                        Comments and opinions are mine and do not represent the agency or IAFF local that I am affiliated with.

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                        • #13
                          We use plain text, with the addition of a few codes. We have codes for response levels, disregard (C-4), under control (C-10), death (41), suicide (41-S), poss DUII (45), etc. I think some of these are a hold over from when codes were used routinely. I prefer plain text since it allows such easy communication with neighboring departments. Only drawback, as stated before is when some yahoo doesn't know how to speak in sentences less than 40 words.
                          "The more we sweat in training, the less we bleed in battle."

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                          • #14
                            We use the same system as Dalmation90's department. I don't think it varies at all, but it might a little. We both use regional dispatch centers that border each other. These centers and a few others use the same system.
                            IACOJ Agitator
                            Fightin' Da Man Since '78!

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                            • #15
                              We use plain text and a few codes;
                              Code 700 Civilian or Firefighter
                              Is an injury to a a civilian or firefighter.
                              However we have a definitions booklet that defines all of the terms that we use (i.e. "In service" means you are available, "Responding" means that you know where you are going, why you are going.)
                              I agree that some people are long winded with some discriptions, but the argument for whether to go use 10-codes or plain text ultimately will translate into training what and when to use something.
                              "Honor Above Thyself"

                              Patrick Harper

                              NOTE: THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY ME IN THIS FORUM DO NOT REFLECT THE VIEWS OF MY EMPLOYER.

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