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  • Who Has The Goofiest Numbering System??

    A comment on another thread got this one going. Anyone want to post examples of numbering systems for stations and/or apparatus that are, in YOUR opinion, well....... Er, Ah,.... Strange? Glancing thru the "Fire Truck Sales Papers" that show up in our mail from time to time, I've seen numbers on the side of apparatus that left me wondering what the message was behind the system. As an example of a numbering system with a discernable pattern, take Prince Georges County Md. With a Countywide dispatch system being planned, a need for a numbering system that was easy to use became evident by the late 1920's. The stations are numbered as they came into the County Fire Association, and are 1 thru 56. There are exceptions where companies folded over the years and left numbers open, and some numbers are assigned to "Office" functions (15 is Fire Marshalls, 16 is Communications, Etc.) Apparatus is numbered as follows: Engines are - Station number plus a digit from 1 to 5, such as Station 18's Engines are 181 and 183 (there was a 182, sold some years back) Heavy Rescues are Squad/Station # (Squad 18) the same for Trucks/Towers (Tower 18, Truck 18) as are Brush Trucks, Tankers, Etc. Ambulances are Station # plus a 7,8,or 9, as in Ambulance 188. Finally, Chiefs are Chief/Station # (Chief 18) The 2nd in command is Chief 18A etc. A straightforward system, especially when compared with "Engine 54-16-8. Whatever that means. Stay Safe....
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.


  • #2
    In Minnesota, dispatch is refered to as a number. For example, dispatch might be 2100 and all police units are 2134, 2133, 2155, etc. So a transmission might look like...

    For a general alarm dispatch,

    (dispatch)2100, 2129,2134
    (dispatch)10-81, entry, 555 Numbers Lane

    or, a traffic stop is worse

    (officer)2133, 2100
    (officer)10-45 Minnesota JJJ555
    (dispatch)2100, 2133
    (dispatch)10-45 comes back too... (then they talk)

    The fire dept. might be 3400 numbers. 3400 = dispatch. 3412,3434, etc. are units. dispatch for the ambulance might be 4300. The same dispatch center may answer for 2100, 3400, and 4300 depending on the size of the city/county. So the same dispatchers are known by three different numbers or possibly more. Until you get use to dispatch being 2100 or whatever the case may be, I think listening for dispatch is a made more difficult. It took me about 3 weeks to figure out what they were talking about and sometimes it's still hard to follow who's calling who. I like the "traditional", unit number to dispatch (or control). Anyway, it's annoying.


    • #3
      Our number systems are uniformed through out the county. The first set of numbers are the fire district to which it belongs too. The second number is the type of apparatus it is, and the last number is the station it is out of.

      1 engine
      2 ladder
      3 medic or aid unit
      4 utility vehicle
      5 tender or water tanker
      6 personal call numbers
      8 marine unit
      9 speciality unit

      engine 1611- a district 16 engine out of station number one.
      engine 521- a district 5 ladder out of station one
      Fire 1664- a lieutenant or captain from district 16 station 4
      IACOJ.... "Carpe Elkhartem"
      (Seize the Nozzle)

      "Victorious warriors win first,
      and then go to war,
      while defeated warriors go to war first,
      and then seek to win."

      SUN TZU


      • #4
        Why dont they ever have 10,20,30,40,50 ever as truck numbers or station numbers.

        Here is how ours is.....

        91,92 -squad 1 and 2
        96- first responder
        41- salvage truck
        31 - tanker
        12- redneck ladder
        61- staff car
        51,52- brush jeep
        11- engine
        13- main engine
        14- mini pumper

        Throughout the county its uniform to some extent, Squads are in the 90's, Rescue trucks are in the 40's, Tankers are in the 30's, staff cars in the 60's, brush vehicles are in the 50's, and engines are in the 10's. Now for the "Redneck Ladder truck" its only concidered an engine, that thing is a totally different story, Now if it were concidered a ladder truck it would be in the 20's.

        This is how our officers are organized

        *W = William

        chief -1w90
        asst chief 1 -1w89
        asst chief 2 -1w 88
        captains - 1w87 1w86 1w 85
        Lts. 1w84 1w83 1w82 1w81

        We dont have a station number. When they go over the radio to tone us out they say..

        1W91 and 1w10 units respond to..........

        Ok enough of me babbling on

        I.A.C.O.J. Probie

        You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do. -Eleanor Roosevelt

        Lets not forget those lost on 9-11-01


        • #5
          Here is ours, all personnel have unit numbers when you get on the department and that is always your number. When you become an officer you will have 2 numbers The county uses a numbering system so htat you can tell who is responding. Ie: Engine 6 is from the city, Engine 71 is from my department.

          Our numbers are 70's.

          Station 71 (or St.1 for most)
          Engine 74-1st out
          Engine 72-2nd out
          Ladder 71
          Engine 73-Brush
          Engine 75
          Squad 72-1st ALS Ambulance
          Squad 71-Backup
          SS-71(Special Service)-HAZMAT/Tech Rescue
          SS 72-Command Truck
          Car71- Utility Car

          Station 72 (station 2)
          Engine 71
          Squad 73
          You wouls think that the station and truck would be the same, but its what ever is being replaced gets that number and what station is due the next truck. Our next squad at 2's(my station) is Squad 71 some time this fall, then 73 goes to backup at 1's. My next Engine will be Engine 74.
          AKA: Mr. Whoo-Whoo

          IAFF Local 3900

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          • #6
            We use a similar sytem mentioned: the first two digits indicate district, the next two indicate apparatus or personnel. Pretty simple.

            Now, a neighboring fire association came up with this system. I think they must've been drinking heavily at the time, because I can't imagine an I/C trying to figure out all the detail:

            First two digits indicates district/department. Third digit idicates function (truck, engine, tanker, etc.). Fourth digit indicates capability (!).

            If it's an engine:
            1 = 500 gpm
            2 = 750 gpm
            3 = 1000 gpm
            4 = 1500+ gpm
            Add a letter to the end if your dept has two engines in one house, both with the same capacity of pump.

            If it's a truck:
            1 = <75' main
            2 = 75'-85' main
            3 = >85' main

            If it's a tanker:
            1 = 1000-1500 gal
            2 = 1500-2500 gal
            3 = 2500-3500 gal
            4 = 3500+ gal

            And so on.

            So, unit 8512 is an engine from BFE Fire District, with a 750 gpm pump. And 8522 is the sister truck, with a 75'-85' stick. A great idea, but I just can't imagine trying to remember all that info in the middle of a s#!+storm! And who really would, anyway?
            Omnis Cedo Domus



            • #7
              Our trucks are numbered 20 for the station then whatever number is next. 208, 205... no reason to it. However...WE don't have numbers. I'm "firefighter so and so" in radio traffic. Only ones in the county... maybe state that still do it that way.


              • #8
                County assigned 4 digit numbers (at least in theory).

                All stations in the county were numbered alphabetically (for the most part - they missed a few) back in late 70's early 80's. First 2 numbers of unit are the station number. Mine is 42, my other company in town is 43.

                Last digit is type of vehicle:
                0 = officer
                1 = pumper
                2 = mini pumper (i think, can't remember any 2's)
                3 = utility vehicle
                4 = transport vehicle
                5 = aerial device
                6 = SCUBA/Boat
                7 = special unit (?????)
                8 = might be a brush truck ?
                9 = can't remember, never saw one

                third digit is only used if you have multiples of the above
                0 = first engine
                1 = second engine
                2 = ...

                So, our engine is 4201 (station 42, first engine, pumper)

                4311 would be from station 43, second engine, pumper.

                Officers all end in 0
                third digit for officers:
                0 = Chief
                1 = Deputy/Assistant Chief
                2 = Captain
                3 = 1st Lt
                4 = 2nd Lt

                So Chief is 4200, Captain is 4220.

                That was the setup when it was first created. Unless you have to deal with County dispatch (and you get my condolences) departments have modified this a little bit.
                "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?


                • #9
                  We are dispatched on a county wide system. Our station/unit numbering is actually fairly common sense compared to some of the ones listed on here.
                  NY has a statewide numbering system for Fire departments. My county is county 32 so all FDs in the county have a state number that begins with 32, mine for example is 32008. The last digit in the numbering sequence is issued generally in alphabetical order. However some numbers arent used.

                  Unit numbers are assigned based based on county unit number unit type, and a designator number.

                  Engines are given an E
                  Trucks are given an A
                  Ambulances are given an R
                  Rescues, Brush apparatus, and Other miscellaneous vehicles including chiefs are given an M
                  Tankers are given a T.

                  Our engines are 8E-1 and 8E-3
                  Our neighboring company has a truck and their unit number is 26A-8 (all trucks have the A-8 designator)
                  Our chief is called as 8M-7 assistants are A and B
                  Our tanker is 8T-2 (This is the reason we dont have an E-2)
                  Our Ambulance is 8R-9 (all volunteer FD ambulances are given the R-9)
                  Our Brush unit/Auxilliary unit is 8M-10

                  the numbers appearing after the dash really dont have any system to them, FDs pick the unit names and it can get confusing at times but for the most part things tend to make sense.
                  Shawn M. Cecula
                  IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS


                  • #10
                    When my department first started, everyone was using a system based on the number 1 to identify themselves. The Chief was 101, the Asst. Cheif was 102 and so on. They soon learned that another agency in the area was already using these numbers so they had to switch. Good thing they didn't name the truck yet.

                    The next number that was put into use was 7. The Chief was 701, the Asst. Chief 702 and so on. The trucks were named Engine 71, Tanker 71. Several years down the road, we found out that some investigators were already using the numbers. So once again we had to change our numbers.

                    Now we are using the number 12 for identification. The Chief is 1201, the Asst. Chief is 1202, and so on. We are no longer using the same number as ID on the trucks. We still have Tanker 71, but now our trucks are Engine 6 (the county named it) and Rescue 1 (we named it this because it was the first rescue truck in the county).
                    TO/EMT CVFD (1219)
                    EMT GEMS
                    CPT/EMT MVFD
                    Proud Member of IACOJ
                    9-11-01 Never Forget FDNY 343


                    • #11
                      The county I am in uses this system it is made of a few parts.
                      1. The district number
                      2. Type code
                      0's Officers 09 is the fire police captin
                      10's Engines
                      20's Tankers (tenders for yall out west)
                      30's Ladder,tower,truck
                      40's Rescues
                      50's Squad/utility (52 is the county number for fire police/traffic units) or wheel chair van
                      60's Brush
                      70's Attack/ mini pumper
                      80's Bls amb
                      90's Als Amb or special unit ie. cascade, boat, spill truck, command,
                      3. quanty number (How many you got)

                      I will use district 21 for example

                      the chief would be 2101 on the radio it is twenty one zero one
                      2102 would be the next officer down and so on. If district 21 has 3 engines they would be 2111, 2112, and 2113 (twenty one eleven, twenty one twelve, and twenty one thirteen)

                      Her is the run down for the paid on call department I belong to district 7
                      701 is the chief
                      702,703,704 are Asst. Chiefs
                      705,706,707,708 are fire Captins.
                      709 is the fire police capt.
                      711, 712 are twin engines 1998
                      731 is a 110' truck 1989
                      732 is old power co bucket truck 1968(for maint on the gamewell fire boxes, the boro crew uses it to hang christmas lights, change light bulbs in the stop lights, put up flags and banners etc. )
                      741 is a rescue pumper 2002
                      751 is a ambulance type squad 1988
                      752 is a old snap-on tool 1985 truck with the fire police equipment
                      753 is a pick up truck 1990 fed surplus $4000 12000 miles
                      761 is a 2 1/2 tonn army 6x6 1969w 500gal of water (out of service no brakes) free dept of forestry
                      762 is a 5 tonn army 6x6 1978w/ 500 gal of water $5000 fed surplus
                      791 is an old ryder box van 1989 spill controll stuff and more fire police junk
                      792 is a special rescue trailer 20' 2002 all the stuff that never gets used
                      793 is a trailer w/ a 20 Kw generator and lights 1950's army surplus
                      794, 795 are trailers with the traffice arrows on them (surpluss from the state like you see along the highway) $250 each
                      796 is a golf cart donation
                      797 is a toyata mighty might mini pick up truck 3 cyl gas engine Got it from fed surplus from an army base in Japan for $500
                      Last edited by choad33; 07-09-2003, 11:27 AM.


                      • #12
                        We follow the county's numbering system which i think is decent. before it was that brush truck from elm mott or something like that now it's simplier (huh, that's funny to me).

                        our station is station 36. fire chief is 3600, *** chief (me) is 3610, captain 3611 and so forth for the officers. firefighters start at 3620 and go on.

                        apparatus are labeled for the station. engine is E36, brush is B36, rescue is R36. if there are more then one type of apparatus then it's Brush 361, Brush 362 and so forth.

                        I just haven't been able to figure the order they picked the station numbers.
                        NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
                        IACOJ Attack

                        Experts built the Titanic, amateurs built the Ark.


                        • #13
                          Our new chiefs just redesignated there call signs as C-1 C-2 C-3 instead of what it used to be like which was 500 501 502 which were the CHIEF 1st assistant chief and 2nd assistant chief. Now they said its not Chief one or Car 1-2-3 etc...its just plain ol' C-1-2-3 Why? god only knows...it sounds ridiculous on the radio though
                          New Jersey


                          • #14
                            Each department in the county has a department number. Ours is 8. Apparatus types have a letter identifier:

                            E- engine
                            ET- engine/tanker
                            L- ladder
                            T- tower
                            R- rescue
                            A- ambulance
                            W- tanker (water- I know, its a little inconsistent!)
                            B- brush
                            U- utility
                            H- hose truck
                            HM- hazmat unit
                            Car- car (department discretion on what this applies to)
                            C- chief officer
                            K- other officer
                            Med- medical personnel
                            FF- firefighter

                            Then each individual unit/person has a number. My department takes it one step farther and numbers the engines in the 20's, the ladder in the 40's, and the rescue & utility in the 60's. Most other departments don't do this.
                            So, our engines are 8E21 & 8E24, our ladder is 8L41, the rescue is 8R65, and the utility is 8U61. The hazmat trailer is 8HM3.
                            Many departments, in an effort to avoid confusion when speaking over the radio, use the whole word rather than just the letter, i.e. "8Engine21", "8Ladder41", etc.
                            The chief is 8C1, asst. chief is 8C2, etc. Captains & lieutenants are 8K1 through 8K6.
                            Essex Junction Fire Dept.


                            • #15
                              Our county just switched to a new numbering system this month. Each department has a number, followed by two digit code. x01, x02, x03 are engines, x04, x05 are tankers, and x06, x07 are utility. x10 is cheif.

                              Our past numbering system that all department used was: department name, Truck 1, Department name Truck 2, etc. At a scene most members would drop the department name and just use Truck 1. But when you were on mutual aid, you could end up with two different engines using Truck 1. Supposible a firefighter was almost blow off of a roof, when somebody request a Truck to increase pressure and the wrong engine increased pressure. This incident lead to the new numbing system.

                              By the way all engines, tankers and grass rigs used Truck x, even though there are no aerials.


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