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Sides 1-2-3-4 or A-B-C-D

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  • Sides 1-2-3-4 or A-B-C-D

    Here's the deal. In our County, the fire building is known as sides 1, 2, 3, and 4 with side 1 being the address side of the structure then going clockwise around the structure.

    Recently, I was advised that a company in our County is going to change how they name the sides of a structure. They are going to start calling the sides of the structure - Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta.

    With only 11 years in the fire service I will admit, I may be too young to be the type of person to dislike change, but I don't like the above change at all.

    Should I like this change? Are there reasons why this naming of sides that I just described shouldn't be done? What are your opinions guys?
    Chris Shields
    Lieutenant / EMT
    Haz-Mat Technician
    East Syracuse Fire Dept
    Onondaga County, NY

  • #2
    B and D can sound awfully similar on a clogged up radio network.

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    • #3
      Around here, we use Alpha, Bravo, etc. Using the phonetic avoids the confusion of "B" sounding like "D", which is a true concern. Is our way better than 1-2-3-4? No. Is 1-2-3-4 better? No. Your biggest concern should be that ONE company is changing, instead of everyone using the same method. THERE'S something that can cause confusion on a busy fireground. All your county chiefs should get together, pick one way for everybody, and stick with it.
      TW
      Essex Junction Fire Dept.
      Vermont

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      • #4
        E229 is right...

        Unless they already refer to them as Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta, I can see the confusion already, especially if you guys are still on low-band like we are down south of you. We use 1,2,3,4 and it works pretty well. Who knows what the terminology will be once they start implementing Unified Command.
        Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.

        Anything found in my posts is soley my opinion and not representative of any other individual or entity.

        You know that thing inside your helmet? Use it wisely and you'll be just fine.

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        • #5
          I dont see how it matters in the least as long as everyone understands how the A/1 side are defined and the rotation (clockwise/counter clockwise)

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          • #6
            We should all be on the same page with this type of thing.

            FEMA/NFA name sides using Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta... A is the front, then the letters are assigned clockwise around the building. This was hammmered on during a class I returned from down there.

            Levels of buildings are assigned division numbers: 1 is the first floor, 10 is the tenth floor. Subdivisions can be used for levels below ground.

            This way, if you hear a letter, you know it is a side of the building. Numbers refer to floors. If we all use different systems, it only makes it harder to work together.
            Last edited by Resq14; 10-02-2003, 01:20 PM.
            God Bless America!Remember all have given some, but some have given all.
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            • #7
              We use A,B,C,D and are switching to Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta. We don't use 1,2,3,4 as sides but we do use them as floors. Alpha-1 is Address side first floor. Charlie-3 is back side, third floor.

              For those that use the 1,2,3,4 as sides, out of curiousity, how do you differentiate floors? First floor, second floor, etc.


              Personally, I like the simple way of first floor, second floor. We only go as high as 5 floors in my town, so no Highrise to worry about. Kind of goes along with Clear Text - no interpretation needed, just saying what you mean. But I lost the discussion.
              "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?

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              • #8
                Yeah, what Resq14 said!

                I'm glad phonetics have become standard -- I learned the importance 4+ years ago when I took my Fire Officer I class and we lost a crew in one of the simulations 'cause the IC & Crew in Trouble couldn't tell the difference between "B" and "D"

                Also, if you have landmarks and you're in trouble, don't hesitate to use terms like "rear of residence" or "side the church is on" if your not positive of whether your Alpha/Bravo/Charlie/Delta. Routine messages like we've finished checking for extension you can take a minute for your bearings, urgent stuff if you don't know give a landmark.

                And remember, not all buildings are neat boxes on level lots. I'm reminded of the Pittsburgh triple LODD where one of the factors was confusion since the house was built into a steep hillside which floor was which. I've also seen mill fires from the ladder pipe where the chinese alphabet couldn't describe all the "sides"! Alpha names and floor numbers are good, quick short-hand but we also have to make sure our officers don't go to heck in a handbasket if they're confronted with a situation they can't call by those shorthand names. We act in a crisis as we're trained, and if all your training always assumed you'd always use "A-1" and your confronted with a serpentine apartment complex in a hillside, it could throw you for a loop.
                Last edited by Dalmatian90; 10-02-2003, 01:50 PM.
                IACOJ Canine Officer
                20/50

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                • #9
                  In my area we had a problem with a dept whose chief was ex-military and labeled ABCD counter-clockwise. Now the rest of the depts and county SOP label clockwise. After a joint training session were my engine company threw a ground ladder to the B side of their station when he wanted it on his B side we had a little meeting and got them to join the rest of world. The point being that such a confusion @ a fire scene when the entire county is on one page and ONE dept is on another could lead to a horrible outcome.

                  Now if we could just get them to get rid of their iron pipe thread attack lines (their the only ones with them)
                  Member IACOJ & IACOJ EMS Bureau
                  New England FOOL
                  "LEATHER FOREVER"
                  As always these are strictly my own opinions and views

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                  • #10
                    My department uses the numerical way of identifying exposure sides of a structure and I personally like that better than using letters. But some towns around us use letters, but I don't find that it really confuses anyone. Well it does'nt confuse me, if someone says side C I know that would also be side 3. So I don't really see a problem with the variation. Although it is always nice to have uniformity.

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                    • #11
                      We currently use A B C D as well. We just switched actually. Before that we always used; east, west, etc. Finally someone said it's too confusing, so the Dept switched. It's still new to most of the guys, so it will probably only be a matter of time before, Alpha, etc, is used. I have already seen confusion with B vs. C etc at fires.
                      http://www.sanantoniofire.org

                      IACOJ
                      Got Crust?

                      We lucky few, ... we band of brothers

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                      • #12
                        Keep it coming

                        Resq14,

                        What you said is exactly how their doing it. Now that I have heard some feed back on it, maybe it isn't as bad as I thought.
                        Chris Shields
                        Lieutenant / EMT
                        Haz-Mat Technician
                        East Syracuse Fire Dept
                        Onondaga County, NY

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          A,B,C,D for sides/exposures and floors are Divisions 1,2,3,4, etc
                          The comments made by me are my opinions only. They DO NOT reflect the opinions of my employer(s). If you have an issue with something I may say, take it up with me, either by posting in the forums, emailing me through my profile, or PMing me through my profile.
                          We are all adults so there is no need to act like a child........
                          IACOJ

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                          • #14
                            Sig.99

                            You know how hard it is to get the County on the same page....

                            Numbering or Lettering is just the beginning!!!

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                            • #15
                              LOL

                              Hey, you found me. Actually, I know this isn't something that will go Countywide and to tell you the truth, it's not my department that is implimenting this change. It's a mutual aid department that is. Most of our officers already agreed that sides 1-4 is working just fine.
                              Chris Shields
                              Lieutenant / EMT
                              Haz-Mat Technician
                              East Syracuse Fire Dept
                              Onondaga County, NY

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