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What terminology does your department use for a MAYDAY?

In California the FIRESCOPE Field Operations Guidebook, or "FOG", is a major tool used for creating policy when it dealing with ICS and NIMS terminology. I feel that the FOG is a great resource and may be under utilized. However, where it deals with Firefighter emergencies, I feel that it is not necessarily up to the perceived industry standard. In the FOG it states that "MAYDAY" is a term that is only to be used for air or marine emergencies. For Firefighter emergencies, the FOG states that the term "Emergency Traffic" shall be used. The problem I see is that we use Emergency Traffic for more than just Firefighter emergencies. We use Emergency Traffic to alert members of fireground hazards, to order members out of a building, or anything else that the IC deems necessary. Does this not water down the importance of a Firefighter emergency?

My questions for you are...

What state are you from? Does your Department follow the NIMS/ICS system? And finally, what terminology does your department use for a Firefighter emergency?

For more information on the FIRESCOPE "FOG" book, just type FIRESCOPE into your search engine. There will be plenty of sites that you can look at the FOG.

Thanks for your time on this topic.

Stay Safe everyone,


"Everyone Goes Home"

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Thank God Brother. I was hoping a SoCal Jake would chime in on this since FIRESCOPE started down there.

Your info is good news. I was actually reading the most current FOG guide and the "MAYDAY" terminology had been taken out. Meaning it no longer says that MAYDAY may only be used for Marine and Aero emergencies. So hopefully we are moving in a positive direction. I agree with you, the single most important words out of a firefighters mouth could be MAYDAY. Why screw it up and make them say something that may not be readable on the other end!!!

Be safe Brothers,

I am from Illinois and we are a NIMS/ICS state. The mayday policy on my department states we decalare MAYDAY three times followed by our company assignment, problem, and approximate location. Once that traffic has been transmitted and aknowledged every other person not involed with the mayday switched to an alternative channel assigned my the IC.

For any information relating to signs of building collapse, water supply loss, ect. The term used is "EMERGENCY TRAFFIC" followed by the information found.
hey cap

I'm from washington and yes our dept does use NIMS/ICS. my dept uses MAYDAY for a firefighter emergency. We have been implementing a new system called ITAC (Incident Command, Tactical Accountability,
Action Planning, Communication Solutions) which is used county wide. It's the same old way of command, size ups, accountabilty ect just with new words. It is suppose to allow for less time on the radio since certain words have specific meanings. It seems to work well.

We just added a new section for MAYDAY in march. It also states that the only person to declare emergency traffic is the IC. which may be done for a MAYDAY, Abandon of a building, or what ever else he may see fit where he needs the frequency cleared for important messages. A firefighter or officer can give a proirity message which is the same as emergency traffic minus dispatches tone that bleeps every 5 sec.

Hope this answered your question

The guy who was to drunk to realize he was talking while the pipes were playing Grace.
I work in Montana and we set up ICS on all calls, to include EMS.

Mayday traffic is reserved for Firefighter (lost, injured, trapped) emergencies. Emergency traffic is for any other priority situation; evacuation, moving from offensive to defensive, found patient, water supply/pump operation issues, etc.
I was reading NFPA 1500 and believe it or not the document discourages the use of the term as it is allegedly for aeronautics and marine use and could be confusing? We cover a busy airport and having spent a whole bunch of time listening to the air traffic WHICH IS ON A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT BANDWIDTH/RADIO FREQUENCY I doubt any brother would confuse a FF mayday with an aircraft mayday. If you did not hear the Air Alaska cockpit to air traffic control audio (can be found with Google) the pilot is calm and collected even though his plane eventually flips and crashes into the ocean. All the other pilots who see his are just a cool AND NO ONE CALLED A MAYDAY.

We use MAYDAY and follow Dr. Clark's NFA model mayday LUNAR program. K.I.S.S!
"We have about as much change of small farm animals falling out of our rectums as we do hearing aircraft or boats on our Fireground. And we operate less than a mile from the beach......"

A well timed injection of humor is an important part of rehab.
Keep it lite, Brother!
Our Department is a combination department and is located in the Niagara Region of Ontario Canada. 10 minutes from the Buffalo NY border. We use NIMS which i dont like. I prefer ICS.

And we use MAYDAY. Emergency Traffic is used as well but only when someone urgently needs to relate a message such as the Roof company relating roof conditons, Safety Officer has a concern or S&R team finds a victim. Of course when a MAYDAY is called. The I/C will relate to "Radio Traffic" which in our Department means only VITAL info should be relayed.
In a Mayday situation we dont have all of our tasked crews stop what their doing they proceed as long as they are not in Immediate danger. The attack crew hits the fire, as they be the reason for the Mayday. An interior Search team may start the F.A.S.
"Emergency traffic" "Emergency traffic" makes me think that someone is going to say that there are some power lines down in the rear of the building or a wall is about to collapse. I am also in California and I can't stand it. It is also a mouthful to say when you are in trouble. Question: Why is California concerned that by definition mayday is for marine and aircraft emergencies? It is a fire service industry standard to use the term "mayday". When a mayday is given, it is on the fireground channel and you are identifying who you are and where you are. I can't imagine the air traffic controllers are going to jump out of their seat wondering what plane is going down.
Mayday was restricted from use within FIRESCOPE because of a few members who long ago beleived that it could cause confusion with vessels at sea and aircraft flying in the area where a fire was occuring. Although there has not been any documented problem with aircraft, vessel and firefighting communication interference, FIRESCOPE still felt it necessary to ban the use of MAYDAY within California. In fact, the same person who led the charge within FIRESCOPE also found it important enough to add the same language within the NFPA standars. So now even though NFPA does allow the use of MAYDAY, it includes language that states that it should not be used by FD's where marine and aircraft are operating. The bottom line...The marine and aircraft confusion is a bogus argument that FIRESCOPE and NFPA have bought into that makes no sense. However, the good news is that the word on the street is that FIRESCOPE is looking into making a change to include the term MAYDAY within the FOG. With the IAFF, IAFC and the National Fire Academy using the term, it just makes good sense for California to follow suit. If you want to help California make the change write to the FIRESCOPE Board requesting they include the term MAYDAY within the FOG.
Our company uses LUNAR . Location Unit Name Assignment Resources. Our training officers are very big on mayday training. A transmission would go as follows MAYDAY, MAYDAY,MAYDAY. I'm 20feet in on the B/C side 378 FF Rapcavage interior search, send FAST then activate PASS alarm and conserve air. Just remember "It can happen here". Take Care Brothers
thanks for the reply. i am glad to hear that the change is being considered by the powers that be
I'm very familiar with LUNAR. What are some other acronyms for calling a mayday?

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