First Responder families: Terms for working and working away
This section describes some of the codes used by various services, including in the Police, Fire and Ambulance services. Children learn these terms at a young age and all family members tend to fear certain codes as listed below.
Parents often ease their fears by emphasising their high-level training, specialised equipment, and ability to work as a strong team with other highly trained individuals
Police Force and Fire Service Terms
- I’m working Days
- I’m working Nights
- I’m on recall, or I’ve been recalled (someone on the team is sick, so they have to extend their shift)
- I’ve got an RDO (rostered day off) or PDO (Program Day off)
- Hold back – we have to stay on the job longer
- OT ( overtime)
These codes are ones that children and family members tend to fear.
- 801 - Police are in danger
- 504 - these codes represent incidents like a car accident, drugs, rape etc.
Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliett, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.
Personnel can be deployed to a fire or other incident which involves working away.
- Strike Team
- Task force
- Team (a group on the job)
- S/O – Sarge
- Target – those they are looking for
Ambulance Service Terms
On call - not on duty but ready to attend work cases anytime.
Call-out - a request to attend a work case while on call, usually an emergency call.
Call-off – called to attend a case while on a meal break.
Days – day shift
Nights – night shift
Co-ord – coordination centre
Words and codes
Various words and codes indicate the type of response, such as urgent, non-urgent, within 2 hours, etc.
Various codes also indicate specific case types – Code 2 = cardiac arrest, code 4 = deceased, code 9 = person trapped, etc.