Fresno Fire Department

Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

The following glossary contains fire terms. The entire glossary is in ABC order and is readable by scrolling down.


Accredited Local Academy (ALA) – An ALA, serving a specific authority having jurisdiction is defined as: A single fire agency, which provides training for in-house personnel only, and which actively provides state, municipal, county, or fire district fire protection services.

Aerial Fire Apparatus Access – Fire apparatus access located directly adjacent to multi-story buildings, positioned in such a way as to allow fire department  aerial ladders to be raised to the lowest point of the roof eave (as defined in California Building Code ( CBC) 702A – the word sloping is deleted) that meets the requirements in the California Fire Code (CFC), Section 605.11.1.1 for roof access points.

Affirmative – “Yes” or “That is correct” response to a question.

Arrived – Indicates a unit has arrived at incident location.

Assist – Term used to which agency a unit(s) is assisting.

At hydrant – Unit standing by at hydrant preparing to extend water supply line.

Available – Indicates a unit is available, out of quarters.

Available in quarters – Indicates a unit is available and located in their assigned quarters.


Behavioral emergency – Term used to describe a patient that is mentally unstable, law enforcement needed.

Bleeder ball-valve – Small ball valve on pressure side of pump to bleed air out of pump and use to regulate test pressure if needed.

Business Day –  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.


CAD – Computer Aided Dispatch system which tracks resource status and recommends response deployment to dispatch personnel.

CAN – Conditions, actions, and needs assessment.

Code 2 – Term used to respond without lights and sirens.

Code 3 – Term used to respond with lights and siren.

Command – Term used to identify an individual has taken charge of an incident.

Command Post (ICP) –  Locations at which the Incident Commander and Command Staff direct, order, and control resources at an incident; may be co-located with the incident base.

Command Staff – The Command Staff consists of the Information Officer, Safety Officer, and Liaison Officer who report directly to the Incident Commander.

Common Vehicle Access – Common vehicle access describes private streets, driveways, and alleys which connect with a public street and are required for emergency access as well as for access by the public.

Construction Access – Required fire apparatus access lanes shall be provided year round and maintained with an approved, all-weather surface, capable of supporting 80,000-pound vehicles (minimum of 4-inch base rock over compacted or undisturbed native soil or per approved engineering plans with a minimum of 24 feet of clear width or other approved method, which would prevent shoulder degradation).

Copy – Term used to acknowledge a radio transmission or instruction.


Delayed Response – Term used by a company to place themselves on a planned delay.

Disregard – Term used to ignore previous information.

Distinct Hazard – For the purpose of policy 406.001 is defined as: “Any clear and evident condition that exist (or remains) that is or becomes an immediate danger to the safety of the occupants, firefighters, structure, or public right of way.”

Duty Chief – On call executive chief officer who may be called upon to provide managerial direction on behalf of the fire chief.


Emergency Operations Center – A physical or virtual location from which coordination and support of incident management activities is directed.

Emergency traffic – Used to designate a temporary suspension of all radio traffic on a channel due to an emergency on the scene.

Emergency Vehicle Access – Where adequate common vehicle access to buildings is not provided by public streets or private driveways, emergency access shall be provided for the exclusive use of fire department vehicles.

Exposure – Structures, vehicles, or other objects in close proximity to, and jeopardized by, fire or other emergency situation.

Exposure Incident – Specific eye, mouth, mucous membrane, non-intact skin, or parenteral contact with blood, bodily fluids, or other potentially infectious materials, which results from the performance of a member’s duties.


Fire Department Communications Liaison/Originating Agency Liaison –  A member serving as a link between the Department and the Fresno County EMS Communications Center.  This is an administrative assignment determined by the Fire Chief per Administrative Manual, Section 101.001, Administrative Assignments.

Fire Hose Pull and Equipment Access – Fire hose pull and equipment access is an unobstructed walkway which provides continuous access connecting vehicular access to all building openings and exterior storage areas. The walkway requires unobstructed 36 inch horizontal clearance around openings and continuous seven foot vertical clearance.

Fire Incident Report – This report contains basic information regarding the date, time, and location of a fire with a short narrative regarding the incident.

Fire Incident Summary Report – This report is a one (1) page summary with the basic information regarding the date, time, and location of a fire. This report is available at the time of request.

Fire Investigative Report – This is a full investigation report which identifies the cause and origin of a fire, including photographs. The report is provided in hard copy form with photographs via CD/DVD.

FIRESCOPE – An acronym defined as Firefighting Resources of California Organized for Potential Emergencies was organized by legislative mandate in 1986. The FIRESCOPE program is intended to complete the legislative attempt to unify various fire agencies together into one voice and direction.

First-alarm assignment – An initial multiple resource assignment of fire/rescue apparatus and a chief officer(s).


Grievance – As defined in Administration Manual, Section 106.012, Grievance Form (FC-03).


Hazardous material incident – An incident involving hazardous materials which pose an immediate threat to life, property, and/or the environment.

Helmet identifiers – Velcro backed panels that attach to the sides of member’s structural firefighting helmets used to identify the unit a member is assigned to. They are reflective and utilize two colors with letters and numbers to identify units.

  • Engine Company – Black panel with yellow numbers
  • Truck Company – Red panel with white numbers
  • Chief Officers – White panel with black letters and numbers
  • Training Officers – Orange panel with black numbers
  • Drill School Engine Company – Black panel with orange numbers
  • Drill School Truck Company – Red with orange numbers
  • Investigators – Blue panel with white numbers
  • Make-up Companies – Blank yellow panels (letters/numbers hand written)

Helmet shield – A permanently affixed shield on the front of a helmet, identifying rank and Department affiliation.

High-Piled Combustible Storage – High-piled combustible storage is storage of combustible materials in closely packed piles or combustible materials on pallets, in racks or on shelves where the top of storage is greater than twelve feet in height. High-piled combustible storage also includes certain high-hazard commodities, such as: rubber tires, Group A plastics, flammable liquids, idle pallets, and similar commodities, where the top of storage is greater than six feet in height. (CFC, Chapter 2).

Homeland Security Grant Program – Federal program that includes federal funds that are disseminated through the state of California, county of Fresno and City of Fresno to be used to purchase items from the approved equipment list (AEL).

Honor Guard – A group assigned to a ceremonial event.


IDLH – Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health.

Inch and a half (1-1/2″) – Term used to identify 1-1/2″ pre-connected line.

Inch and three quarters (1-3/4″) – Term used to identify 1-3/4″ pre-connect line.

Incident Action Plan (IAP) – Written or unwritten plan for the disposition of an incident; contains the strategic goals, tactical objectives, and support requirements for a given operational period during an incident. All incidents require an action plan. On relatively small incidents, the IAP is usually not in writing; on larger, more complex incidents, a written IAP is created for each operational period and disseminated to all assigned units. Written IAPs may have a number of forms as attachments.

Incident Command System (ICS) – An Incident Management System with a common organizational structure with responsibility for the management of assigned resources to effectively accomplish stated objectives pertaining to an incident.

Incident Commander (IC) – The individual responsible for the management of all incident operations.

Incident Stabilization Priority –  Seeks to keep the incident from escalating, minimize its effects, and bring it under control.

Incident Priorities –  Remain fundamentally constant, regardless of the incident’s size or complexity: life safety, incident stabilization, and property/environmental conservation.

Inlet ball-valve – 1 ½” ball-valve located on the inlet side of hydrostatic pump to fill and bleed manifold and hoses with prior to starting the pump. This valve must be closed prior to starting the pump.

ISO Storage Containers – Department of Transportation (DOT) approved pre-manufactured, metal shipping containers.


Knox Box – This is a propriety keyway and box system manufactured by the Knox Box Company. To order a Knox Box system, obtain a signed order form from the Fresno Fire Department at 911 H Street, Fresno, CA, (559) 621- 4181.


Knox Box – This is a propriety keyway and box system manufactured by the Knox Box Company. To order a Knox Box system, obtain a signed order form from the Fresno Fire Department at 911 H Street, Fresno, CA, (559) 621-4181.


LDH/Feeder – Large Diameter Hose, 5″, Supply Line. The IC indicates if line should be charged or not.

Liaison Officer – The point of contact for assisting or coordinating agencies. Member of the Command staff.

Life Safety Priority – Encompasses responders and the public. It includes rescuing endangered civilians; treating the injured; and providing for the safety, accountability, and welfare of response personnel. Life safety is an ongoing priority throughout the incident.


Make-up kit – A kit containing the necessary materials to construct passports and helmet identifiers for fire personnel who report directly to an incident to form new companies or to replace lost or damaged components for in-service units. This kit contains enough supplies to outfit four companies and is located in battalion chiefs’ vehicles. The kit contains:

  • Eight blank passports
  • 32 blank name tags
  • 32 blank yellow helmet identifiers with Velcro
  • Black Sharpies, thin and thick tips
  • Extra Velcro and trauma sheers
  • Carrying Case

Manifold ball-valve – Any one of four 1 ½” ball-valves that control the flow of water and pressure to each hose line to be tested.

Multi Casualty Incident (MCI) – Refers to medical emergencies or motor vehicle crashes involving five or more patients.

Mobile Data Terminal (MDT) – A computer device in vehicles that is connected via radio modem to the CAD.

Move up – Unit relocation performed in order to maintain adequate resource distribution.

Mutual aid – Assistance provided from fire department to another based on a specific request.


Name tag – A 3/8″ x 2″ Velcro backed plastic tag inscribed with member’s rank and last name. Members are issued, and should maintain, a minimum of six name tags.

  • One for each of the primary and secondary passports of the member’s assigned unit.
  • Two attached to the underside of the member’s helmet
  • Two kept on the station staffing board.

Negative – “No” response to a question.


1-2 Family Residential Structure –  A free standing residential building designed to house one or two families. (i.e., duplex, manufactured home, house).

On Deck – A “forward” personnel staging area close to the operational area.  Crews report to the designated location with full protective clothing and any needed tools and equipment, ready for assignment.

Out of district – Term used when a unit is no longer in its main response area.

Out of service – Term used to identify a unit unable to respond to calls for a specific reason.


Parenteral – Piercing mucous membranes or the skin barrier through such events as needle sticks, human bites, cuts, and abrasions.

Passport – 2″ x 4″ boards made of Velcro and plastic used to hold name tags. Passports are inscribed with Unit and OES identifiers (e.g. ENGINE 3 XFR-FRN). Name tags are placed on the passports in the following order: captain, engineer, firefighter #1, and firefighter #2.

  • There are three types of passports: Primary, Secondary, and Blank.
    • Primary: Red
    • Kept on the status board on the inside of CO door.
    • Secondary: Black
    • Kept on the underside of the Officer’s helmet.
    • Blank: Green
    • Kept in make-up kits carried by Battalion Chiefs. For use when reporting to an emergency incident as a make-up or mutual aid company during a recall or major event.

Pay Period – Two weeks beginning on Monday and ending on Sunday. The first day of a period is the Monday immediately preceding a pay-day Friday.

Personnel Accountability Report (PAR) – A procedure conducted to determine the safety and integrity of all individuals and companies

Personnel Accountability System  A system that readily identifies both the location and function of all members operating at an incident scene through the use of standard operating procedures, training, and accountability aides.

Property/Environmental Conservation Priority – Maintaining the property, the infrastructure, the evidence, the economy, and the environment and providing for recovery.

Public Information Officer – Responsible for interface with the media or other appropriate agencies requiring information direct from the incident scene. Member of the Command Staff.

Pull Notice Program – As defined in Administration Manual, Section 105.001, Driver License Requirements, and City of Fresno Administrative Order 2-32, Driver Standards Policy.



Radio check – Term used to verify if the radio system or a particular radio is working properly.

Rapid Intervention Crew (RIC) –  A fire company specifically assigned to stand-by for the purpose of initiating rescue operations for downed or trapped firefighter.

Reel line – Term used to describe a pre-connected, reel mounted 3/4″ or 1″ line. Also referred to as a Redline.

Regulator – An adjustable device to control the maximum amount of pressure in the hydrostatic test pump system. The regulator should be set at 300 psi., however, it can be adjusted up to 500 psi.

Repeat – Term used to ask for a retransmission of a message.

Responding Agency’s Liaison –  Fresno County EMS Communications Center personnel assigned to communicate and coordinate activities between the two entities.

Responding/en route –  Term used to advise unit is en route to an alarm (“on the way”).


Safety Officer – Responsible for monitoring and assessing safety hazards, unsafe situations, and developing measures for ensuring personnel safety. Member of the Command Staff.

SCBA Unit Identifiers – 3¾” x 8″ black panels with 2″ orange reflective letters/number combinations that indicate the user’s company. The identifiers use Velcro to attach to the tensioning strap of the SCBA.

Scene not secured – Term used by dispatch to indicate the incident has NOT been secured by police.

Scene secure – Term used by dispatch to indicate the incident has been secured by police and is safe to enter.

Special call – Unit requested to respond to an incident for a special function.

Staged – Unit(s) positioned near (but not on) scene awaiting further instructions.

Staging – Process by which noncommitted units responding to a fire or other emergency incident are stopped at a location away from the fire scene to await their assignment.

Standby – Term used to indicate “wait” or “hold position” until further information and/or instructions are given.

Station staffing board –  A board with Velcro strips mounted in the Station/Apparatus bay for the storage of the off-duty members’ name tags and passports.

Status board – A hard plastic board with one-inch Velcro strips attached to the inside of the COs door on all front line and reserve engine and truck companies. Used by the IC or other supervisors to attach the passports of companies or teams within their direct span of control and record other information as needed.

Strategic Goals – The overall plan that will be used to control the incident. Strategic goals are broad in nature and are achieved by the completion of tactical objectives.

Strategic Objectives –  The overall plan that will be used to control the incident. Strategic objectives are broad in nature and are achieved by the completion of tactical priorities.


Tactical channel – Radio channel for use between incident management personnel and resources operating on the scene of incidents.

Tactical Objectives – The specific operations that must be accomplished to achieve strategic goals. Tactical objectives must be both specific and measurable. Tactical level operations are typically handled at the Division/Group level or below.

Tactical Priorities/Assignments –  The specific operations that must be accomplished to achieve strategic objectives. Tactical priorities/assignments must be both specific and measurable. Tactical level operations are typically handled at the division/group level or below.

Test tones – Radio alerting tone transmitted to a station for either test or demonstration purposes.

Tracking log (FD-64) – Utilized to track personnel and equipment between assignments.

Traffic – Term used to describe incident related communications. Transmissions travel back and forth between units and dispatch in an ordered fashion, similar to traffic.

Transfer of Command – A formal Transfer of Command from one individual to another. Typically done face to face and only to a person of equal of higher rank who is on scene.

Transfer of Command Worksheet (FD-55) – Utilized to assist incident commanders in organizing incident priorities and tracking resources.