Fire Apparatus Numbering / Callsigns (SLOCo)

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KK6ZTE

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So I've noticed a common theme in unit numbering from my listening, but I can't seem to nail it all down.

When using a 4 digit number, usually an Engine will be in the xx9x series (such as Engine 5691 / Engine 6692), a truck is a xx4x series (Truck 6645 / Truck 5342).

What I'm trying to determine is where is this laid out in stone? Who documents this? I can't find any kind of numbering guide in ICS or on Firescope.

I'm in SLO County if it matters, but it seems too organized to be a county-wide system? To be even more confusing, SLO City (SLO) doesn't respond with a four digit ID when responding auto/mutual aid and neither does Santa Maria City (SMR)--(SLO City Engine 5 / Santa Maria Engine 4) Why the differences?

In addition, who assigns the first two digits? I know 66 = FIV, 53 = MRB, 56 = CAY, etc? Who is 57?

Can someone please help clarify these questions that have been nagging at me (no joke).
 

Kingscup

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I probably don't have answers to all your questions but I do have some answers.

SLO city does have a designated 4 digit numbering system but for whatever reason, they choose not use it. I suspect they probably do use it on strike teams only but that is just a guess.

Here is a document that shows each fire departments 4 digit designation. It is a SLO city document that also outlines their radio identifiers. The SLO county fire chiefs association came up with the 4 digit numbering system.
http://www.slocity.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=7819

Sometime during the 1990s, the California Fire Chiefs Association decided to have each county come up with their own apparatus numbering system. (I don't know if this is true as I only have second hand knowledge). This was decided to try and cut down on confusion when you have automatic/mutual aid or strike team incidents. You are trying to give engine 1 an assignment over the radio and there are 3 engine 1s on the incident because they are from three different cities.. There could be other reasons also. I noticed several counties change the numbering system around this time. Others did not.

I am not a fan of the 4 digit numbers (except for CAL FIRE as that is obviously needed). It seems they made it more complicated than it needed to be. The third digit identifies the type of apparatus when you actually say ENGINE 9192 over the radio. Seems redundant and silly. Other counties use 2 or 3 digit numbering. SLO could be numbered stations 1 through 9 (future stations with growth). Paso could be station 10-19. MB- 20-24. AG- 25-29 and etc. if SLO county doesn't want to give up its numbering then start at station 101 and go from there. I'll get off my soap box. My opinion means squat on this subject and I am ok with that. Lol.
 

KK6ZTE

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I agree, there's a lot of confusion.

That document helped clear up some of the confusion, for instance, designated Wildland/Patrol as the xx6x series, Truck companies as xx4x, engines as xx9x, and so on.

In some ways, it's still confusing as it refers to AG, Grover, and Oceano as separate departments (which I realize was only consolidated rather recently). Are Grover and Oceano still considered Station 61 and 68?
 

Kingscup

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Good to see. I no longer live or work in the area so I am just going by past experience and the internet.
 

Kingscup

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This reminds me of something I heard over one of the feeds. I thought I heard County Fire dispatching Oceano fire to an incident about 6-12 months ago. I could be wrong. Who dispatches for FCFA? Is it Grover Beach PD? I think I heard AGPD is now dispatched by the SO so they no longer have a dispatch.
 

KK6ZTE

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What I've been told is this: 911 calls from a Cell Phone get routed to Grover PD and are dispatched from there. You can tell when this happens because the traffic is broadcast on Grover PD's channel and on FIV South Net. Otherwise, HQ (Station 1) does the dispatching on South Net only.

On an initial dispatch, CAL FIRE will request "one engine from five cities fire" and FIV is included in the tone-out.

Morro Bay PD and AG PD are both dispatched by SLOSO. Morro Bay FD is now dispatched by County Fire.
 

KK6ZTE

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Interesting note here on Page 3:
http://www.slocity.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=7835

When a SLOFD unit responds in-county to an “Assist Other Agency” (AOA), the Engine will be
dispatched and will be given the Command Channel and Tactical Channel. If not provided yet
by our own Dispatcher, the officer responding can obtain Command and TAC channel
information from the Cal Fire ECC. The Officer shall follow the following protocol radio
protocol:
1. The Officer will notify City Dispatch on City Net that they are Switching to Cal Fire
Local 11.”
2. Once on Cal Fire Local 11 the Officer will notify Cal Fire (call sign “San Luis”) that they
are enroute using their 4 digit engine number (9191, 9192, 9193, 9194, 9141, etc.) Cal
Fire Local 10, 12, and 13 are generally only used for Travel Nets where Local 11 is a
Command Net for the San Luis Obispo City area and a Travel Net. What this means for
the Engine Company Officer is that he/she will initially respond on Local 11 and then
will have to switch tones if traveling to another area that is covered by that tone (i.e.
North County area is Local 12, South County area south of Arroyo Grande is Tone 10,
Nacimiento area is Local 13).
Interesting that on one document (EO 115.00 page 1) they're told to use their 4 digit numbers, while on another (EO 103.00) they're basic told it'sn optional. Nothing like inconsistency!

The “Radio Designator” column on the left will be used on a daily basis inside the City and whenever
practical while assigned to automatic or mutual aid. The column on the far right is the four
number identifier used under the SLO County Chiefs Association system.
 

Kingscup

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On an initial dispatch, CAL FIRE will request "one engine from five cities fire" and FIV is included in the tone-out.
Ok thanks. It makes sense. CAL FiRE is doing it like they have always done it with other cities. I had just forgotten they did it that way. When I lived in the area, those cities were all volunteer and they weren't dispatched into the county. I can't ever remember them being dispatched. I am not going to say never but I don't remember them being dispatched.
 
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