Phoenix Fire Dispatch - Code Calls?

Mountain343

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Quick Questions: Are "Code" calls a medical response for an unresponsive patient not breathing/no pulse?

While monitoring A1/K1 I've heard a bunch of calls go out that sound like "Code" and have an Engine, Medic and a Battalion Chief. What seems weird to be is the inclusion of the Chief, as every department I've ever been a member of just handled these things as simply a single ALS unit (intervention/documentation/death determination) and the nearest BLS unit (quickest response time/manpower). Can someone explain what the Chief's role is? Or is Code .. well .. code for something else?

Thanks!
 

GlobalNorth

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To quote Phoenix Fire Department's SOP for EMS Dispatch procedures:

"..The following medical emergencies will receive a dispatch of the closest fire suppression unit backed up by a paramedic unit. When a four-person paramedic unit is the closest unit, the dispatch of an additional company will be determined by the judgment/experience of the dispatch personnel.

1. Cardiac or respiratory arrest...

11. Cerebral vascular accident (stroke)..."


Calls for 'Code' can encompass several causations of cardiac arrest and a cessation of respiratory effort, including a CVA. Some runs are put out as CVAs when the information from the 9-1-1 caller can differentiate and substantiate between a M.I./R.A. and a CVA. Others simply go out as 'Code'.

Generally, these calls only go out to ALS units. Engine, Rescue, and a BC. Back in the 1980s, a Code/CVA was dispatched as a 2&1 medical, in order to provide enough personnel to provide for a LZ for an air ambulance. This changed to omit the BLS component and assign a Battalion Chief who was far more proficient in assessing and implementing LZs. It also made the BLS unit available for other traffic, reduced the number of people on the scene that needed to be accounted for, and the BC returned to active field command that justified more leadership roles in the local Fire Service. BCs were no longer hanging around quarters doing paperwork, but were working sectors and adopting to the ICS model at all levels.

Growing from a bunch of mutual aid agencies and into an integrated Regional Fire Authority, that's the reason why.
 

Paysonscanner

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Quick Questions: Are "Code" calls a medical response for an unresponsive patient not breathing/no pulse?

While monitoring A1/K1 I've heard a bunch of calls go out that sound like "Code" and have an Engine, Medic and a Battalion Chief. What seems weird to be is the inclusion of the Chief, as every department I've ever been a member of just handled these things as simply a single ALS unit (intervention/documentation/death determination) and the nearest BLS unit (quickest response time/manpower). Can someone explain what the Chief's role is? Or is Code .. well .. code for something else?

Thanks!
It is a commonly used medical term. We might yell, 106A has coded out, and then a Code Blue is issued over the facility's intercom. I don't remember the history of how the term developed. It was just understood by everyone.
 

Mountain343

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It is a commonly used medical term. We might yell, 106A has coded out, and then a Code Blue is issued over the facility's intercom. I don't remember the history of how the term developed. It was just understood by everyone.
Right, which is what prompted the question. In all of my years involved in Fire/EMS I've never known a "white hat" to run on what is a basic medical response. That's why I was wondering if maybe it referred to something else instead that might need chief level intervention or supervision, but sounds like it's just a quirk of this system. Everywhere else I've been from Cali to MN, Chicago to FL, Australia and Wash (state, not DC)... no pulse/no air = closest BLS and ALS response. Some places might add law enforcement who are trained EMTs and carry defibs and oxygen, but this is the first I've heard of a Chief officer unless it was somewhere really rural and the Chief just kinda goes on everything. Parts of MN were like that.

I wonder how involved they are or if they just hang back in case of an incident that does need their management skills, like a fire or rescue call.

Every place does things different :) Still getting used to the whole Ladder Tender idea too. It's interesting.... I'll give it that.
 

GlobalNorth

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Phoenix Fire does things a bit differently.

There was a call of a 962 involving a car fire and up onto the sidewalk. Phoenix Fire assigned a Deputy Chief, a PIO, a few BCs, and a 3 & 1 medical assignment to it, then put it on A deck-5 for encryption. No PD, no FD, no politicians, or sensitive issues involved... just a lot of assigned units and an odd traffic incident.

It turned to a fatal traffic incident, but it was a weird call.
 
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GlobalNorth

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Every place does things different :) Still getting used to the whole Ladder Tender idea too. It's interesting.... I'll give it that.
Phoenix Fire did that to "save money" for BLS calls. Rather than send a million dollar truck, they spend another $500,000 for a stripped pumper and have it go to all the difficulty breathing calls to save the ladder truck. After about 10 years, they want to sell off the aerial or the ladder because "it's old", but has very few miles and engine hours on it.

The economics make little sense.
 

KB7MIB

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Phoenix Fire does things a bit differently.

There was a call of a 962 involving a car fire and up onto the sidewalk. Phoenix Fire assigned a Deputy Chief, a PIO, a few BCs, and a 3 & 1 medical assignment to it, then put it on A deck-5 for encryption. No PD, no FD, no politicians, or sensitive issues involved... just a lot of assigned units and an odd traffic incident.

It turned to a fatal traffic incident, but it was a weird call.
A-5 is not encrypted. None of the A-decks are. They're analog conventional VHF-High simplex channels. If an incident involves turning out in bunker gear and donning SCBA, the incident goes on an A-deck channel, as they can be understood more intelligibly, particularly by the TRO in the alarm room, on an analog A-deck than on a digital K-deck when wearing SCBA.
You just have to be within a few miles of the incident in order to hear the on scene communications. The higher your antenna, the farther away you can be and still hear the portable radios. The IC on a mobile radio can be heard further out than the portables, of course.

As for ladder tenders, they extend the service life of the big ladder since it usually doesn't go out on EMS calls, and even on some structure calls if the structure is known to be a single family single story home.
Some departments run engines as LT's. Others run apparatus that are specifically built as LT's. Some of those may have a small water tank, with a pump, and limited hose, to increase their utitility, giving them the capability to respond to car fires, dumpster fires, and other small still assignments.

As for why so many white hats? After the line of duty death of Firefighter Brett Tarver, PFD decided that for everyone's safety, they needed more BC's (white helmet) and safety captains (green helmet) at scenes to take sector commands as well as overall incident command. The BC truck has both a BC and a captain who acts as their safety officer. There is also Car 957 North and Car 957 South who are Special Operations Captains (HazMat & TRT) who also act as Safety Captains on other scenes. (IIRC, the BC's safety captain used to be called a FIT, or Field Incident Technician.)

John
Peoria
 
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Mountain343

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As for why so many white hats? After the line of duty death of Firefighter Brett Tarver, PFD decided that for everyone's safety, they needed more BC's (white helmet) and safety captains (green helmet) at scenes to take sector commands as well as overall incident command. The BC truck has both a BC and a captain who acts as their safety officer. There is also Car 957 North and Car 957 South who are Special Operations Captains (HazMat & TRT) who also act as Safety Captains on other scenes. (IIRC, the BC's safety captain used to be called a FIT, or Field Incident Technician.)

John
Peoria
For this I understand..... If I'm suiting up to enter an IDLH situation (SCBA's on/active flame/cutting tools) .. a white hat is appreciated... same with an MCI where you might have an LZ, or multiple unit coordination and notifications and interactions with other allied agencies... leave that stuff to the white hats..

But still seems weird for a "code" to me.. I just need a radioman to make base station contact, someone to help with medical history by searching for meds and talking to fam/witnesses, and maybe some bodies to help with lifting while I do my thing.... but if it works for them.. it works!

Good to know about the green helmet, that's a new one for me. Where I've worked, green was usually CERT or community relations....never seen that as Safety officer.
 

GlobalNorth

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Safety or sector officers?

A-5 was coming across as "ENC" and no audio on my scanner after the alarm call and for about ten minutes thereafter. The call was also omitted from the public Alarm call board as well.
 

KB7MIB

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I believe the BC will assume a sector command, while their captain will be their safety officer for that sector.

I've never heard encryption come across the A-decks. I use a Realistic PRO-2020 base, and a GRE PSR-500 handheld for A-deck monitoring. Both of course will pass encrypted audio, instead of muting it as my Uniden SDS-100 will. (Some SDS users have previously suggested a firmware update to add a menu item that we can use to toggle encrypted audio passing/muting on or off. I agree that such a feature should be added. This would be useful in finding encrypted channels/TG's that may only pop up for a second or two before search/scan resumes. Particularly search, while trying to discover unknown TG's.)

I can't explain why your scanner may have been indicating encrypted transmissions. Maybe they do have encryption available at the flip of a switch on the A-decks. Depending on the identity of the patient, that could explain why they had such a large response, and/or why your scanner indicated encryption was in use.

Has there been any report of a VIP death here in the Valley recently? Either with or without cause of death? I suppose, depending on their identity, their death may not be reported. (I'm not thinking political VIP here. Or even a Hollywood-type, or corporate executive.)

John
Peoria
 

DanRollman

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I've never heard encryption come across the A-decks.
I think you guys may be talking past eachother. You are both saying "A-5" and "A deck" but I suspect one of you is referring to VHF A-5, which is not encrypted, and the A-5 patch on the P25 RWC system, which the database says is encrypted. If true, that means the system receives unencrypted transmissions on VHF A-5 but adds encryption before repeating the audio over the trunked system. So both of you are right (or both of you are wrong, whichever way you want to look at it!).

Dan
 

KB7MIB

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I think you guys may be talking past eachother. You are both saying "A-5" and "A deck" but I suspect one of you is referring to VHF A-5, which is not encrypted, and the A-5 patch on the P25 RWC system, which the database says is encrypted. If true, that means the system receives unencrypted transmissions on VHF A-5 but adds encryption before repeating the audio over the trunked system. So both of you are right (or both of you are wrong, whichever way you want to look at it!).

Dan
In my post previous to the one you quoted, I specifically referenced them as, "...analog conventional VHF-High simplex channels."

I don't know if GlobalNorth was referencing the VHF-High channels, or the patched and encrypted talkgroups on the RWC. I hadn't considered that they may have been trying to listen to the encrypted patches.

John
Peoria
 

KB7MIB

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Getting back to the original question- are there AED's or other EMS equipment on the BC cars?
All firefighters in Arizona must possess an EMT-B certification. So the BC's and DC's should have at least BLS equipment in their units. If they're paramedic certified, they may carry more ALS gear, but probably not any drugs, unless they have a lockbox to keep them secured.
I don't recall exactly what BC 141 had in their truck when I attended the Daisy Mtn open house earlier this year.

John
Peoria
 

Foresigt

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In reading through this string again, I realized something that may clear up the question about BCs. Since you are talking about BC 141, Daisy Mountain, the BC is probably dispatched on those calls because I bet almost every code get's flow to the hospital because of the distance the they handle the LZ. That could change when Honor Health opens up the full Sonoran Hospital right down I-17.
 

KB7MIB

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I only mentioned BC 141 as I had gotten an up close look at it, and even took several pictures of it, at the open house earlier this year. I don't know in which jurisdiction the code calls that GlobalNorth mentioned were located, or if it actually matters due to a system-wide SOP to send a BC to certain code calls.
I'll have to try to pay a little closer attention to the calls to try to pick out the code calls and see who goes.

John
Peoria
 
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