responding on a " still " ??

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nitetrain5

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what does it mean when fire/medical dispatch says ' you're responding on a " still "? I hear the call is usually for a box alarm ? Thanks
 

CrabbyMilton

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It may vary slightly by dept. but genarally that means that if an unit is at a scene or in transit, someone may run up to them and tell them or may observe a fire or a medical issue. Then they would call it in to let dispacther to know that they are going to be responding.
 

wmlovell

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A "Box Alarm" comes from the old pull box system where a person would pull a street box alarm notification that is typically on a particular intersection. When that specific "box" was activated, departments would respond with a pre-determined amount of equipment depending on the structures in that area and the types of hazards, as the type of call was unknown.

A "Still Alarm" was a specific type of call where an engine was required to respond but not the rest of the alarm assignment as the type of call was already known and determined that it could be handled by the single engine company.

Tradition has kept this terminology in some of the departments. A Box Alarm is a request for service where more than one piece of equipment is required to respond, eg. Structure Fire, Fire Alarm, etc. A Still Alarm is a response for a single Engine, eg. CO detector, medical first response, open burning complaint, public assist, etc.

At least this is the case in my neck of the woods. Hope this helps.
 

Jay911

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This terminology definitely differs across the country/continent. Not sure where you are, nitetrain, but in my locale, a still alarm is more like Milton described - an incident discovered directly by the crew. I would suspect its name originated from the fact that the alarm bells would be "still", as in not moving/activating, when a citizen walks up to report an incident to the fire crew.

Many places call a "still alarm" a single crew response, as wmlovell reports. Departments may send a single fire truck to, for example, alarms ringing in a building. Some places call that a "still alarm" - reason unknown. If it turns out to be a real fire when they get there, they will ask dispatch to "strike out the box", i.e. send the rest of the response.
 

KAA951

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Ditto here.

A still, such as "make a rescue still" or "make a non-emergency still", refers to a modified alarm where a single company / apparatus will respond. "Make a still on the dumpster fire..."

An alarm normally refers to a fire call where a full complement of companies / apparatus (engines, trucks, running chiefs etc) respond to a call.

Years ago when I was on a volunteer department, they had a "still tone" -that only set off pagers and did not activate the overhead siren- for non-emergency calls and announcements.

I did a little research and found the following definition:

still alarm (n)- A fire alarm transmitted silently, as by telephone, rather than by sounding the conventional signal.

It most likely harkens back to the days when pull boxes were installed throughout a city- which automatically caused alarms to sound in stations.
 

KAA951

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Ditto here.

A still, such as "make a rescue still" or "make a non-emergency still", refers to a modified alarm where a single company / apparatus will respond. "Make a still on the dumpster fire..."

An alarm normally refers to a fire call where a full complement of companies / apparatus (engines, trucks, running chiefs etc) respond to a call.

I did a little research and found the following "book" definition:

still alarm (n)- A fire alarm transmitted silently, as by telephone, rather than by sounding the conventional signal.

It most likely harkens back to the days when pull boxes were installed throughout a city- which automatically caused alarms to sound in stations.
 

nitetrain5

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wmlovell said:
A "Box Alarm" comes from the old pull box system where a person would pull a street box alarm notification that is typically on a particular intersection. When that specific "box" was activated, departments would respond with a pre-determined amount of equipment depending on the structures in that area and the types of hazards, as the type of call was unknown.

A "Still Alarm" was a specific type of call where an engine was required to respond but not the rest of the alarm assignment as the type of call was already known and determined that it could be handled by the single engine company.

Tradition has kept this terminology in some of the departments. A Box Alarm is a request for service where more than one piece of equipment is required to respond, eg. Structure Fire, Fire Alarm, etc. A Still Alarm is a response for a single Engine, eg. CO detector, medical first response, open burning complaint, public assist, etc.

At least this is the case in my neck of the woods. Hope this helps.
thanks for the info . Interesting how the terminology came about....makes a lot of sense to me now !
 

nitetrain5

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Thanks for the responses .much more interesting than anticipated! By the way I was referring to calls in New Haven, CT
 

RKG

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My take on this is a tad different:

1) In my experience, the term "still" or "still alarm" refers to an initial dispatch of a response (which may or may not be limited to a single Company or piece of apparatus), usually initiated by Fire Alarm, based on something other than the authority of a struck box.

2) Where a Company itself encounters a situation requiring a response (either by itself or by others), the term I've usually encountered is "on site." (E.g., "Engine 1 to Fire Alarm: onsited an MVA Smith and Main Streets, probably PI.") The result of an "onsite" report may be he intitiation of a "still," but this doesn't equate "still" with an encountered situation.

3) In the jurisdictions I'm familiar with, the term used for situations where a person comes up to a Company and advises of a situation requiring response, which the Company itself hasn't witnessed, is "citizen report," versus "still," precisely to negate any implication that the Company is reporting its own observation.

The origin of the term "still" is a bit unclear (at least to me), but an explanation I've heard more than once, and which makes sense, is that the response has been ordered even though the alarm bells that historically would be sounding if a street box had been pulled are not ringing, i.e., they are "still."
 

jrholm

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In the Greater Los Angeles area (at least LA and San Berdo counties) a still alarm has been from something not called in by an informant, such as a flag down or a person sick that walked into the fire station.

It's not uncommon to hear something like;

"Squad 47 show me on a still alarm at station 47 person sick walked in"
 
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