I have combined the general fire department expressions, medical terminology, and abbreviations that I use throughout the book into this one chapter. This list contains definitions, explanations, and examples of usage of the terms that we regularly use on the fire department. They will be helpful for you to understand all of the things that I have written. It would have been too cumbersome and taken away from some of the stories if I had stopped to explain all of these terms when I used them. Since this list is both informative and descriptive, it’s even interesting to read it on its own.
I want to point out that general fire department terminology is a little different from one fire department to the next, especially in different parts of the United States.
Medical terminology in the list has been designated by “*MED” after the term.
Throughout the book, I have purposely used a lot of fire department terminology. I wanted to relate the stories in their natural form and for you to get a good taste of our terminology. After you finish reading this book, you will definitely have picked up and learned a lot of both fire department lingo and medical terminology. You may even start using some of the terms yourself.
3 - See “On a 3.”
07 – To cancel or to be cancelled.
10 - Out of service.
“13” – Refers to Station 13 where the Miami-Dade Fire Department administration had their offices for many years. It was eventually moved to a building that is now called “Headquarters.”
317 – An automobile accident.
342 – An ambulance.
911 – Besides being the numbers on a telephone that someone dials to report an emergency, it also refers to the whole emergency system.
ABCs *MED - Airway, Breathing, and Circulation. They are the things that we must first think about when we come across a person who is unconscious.
Acting lieutenant, captain, or chief – When a fireman temporarily works in a higher ranking position for some hours or for the shift, as in, “My lieutenant* is ‘acting’ as the captain* on the engine* for the shift.”
Advance the line or advance the hose – To drag or move a charged* hose line, usually toward a fire, with the intention of using it to put out a fire.
Air-truck – A vehicle with a big built-in air compressor that refills the air bottles that we breathe from. Besides repairing our SCBAs*, the air-truck responds to all major fires to refill the air bottles or replace the empties with full ones.
Airway-box *MED – A box that contains all the supplies and equipment that paramedics need to work on a victim’s “airway” to keep it open and the patient ventilated.
Alarm Office – The nerve-center or central room where all 911 calls are received and dispatched from. It is located in a building at the southwest corner of Sunset Drive and SW 87 Avenue in Miami.
Antecubital *MED – The area on the front-side of the elbow.
AMA *MED - Against Medical Advice. A release form that we try to get signed by a patient who doesn’t want to follow our medical advice.
Arrest *MED – Medically speaking, there are two types of arrests -- a respiratory arrest and a cardiac arrest. A respiratory arrest is when a person stops breathing. A cardiac arrest is when a person’s heart stops beating regularly and can’t sustain blood flow throughout their body.
Backboard – A board, usually made from three-quarter inch thick plywood that firemen use for carrying, immobilizing, and transporting injured patients. It’s about six feet long and about two feet wide.
Backdraft – A phenomenon in which a fire or a super-heated atmosphere suddenly explodes when oxygen is introduced, usually from opening a door or window, or when a hole is made in a roof.
Back of the rescue – Refers to the back compartment of a rescue truck where the stretcher is kept and where the third-man on the rescue rides. Sometimes firemen refer to it as the patient compartment.
Baseline *MED – A medical term used for a person’s normal, regular, or present condition. It is used to compare past or future conditions.
Battalion – A group of four or five stations that is under the supervision of one chief.
Battalion chief - A chief* who is in charge of his designated group of stations, as in, “The battalion chief responded to the fire in his territory* and took over command*.”
Been on – Refers to how long someone has been a fireman with a particular fire department, as in, “How long have you been on?”
Bench seat – The cushioned bench in the back of a rescue truck where people can sit. We can also put a backboard with a strapped in patient on it when we need to transport a second patient to a hospital.
Bids – The system we use, based on seniority and qualifications, where a fireman can choose a unit, station, or position to work. The word “bid” can be used correctly as either a noun or a verb. Example: “Jack just got the bid as the driver on Engine 21,” or “Senior guys usually bid the slower stations.” A position on a unit that doesn’t currently have a bid-in person, and is on the current bid list is said to be open for bid. A fireman can bid-out of a station if he decides he no longer wants to work with his current supervisor.
Blues – The dark blue jumpsuits that are one of our everyday uniforms. They are usually worn by paramedics riding rescue, as in, “Don is wearing blues today.”
BLS *MED - Basic Life Support. It means that there will be no advanced medical procedures done, i.e., no drugs, no intubation*, no defibrillation*.
Booster-line – A small-diameter, rubberized hose line that is pre-connected to the truck’s pump and is stored on a motorized reel. It is a very maneuverable hose that is usually either 150 or 200 feet long and is used for putting out small fires or grass fires.
Bounce – To work or substitute at different stations, filling in for whoever is sick, on vacation, or has the day off.
BP *MED – Blood pressure.
Breaching a wall – Refers to the act of putting a hole in a wall, so either fire gases or trapped people can escape. It usually conjures up visions of a fireman using a big sledge hammer to put a hole in a concrete wall.
Breech birth *MED – When a newborn comes out either buttocks or feet first, as opposed to the normal head-first presentation*. It’s a complicated situation for a paramedic.
Broadsided – When a car gets hit on its side, either the driver’s or passenger’s side, by another car’s front end. Not to be confused with head-on or rear-ended.
BS call – (You can probably figure this one out yourself.) A call that firemen don’t think is truly an emergency or should even have been called into the 911 system. BS, of course, stands for bull-shit.
Building assignment – A dispatch by the *alarm office* when a larger than normal number of suppression* units* are sent to some sort of building on fire, either an apartment building or a commercial property.
Bunker gear – The protective fire-resistant garments, usually a thick coat and a pair of pants, worn by firefighters while fighting fires and sometimes while performing other dangerous or dirty activities. On some fire departments, it is referred to as turn-out gear.
Bunker-out – To put on bunker gear when getting ready to fight a fire or deal with some hazardous condition, as in, “We had to bunker-out quickly because the auto fire was just down the street from the station.”
Burn-out – Refers to when a fireman, usually a paramedic, is subjected to and is finally adversely affected by the many years of pressure and stress of the job. The stress can manifest itself in many different, negative ways.
a Call – A so-called emergency that firemen have to respond to. It can be anything from an alarm ringing, to a medical call, to a grass fire, etc.
Call-it *MED – A doctor “calls-it” when he decides there is no chance to revive a person. He then stops all resuscitation efforts.
Captain – The rank* above lieutenant and below chief.
Charged line or charged hose – A hose line that is full of water and pressurized. It usually refers to a hose line that is ready to be used to put out a fire. To charge a hose means to pressurize it with water.
Chief – The highest rank* on the fire department.
Claxon – A piercingly loud noisemaker in fire stations that is meant to alert firemen, especially sleeping firemen, that they have a call.
C/O *MED - Complaining Of, as in, “On the rescue report, the lieutenant wrote that the patient was c/o chest pain.”
Command – The person, usually a chief, who is in charge at a fire and has the final say, as in, “Chief Gaines was command at the warehouse fire last night and he eventually ordered everyone to evacuate the building.”
Company - The complete group of firemen that work on a particular unit*. It can also mean the unit and the men together. A single-company station has only one unit, either an engine or a rescue.
The County - Refers to the entire government and administration of Miami-Dade County, not only of the Fire Department.
CPR *MED - Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation.
CR or CR day - The 24-hour shift that we get off every seventh shift that we are scheduled to work. It is explained in detail in the chapter, We Always Get Tomorrow Off.
Crew – The members of a particular unit*, as in, “The crew of Engine 37 is very aggressive when it comes to fighting fires.”
CYA - Cover Your Ass. To make sure you do everything you can to prevent yourself from being legally at fault.
Day-room – The room in a fire station where most of the activity takes place. It’s usually next to the kitchen because it’s where the dining room table and the main TV are located. Besides eating there, it’s where we sit, talk, watch TV, and have meetings.
Defibrillate – To shock a person with a certain amount of electricity to try to get their heart to start beating regularly again.
Diaphoretic *MED – Sweaty, usually a cold sweat in a cool place. This term is also used when a patient is “cold and clammy.”
Dispatcher – The men and women who work at the *alarm office* and “dispatch” us on calls. They also transmit and receive information to and from us about other fire department related issues.
DOA *MED - Dead on arrival, i.e., when the patient is dead when we arrive.
Doing hydrants – The actual job of checking, greasing, flowing, and painting fire hydrants. It is explained in detail in the chapter, Are We Doing Hydrants Today?
Dorm – The room in the station where firemen sleep. There are usually both a rescue dorm for rescue guys and an engine dorm for the others, in each station. They are separate rooms, so everyone doesn’t get woken up when just one of the units* has to go on a call at night.
Down – A term we use when a person is “down,” usually on the ground, and is unresponsive, as in, “Rescue 14 respond to a ‘man down’ in the parking lot.”
Dump fire – A fire that is burning in a place where a large quantity of trash or garbage is stored or buried.
E-9 - Engine 9 (E-37 is Engine 37, etc.).
EKG *MED - Electro Cardiogram. A two-dimensional look at the way a person’s heart is beating.
EMS *MED - Emergency Medical Service.
EMT *MED - Emergency Medical Technician.
An Engine – A fire *suppression unit*, a firetruck.
ER *MED - Emergency Room.
Exposure – A building or structure that is adjacent to or exposed to something that is on fire, as in, “The chief made a decision to let the fire burn itself out and just protect the exposures.”
Extricate - To take a person out from inside a confined place. It usually refers to using some kind of mechanical device to free a person from a mangled car after an auto accident.
Febrile *MED – Something to do with or caused by a high fever, e.g., a febrile seizure.
Feeding hose – When a fireman facilitates the handling of a hose by the nozzleman*. The “feeder” keeps slack in the hose so the nozzleman can easily advance the hose if he needs to. The feeder also keeps the hose from catching on anything or getting tangled up.
FHP - Florida Highway Patrol.
Fibrillation *MED – A condition when the heart is basically quivering or contracting rapidly and irregularly. It is not beating regularly enough to sustain blood flow. It can happen for a number of reasons.
Fire boots – The knee-high, heavy-duty, steel-toed, water-proof boots that firemen wear when they fight fires or do heavy work.
Fire hydrant – The yellow things everywhere that seem to just sprout out of the ground. They are connected to the city’s water supply and are used by firemen to get their supply of water. They are also referred to as just “hydrants.”
First-in – The unit* that is closest to the location of a fire and should be the first unit to arrive and start fighting the fire. “Are we first-in?” is a common question when we are getting on the truck to respond to a house fire.
Get-on - See: got-on
Get-out – Refers to when a firemen leaves or evacuates a building, usually for safety reasons, as in, “After the captain saw the conditions inside the warehouse, he ordered all of us to get-out.”
Gold badge – It refers to an officer*, i.e., anyone at the rank* of lieutenant, captain, or chief. Gold is the color of their badges. Firemen at the lowest rank of firefighter have a silver-colored badge.
Got-on - Refers to when someone first got hired by the fire department and started working as a fireman, as in, “He was only twenty-one when he got-on.”
Grays – Our everyday, gray work uniforms, usually worn by the guys on the engines, as in, “He’s wearing grays today even though he’s a paramedic.”
Ground ladder – One of the regular ladders that firemen place on the ground and lean against a house or building. It’s different than a roof ladder or an aerial ladder.
GSW *MED - Gun Shot Wound.
Holding or to hold – When a fireman has to stay and work at the station until his relief* or replacement gets there, as in, “I have to hold this morning until the overtime guy gets here from Station 8.”
Hose evolution – An outline of a systematic progression of the duties of each man on the truck when pulling off the hose that is stored in the “bed” of the firetruck and then laying it out to the fire. There are a few different ways of laying down the hose and ultimately flowing water through it to the fire.
Hot-drill – A training exercise that includes real fire in a confined space. It causes the atmosphere inside to get extremely hot.
Hotline – Also referred to as the red-line. The red telephone in the station that is reserved and used only for emergencies and official conversations with the *alarm office*.
Hot spots - Places, usually hidden in the walls or ceilings of a structure, or in open areas outside, where there is still active or smoldering fire.
Hotel-roll – A folded-up section of hose with all the necessary accessories needed to fight a fire. Firemen take it with them on all reported hotel or apartment building fires so they can connect this “reliable hose” to the building’s water pipes and use it to put out the fire.
Hydrant – See: fire hydrant.
Hydrant box - A box, usually wooden or heavy cardboard, that we carry all our supplies in, when we are *doing hydrants*. The supplies include paint, brushes, grease, rags, etc.
Hydrant-wrench – A metal tool that is used to open and close the water valve on fire hydrants. It’s also used to remove the caps on the sides of hydrants where the water flows out.
In the field – The term that firemen use to specify working at a fire station and responding on emergencies, as opposed to working in an administrative office or in training.
Incontinent *MED – When someone loses control of their bodily functions, either #1 or #2, or both.
Intubate *MED – The act of sticking a hollow plastic tube, about the same diameter as their little finger, down a patient's throat, through their vocal chords, and into their lungs to allow us to pump air straight into their lungs.
IV *MED - Intravenous. The method of administering drugs or fluids directly into the bloodstream for quick absorption by using a bag of fluid, tubing, and a needle and catheter, inserted directly into a vein.
Jaws or the Jaws of Life – An extremely powerful machine that uses both a gasoline powered generator and hydraulic powered arms (Jaws) to pry apart, move, open, or cut things. Firemen usually use them to free, or extricate*, someone from a wrecked car.
(See picture #10.)
JMH - Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Jump a call – When a unit* hears a call going out *on the air* and takes the call even though it wasn’t originally their call or even in their territory. Gung-ho officers do this sometimes just to keep busy or when it sounds like a good call.
Jump-line – Usually a one-and-a-half inch hose line about 150 feet long that is pre-attached to a discharge outlet on the truck. They are conveniently folded and packed in a certain way on the truck so they can be pulled off easily and quickly, and stretched to the fire when firemen “jump” off of the truck.
Jump-seat – In the older firetrucks, the open seats behind the front cab. It’s where the firemen in the back would sit and could quickly and easily “jump off” of the truck to go fight a fire.
Kitty – The collection of things at a fire station, usually food items, that firemen chip in to buy and are used by everyone, as in, “Tell the ‘Kitty-Man’ that we are out of crunchy peanut butter.”
Knock down a fire – To extinguish or reduce the flames and heat of the more vigorously burning part of a fire.
Ladder a building - To set up ladders for the purpose of gaining access or rescuing someone from either inside, outside, or the top of a building.
Lieutenant - The rank above firefighter and below captain.
Life-pack *MED – A machine that can test and measure many heart related functions. It can also display a person’s EKG*, defibrillate* or “shock” a person, cardio-vert a person, or act as a pacemaker.
Light-duty – When a fireman is not able to work at a station, and is working at a desk-job or an assignment that is less demanding physically or mentally, as in, “He’s been on light-duty for over three months because of his bad back.”
Live wire – An electric wire that is still charged with electricity, as in, “After the car ran into the electric pole, there was a ‘live wire’ dangling on the ground.”
Log book – A green, journal-type book, kept at all stations, in which firemen record or “log-in” all activities associated with the station.
Low-bid – A method the County uses of buying things from the supplier who sells it at the lowest price, as in, “It’s not surprising that our truck is always breaking down -- it’s low-bid.”
LT – Lieutenant.
Man-trap – A dangerous condition or situation, usually structural, that is hidden or not easily detectable by firemen that can be of great bodily harm to them.
MAST suit *MED - Military Anti-Shock Trousers. They are similar to a pair of pants. They can be filled with air that exerts pressure on the lower part of the body. Its intent is to keep the body’s blood in the top part of the body where it is needed most. They were first used by military pilots to keep them from passing out.
Medical-box, also called the med-box for short. *MED – A box, similar to a fishing tackle-box with lots of trays and individual spaces, that contain medical supplies including medicines, IV bags, needles, etc. We carry it with us on all medical-related calls.
Memo, short for memorandum – An official notification, which can be on a number of various subjects, that is sent out by the fire department administration to all stations.
Metro – Refers to the unincorporated part of Miami-Dade County. It also refers to the Metro Dade County Fire Department which later was renamed, the Miami-Dade County Fire Department. It is not to be confused with the City of Miami Fire Department which is a different fire department within Miami.
Mobile radio – The hand-held radio that firemen carry with them. It’s not as reliable nor does it get as good reception as the station or truck radios.
Move-up – When a unit has to go to a different station and “cover” the territory of another unit that is on a major call, in training, or just not able to respond to calls for an extended period of time.
Nomex – A durable, flame-resistant material used in the fabric of a fireman’s bunker coat and pants, gloves, and hood.
Nozzleman or on the nozzle – The fireman who is at the end of the hose line controlling the nozzle and thus controlling the actual flow of water.
OD *MED – Overdose, usually on drugs.
Off-going - The crew that has just ended their shift, and is going home.
Officer – A fireman who has the rank of either lieutenant, captain, or chief. He has the responsibility of being in charge of other firemen. See: Gold badge.
Officer-in-charge – The officer who has the highest rank and the ultimate responsibility, out of a group of firemen, either on a call or at a station.
OIC – Short for Officer-in-Charge.
On a 3 – Responding in a fire vehicle to an emergency as quickly as possible, with lights flashing and sirens blaring.
On a 10 – Means that a unit* is out of service. They are not able to respond to a call for various reasons, including a personnel shortage, mechanical problems, lack of equipment, being out of their territory, or being on special training.
On the air – Refers to anything relating to broadcasting over the fire department radio. It also means that firemen are listening to or “monitoring” the radio -- as opposed to being in the station, not listening to the radio, and relying on the claxon* or the telephone to notify them of a call. It can either be while in the truck, on a call, or anywhere when firemen can’t rely on a noise system to alert them to a call.
On the department – This one is obvious. It refers to someone being a fireman on the fire department, as in, “He’s one of the few guys on the department who ...” We say on the department, not in the department.
On the nozzle – See: Nozzleman.
On-coming – The crew that is coming on and just beginning their shift.
OT – Overtime.
Overhauling – What firemen do at the end of fighting a fire to make sure the fire is completely out. It usually involves tearing apart walls and ceilings to make sure there are no hidden *hot spots* that can turn into big fires again.
Palpate *MED – In a medical sense, to feel or to press with your hands.
Parapet wall – A wall usually about three feet high that is built on the outside edge of flat roofs on buildings higher than one story. They are built as a safety measure so people don’t walk off the edge of the roof.
Positive-pressure fan – A big, strong, mechanical fan that forces air into a structure to clear out or push out the smoke.
Presenting *MED – In reference to a childbirth, it is when a baby begins to show the first signs that it is coming out of the mother.
Protocols *MED - A list, neatly outlined in our “protocol book” of some one hundred medical situations that we may encounter, and the step-by-step procedures that we must follow to treat that particular medical condition.
PSD - Public Safety Department, i.e., the police.
PT - Physical Training.
Pull (a hose) – To take a hose off of the truck and get it ready to use on a fire, as in, “The chief told us to pull the 150 foot jump-line and advance* it to the front door.”
Quadrant *MED – One of the four parts of a person’s stomach. They are upper right and left, and lower right and left.
Quarters – A unit’s or a fireman’s normal station, as in, “Rescue 36, return to quarters,” which means for R-36* to go back to their station, or “Engine 14 is in quarters,” which means they are at Station 14, their normal station.
In quarters - A unit is in their station.
Out of quarters - It doesn't mean that firemen don’t have any more 25-cent pieces in their pockets. It means that the unit is not in their station.
Quartered – Refers to where a unit is stationed -- not that someone has been cut into four pieces.
R-36 - Rescue 36 (R-8 is Rescue 8, etc.).
Rank – A classification or level of firemen. They start at firefighter which is the lowest, then progress to lieutenant, captain, and to chief.
Recall – The noise-generating system in a station that alerts firemen to listen to the radio for a call* or an announcement. Claxons* are part of the recall system.
Recall check – When the *alarm office* sets off the station recall* to see if it’s working properly.
Recruit – A person who has been hired by the fire department and only needs to successfully complete Fire College to become a certified firefighter.
Red Books – A series of about eighteen books, all with red covers, that contain firefighting techniques and instructional information. Each one specializes in one area of fire fighting. All recruits receive a set to study.
Reference – The reason someone calls 911, as in, “The reference on the call was: ‘Fifty-six year old woman has chest pain.’”
Rekindle – When a fire starts up again after firefighters have supposedly, already put it out. It is very embarrassing for everyone involved.
Relief - Guys of any rank that don't have bids*. They fill in wherever they are needed, as in, “We had a relief lieutenant riding with us today because our regular LT* called in sick.”
Rappel – To use a rope and special belt or harness to lower oneself down the side of a building or a structure, or from a helicopter.
Rescue dorm – The room in the station where the guys working on the rescue sleep.
Riding rescue – When a fireman is riding or working on the “medical” rescue unit, as opposed to working on a firetruck.
Riding tailboard – When a fireman rides as a firefighter in one of the back seats on a firetruck. The term originated when firemen, not including the driver and the officer, would actually stand on the tailboard of a firetruck when riding to a fire.
Roof ladder – A fourteen foot, single-section ladder that firemen use to lay down on a roof so they can stand on it. It is used for safety when firemen need to stand or work on a roof that might be unstable. The ladder has hooks on one end that can hook to a ridge or a peak of a roof to keep it in place.
Rookie – A firefighter who has graduated from Fire College and is working *in the field* during his first year.
Run on – To respond on a call, as in, “We’ve run on this diabetic patient before,” or “Rescue 21 regularly runs on heart attack patients.”
S-36 - Squirt* 36.
Scene – The physical location where firemen respond to a call, or the actual place where they are working on an emergency.
SCBA - Self Contained Breathing Apparatus. The air-pack a fireman wears so he can breathe clean air when he is in smoky, hot, or toxic environments. It consists of an air tank, hoses, a regulator, gauges, and a face mask. We usually call it a self-contained or an air-tank.
SCUBA – Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. The equipment divers use so they can breathe underwater.
Self-contained – See: SCBA
Seniority – The amount of time that a fireman has been on the fire department or at a certain rank.
Shift – The twenty-four straight hours we work from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 a.m. the next morning. We call the three groups that rotate the shifts, A-shift, B-shift, and C-shift. It is explained in detail in the chapter, We Always Get Tomorrow Off.
Squirt – A special type of firetruck that has a hydraulic ladder system, usually with a fifty foot capability, that firemen can either climb, or flow water through so they can “squirt” water on a fire.
Standpipe – Permanent, vertical, large diameter pipes with outlet valves on each floor that carry water to the upper floors of a building for the purpose of extinguishing a fire.
Start – To send a unit* to respond to an emergency, usually when firemen need and request additional units at the scene where they are, as in, “Start a second rescue, an engine, and Air Rescue -- we have multiple shooting victims.”
Station 13 – See “13.”
Station commander – The highest ranking officer at a station. He is basically in charge of everything that happens at the station.
Straight-line *MED – When a person’s EKG* shows a straight line, i.e., there is no longer a heart beat or any type of shivering or fibrillating* of the heart. There is virtually no chance the heart can be converted back to a heart beat. It is simulated on TV when you hear the EKG machine sound a continuous alarm, and you literally see a straight line on the monitor to signify that the patient is dead.
Suppression dorm – The room in the station where the guys riding on the firetruck sleep.
Suppression unit – The units* that carry fire fighting equipment and whose job it is to respond and “suppress” fires. It refers to the fire department vehicles and men that actually respond to emergencies, as opposed to administrative vehicles or personnel. In some instances, we use it to refer to a firetruck that actually carries water and hoses to put out fires, as opposed to a rescue truck or battalion chief’s vehicle.
Swap-time – When two firemen arrange to work for each other on different days, as in, “I have to work swap-time tomorrow at 34 after my shift today at 36.” It allows both firemen to get a day off from their regular shift without losing any annual time or having to call in sick. We also call it exchange-time.
Tailboard – See: Riding tailboard.
Telemetry *MED – A machine that can both send an EKG* to the hospital for further evaluation and convey voice messages like a mobile telephone.
Territory – The primary area that a particular station responds to.
Third-party call – An emergency that was called in by a person who was in a location other than where the emergency was.
Thumper *MED – A very intricate machine that does CPR*. It actually does chest compressions and even delivers “breaths” once the patient has been intubated*.
Trauma – A phrase we use to signify an injury, as opposed to a medical condition or illness, as in, “When I first got-on*, it took me a while to get used to responding on major automobile accidents because of all the bad trauma.”
Trauma-box – Similar to our medical-box*, but it contains an abundance of bandages and supplies that we normally need on trauma*-related calls.
Triage *MED – To quickly examine people to determine the extent of their illness or injuries, and to get some idea what treatment they will require.
Unit - An individual emergency vehicle, e.g., a rescue truck, firetruck, rescue boat, etc.
Under control – When a fire is either completely put out or extinguished to the point that there is no danger of it spreading any further.
Ventilate or ventilation – Terms used in two ways. One for creating openings in a building, usually in the roof or upper windows, to let the hot fire gases escape during a fire; and two, getting the smoke out of a structure, usually by using fans, after the fire has been extinguished.
Walk-in – A person with an emergency who comes to us at the station instead of calling 911 and having us go to them.
Waver – A helpful person who, after they call 911, stands in front of their house or apartment complex and signals or “waves” to us to let us know exactly where the emergency is or where we need to go.
White-shirt – Usually refers to a chief, but it can be any fireman, who is not riding on a suppression* unit. They usually wear white shirts and dark blue pants instead of the regular grays* or blues* that the firefighters working at the stations wear. In other words, they are basically supervisors, who don’t plan on getting their hands or uniforms dirty.
Vital signs or vitals *MED - They include a patient’s blood pressure, pulse, respirations, eye reactions to light, skin temperature and color, state of consciousness, etc.
Work someone *MED - When firemen, paramedics, or doctors use all their equipment and knowledge to try to resuscitate someone whose heart has stopped and is clinically dead, as in, “We worked our patient, right there on his kitchen floor, for over thirty minutes before we loaded him up and took him to the hospital.”