The Orange Button “Emergency Button”

When declaring an Emergency, you call the word May Day THREE TIMES!! Why Three Times? Because the first two may not be heard for many reasons. Other noise, scanning feature, bad transmission and so on… Calling the May Day is just the START of confirming Command and other Firefighters operating on the Fire Ground truly understand that there is a Firefighter in trouble and needs immediate assistance. Historically, Firefighters that have been in trouble were heard and understood by Firefighters not operating on the fire ground who were listening to radio transmissions. This is another REASON why firefighters not assigned to the incident should monitor radio traffic. Be Pro-Active and Listen, even when your company is not assigned to the BOX! What If you hear something that no one else hears?  What if? when you call the May Day, your portable microphone is not transmitting and the words May Day are not being heard, or there are numerous May Days all at once. Then who is tracking all the May Days? There were 9 Firefighters trapped in June of 2007 in Charleston and only one May Day came across/was recorded over the air. There was one Orange button that was activated by Ladder 5. Ladder 5 Driver activated his orange button. The Dispatcher came across and advised Ladder 5 drivers orange button is off. What if? 8 other Firefighters would have activated their orange button early enough? We must STUDY and learn from others before us and try to improve for the FUTURE. Everybody knows how and when to call a May Day, but still so many times the words are not being heard. We continue to train on calling the May Day, but need to also FOCUS on the Orange Button and how much it has to offer. When the ORANGE button is activated an EMERGENCY has been declared until otherwise canceled. With the activation of ORANGE button, it also signals what radio it is. This is only as good as you are at confirming that you’re wearing/using the radio for your assigned seat. Remember Captain 8A in Houston on North Loop, they knew he was in need of assistance and who he was, based on radio identifier. The ORANGE button will work, when the mic will not. The orange button will tell Command, the dispatcher, and other firefighters who is in trouble without ever hearing your voice. So remember how important the ORANGE button truly is and wearing the assigned radio. Do you or your Chiefs have a list of assigned radio numbers and what radio is assigned to what seat? Do the Officers know their crews radio numbers when displayed on the screen? It shouldn’t be Morse Code.


Last thought, can you and your firefighters activate the ORANGE button with GLOVES on? Have you trained on it? Who and how do you reset it? What Channel will the ORANGE button work on? Is Your ORANGE button covered by Radio Strap? Remember the Devil is in the Details? Confirm your Orange button is not blocked by strap and practice using the antenna as a guide for gloved hand and locating ORANGE button.




Radio Emergency button covered

Improper Placement of Strap.

Radio Emergency Button
Proper Placement!!

The VOICE is in the BUTTON!! Do Not Cover the Voice!!

The Orange Button is On Top of Calling the May Day and giving your LUNAR..

First Due Command/Fast Attack Mode

Do your Drivers/Engineers carry two radios when First Due? Why is this critical for communications? How does this assist the Company Officer and/or responding Chief? How does your Driver carry their radio? Why is this sometimes better than the CO carrying two radios? Why is this better tha just being on scan?

Fireground Radio Operations

Should we wear our radio under our coat or outside our coat?

Where should the First Due Company Officer be on a Working House Fire? What is the most important First Due Tactic on a Working House Fire? Does the Officer on the Front Lawn make it safer? Listen to Chief Salka’s opinion. Click on LINK BELOW. It is only Two Minutes long.

Reporting to Command

How do you report to command?

Do report ready and looking for work? Is it obvious your COMBAT READY? What should you bring with you, when command simply says report to the command post/me? Have you confirmed what channel tactics will operate off of?

After your first ROUND. How do you prepare for the SECOND round?

How do you breakdown once outside?

When do change out bottles? How do you prepare your gear while in REHAB? Do you always remember to turn off PASS? Do you confirm lights are still charged? Do you know who replaced you inside? Have you given a report on inside conditions? WHERE IS YOUR CREW? Do you all stay together while outside?