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Ask Echo441!

The Londons Burning Glossary!

Wondered what RTA stands for? What is an HP? Well I can help!

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ACO - Assistant Chief Officer

ADO - Assistant Divisonal Officer (i.e ADO Skase, ADO Georgiadis)

ALP - Ariel Ladder Platform - Appliance with huge elevating arm and platform with ladder up the side of arm in case of malfunction.

Arson - Starting a fire deliberately


B.A. - Breathing Apparatus - Tanks of compressed air which firefighters use in smoke filled areas to breathe.

Branch - Metal part at the end of a hose that controls water output.



D.O - Divisional Officer (i.e. DO Chapman)

D.S.U. - Distress Signal Unit - attached to Breathing Apparatus to alert firefighters when they are short of air, or are in danger.


Echo 441 (or Echo 442) - The pump / pump ladders identification number. Blackwall Fire Station is Echo 44, so the first appliance away (pump) is Echo 441, with the Pump Ladder being Echo 442.


FRU - Fire Rescue Unit - Appliance with specialist rescue equipment used at major incidents (i.e. Paddington Rail Crash)

Fire Ground - Area where the crews are working on a shout.

Flashover - sudden ball of fire due to a huge intake of Oxygen (also known as backdraft)


Goer - Fire that is burning well

Guv or Guvnor - term used by London Firefighters to address the Station Officer


H.P - Hydraulic Platform - appliance with elevating arm and cage used for ariel firefighting and rescues.

Hoax - name for a malicious call where there is no incident

Hydrant - Water supply point from mains to be found on nearly every street.



Jet - another word for a water carrying hose.


Knock off - stop the water supply


L.F. - Leading Firefighter (also called Leading Hand)

Line - length of rope used for lifting, lowering or securing. Often to be found in yellow Line bags.


M2FS - Communication centre for South East London fire appliances

Make up - Shout is over, put all the equipment back on the appliance.

Make pumps <number> - Request <number> of pumps to attend this incident.

Multiple call - Incident where 4 or more calls have been recieved by control room



Off the run - anything out of order, unservicable etc.


Persons reported - Priority call to tell control that persons are unaccounted for. Pumps are then made 4 and an ambulance is called.

Pump - Appliance that can pump water

Pump Ladder - Appliance that can pump water but also has more variety of ladders including the 135 (13.5m).



R.T.A - Road Traffic Accident

Running Call - emergency call made by the public by either stopping a fire appliance on the street or going to a fire station.


Seat of fire - place where the fire started, often the first point of attack.

Shout - emergency call

Smoke Issueing - term used for smoke coming out of a building but no sign of fire.

Station Commander - ADO who controls all four watches on a station.

Station Officer - person in charge of a watch

Sub Officer - Station Officer's number 2.


T.L - Turntable Ladder - Appliance fitted with an 100ft extendable ladder. Only 3 or 4 remain in London, with the HP or ALP preferred.

Tally Board - Chart used by BA control to monitor number of Firefighters using BA and the time of oxygen left.

Turnout - mobilise to emergency call




Watch Room - Where emergency calls come through to a station via the teleprinter, also where the log book is kept.