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The following is a list of firefighting terms commonly used in London's Burning.


Term Definition
ACO Assistant Chief Officer (or Area Commander); A senior London Fire Brigade rank, the immediate superior of a Divisional Officer (DO) and subordinate to the Chief Officer. The ACO oversees an entire area of London and takes charge of large incidents. The rank was indicated by two impellers (one surrounded by a laurel wreath) on the epaulettes and two 19mm thick black stripes on a white helmet. The rank is now known as Assistant Commissioner. ACOs in London's Burning included Bulstrode and Baxter.
ADO Assistant Divisional Officer (or Station Commander); A London Fire Brigade rank, the immediate superior of a Station Officer and subordinate to a Divisional Officer. The ADO commanded all four watches at a fire station. The rank was indicated by three impellers on the epaulettes and a 19mm thick black stripe on a white helmet. The rank is now known as Station Manager. ADOs in London's Burning included Petrie and Scase.
ALP Aerial Ladder Platform; a platform attached to a large hydraulic ladder. It provides a high platform from which fires can be tackled or to rescue persons out of the reach of regular ladders.
Appliance A fire engine.
Area Commander See ACO.
AWG The most common used Jet branch used between series 1-8 & 11-12
AWOL (Absent Without Leave) A firefighter who fails to report for duty without notifying a superior giving just cause, or who absconds without permission. It is considered a serious offence and can result in disciplinary measures.
BA Breathing Apparatus; face masks and tanks of compressed air worn by firefighters to allow normal breathing in smoke or gas filled areas
Branch The metal nozzle and trigger mechanism attached to the end of a hose to control water output.
Chief Fire Officer The Chief Fire Officer (or Commissioner for Fire and Emergency Planning) is the highest ranking officer in the British fire and rescue services. The CFO oversees the entire Brigade and will take charge of large incidents. The rank is indicated by three impellers, one surrounded by a laurel wreath and a 38mm thick black stripe on a white helmet. The London Fire Brigade's CFO presided over a disciplinary hearing in series 2 and was seen at the 20 pump shout in series 4.
DO Divisional Officer; A London Fire Brigade rank, the immediate superior of an ADO and subordinate to the Assistant Chief Officer. The DO commanded a division, or group of fire stations in a given area. The rank was indicated by one impeller surrounded by a laurel wreath and two black stripes (19mm and 12.5mm thick) on a white helmet. The rank is now known as Group/Area Manager. DOs in London's Burning included Scase, Quinn and Chapman.
Dry Riser A system of pipes in high rise structures, allowing the fire brigade to pump water to the upper floors of a building.
DSU Distress Signal Unit; an alarm device carried by firefighters in dangerous situations to signal that they are running low on oxygen or in danger.
Echo 441/442 The call sign of Blackwall Fire Station's pumps, indicating its division (Echo), station number (44) and pumps (1 and 2). In Series 13 Blackwall's Aerial Ladder Platform used the call sign Echo 445. When the series was made Echo Division's real life stations went up to 43. It is now the call sign of Lambeth Fire Station.
EVAC A walkie talkie.
Firefighter (previously Fireman/Firewoman). The entry level rank in the Brigade, the firefighter carries out day to day firefighting duties.
Fire Investigation Unit (or Fire Investigation Team); a specialised branch of the Fire Brigade which investigates suspected cases of arson. An FIU headed by Peter Jonah was stationed at Shadbrook Fire Station. John Hallam was briefly seconded to work with the unit. Chris Hammond also served with the FIU.
Flashover A large ball of flame caused by a sudden intake of oxygen. Blue Watch encountered a flashover during the shout at the laser quest in series 7.
FRU Fire Rescue Unit; A heavy rescue vehicle which carries generators, floodlights, longer duration breathing apparatus and specialised cutting, winching and pulling equipment for more complex and dangerous rescues.
HP Hydraulic Platform; a fire appliance equipped with a hydraulic arm and cradle for use at high-rise incidents.
Jumper A slang term for a person who commits suicide (or is attempting to) by jumping from a high building.
Leading Firefighter (also Leading Fireman/Leading Firewoman; Leading Hand); a former rank in the London Fire Brigade indicated by one silver bar on the epaulettes and one 12.5mm thick black stripe on a yellow helmet. The Leading Firefighter often commanded the crew of one appliance. The rank has since been replaced by the Crew Manager role. Leading firefighters in London's Burning included Malcolm Cross, Geoff Pearce and Josie Ingham.
Line A length of rope used at shouts for securing, lowering and lifting.
Make pumps [X] An order given at an escalating incident to increase the number of fire appliances/fire crews in attendance to the stated amount. [X] is number of fire appliances/fire crews at or needed for a shout
Malicious/Mickey A hoax call.
Noble A powerjet branch used for larger incidents such as the large warehouse fire in series 4
Off the run An appliance not available for use, for instance due to damage or not having sufficient crew members.
Persons Reported A priority call to signify that there are civilians in danger or unaccounted for at an incident.
Pump A fire appliance equipped with a large tank of water which can be pumped at a fire.
Pump Ladder The same as a pump, though equipped with a longer (13.5m) ladder and a cat ladder for climbing roofs.
RTA Road Traffic Accident.
Running Call An emergency the fire brigade are not summoned to by the bells. Instead, an appliance might be waved down by a member of the public or a crew may already be at the scene.
Shout An informal term for any incident to which the fire brigade are called.
Station Commander See ADO
Station Officer A former London Fire Brigade rank indicated by two impellers on the epaulettes and a 12.5mm thick black stripe on a white helmet. The Station Officer was the day-to-day commander of a watch at larger fire stations. It has since been supplanted by the Watch Manager and Station Manager roles. Station Officers in London's Burning included Sidney Tate, Nick Georgiadis, Chris Hammond and John Coleman.
Sub Officer A former London Fire Brigade rank indicated by two silver stripes on the epaulettes and two 12.5mm thick black stripes on a yellow helmet. The "Sub" was second-in-command of watches at larger stations and commander at smaller stations. The rank has since been supplanted by the Crew Manager and Watch Manager roles. Sub Officers in London's Burning included John Hallam, Carole Webb and Geoff Pearce.
Watch A designated shift of firefighters at a station. In most UK fire services the watches are blue, red, white and green.
45 A line of layflat hose used for main jets
70 A wider line of layflat hose used for water relay, supply and powerjets

See alsoEdit

London's Burning
London's BurningEpisodesSeries
Blue WatchSupporting charactersCast
WritersProducersDirectors
AppliancesStationsFirefighting termsLondon Fire Brigade
BooksDVDsVHSQuotesErrors

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