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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.
Anti Flash Gear Special gloves and a hood which protect firefighters in fires that involve explosives. Compulsory BA gear from series 11 due to law changes and integration in the new uniforms
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) The status given to 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.
Covering Jet A Covering Jet is the largest and most powerful hose used at larger fires. It usually consists of 1 or multiple lengths of 70mm hose and a Noble Powerjet Branch. Occasionally (such as the motorway crash in series 5) they use the AWG branch as well. After 2000 the LFB stopped using these branches and now use Rosenbauer Projet II branches
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. The real life callsign of Dockhead fire station is E34.
EVAC A walkie talkie.
Firefighter (previously Fireman/Firewoman before 1992). 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.
Jet A jet is a larger hose that is used at well developed fires. It consists of one or multiple lengths of 45mm hose and (from series 1-8,11-12) an AWG branch. In series 9 and 10 they were trialling Chubb branches which were easier to hold and use.
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 before 1992; Leading Hand); a 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 (mostly aerials) or was 2nd in command of a pump or pump ladder. The rank was scrapped in the mid 2000's before reverting in 2019. 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. For instance, "make pumps six".
Malicious/Mickey A hoax call.
Noble Branch A Covering Jet branch used for larger incidents such as the large warehouse fire in series 4
Off the run A term used for 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 9m ladder and a large tank of water which can be pumped at a fire.
Pump Escape A standard fire appliance equipped with a 15.4m wheeled escape ladder. Although the escape ladder was discontinued from the early 1980s the appliances still remained operational with modifications to equip a 9m or 13.5m ladder. One of the Shelvoke & Drewy appliances used in the movie and series 1-2 were originally Escapes and a 1977 Dennis Escape was used in the episode Ding Dong Merrily
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.
SP Incident description
Station Commander See ADO
Station Officer A 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 is the day-to-day commander of a watch at larger fire stations and is often the OIC of a pump. It was supplanted by the Watch Manager Type B roles from 2001-2019 before reverting back. Station Officers in London's Burning included Sidney Tate, Nick Georgiadis, Chris Hammond and John Coleman.

As of 2019, this rank has been reintroduced to the LFB

Sub Officer A 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 and was often the OIC of a Pump Ladder. The rank was supplanted by the Crew Manager and Watch Manager type A roles from 2001-2019 before reverting back. Sub Officers in London's Burning included John Hallam, Carole Webb and Geoff Pearce.

As of 2019 this rank has been reintroduced to the LFB

Tubing Slang name for Hose Reel
Watch A designated shift of firefighters at a station. In most UK fire services the watches are blue, red, white and green.
ETA Expected Time of Arrival
135 a ladder, 13.5m long
45 A length of layflat hose 45mm in diameter
70 A length of layflat hose 70mm in diameter

See also[]

London's Burning
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