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Top 50 fire service acronyms

Joining the fire service? Make sure you know the basics.


If you’re new to the fire service, or even just contemplating a career in the greatest profession, you might not realize just how much firefighters love acronyms – and you certainly don’t want to walk in the door that first day not having a clue what everyone else is talking about.

Here’s a look at some of the most common fire service acronyms. Hopefully you’re already familiar with a few! [Fill out the form at the end of this article to dowload a digital copy to share with your newest members.]

  1. AAR: After-action review
  2. AFFF: Aqueous film forming foam
  3. ALS: Advanced life support
  4. ASE: Active shooter event
  5. BC: Battalion chief
  6. BLEVE: Boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion
  7. BLS: Basic life support
  8. CAD: Computer aided dispatch
  9. CAFS: Compressed air foam system
  10. CAN: Conditions-Actions-Needs
  11. CBRNE: Chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, high-yield explosives
  12. COAL WAS WEALTH: Construction, occupancy, area, life hazard – water, auxiliary systems, street conditions – weather, exposures, apparatus and personnel, location, time, hazards
  13. DCD: Descent-control device
  14. EMS: Emergency medical services
  15. FAST: Firefighter assist and search team
  16. FDNY: Fire Department City of New York
  17. FEMA: Federal Emergency Management Agency
  18. GPS: Global positioning system
  19. HOT: Hands-on Training
  20. IAFC: International Association of Fire Chiefs
  21. IAP: Incident action plan
  22. ICS: Incident Command System
  23. IDLH: Immediately dangerous to life and health
  24. IMT: Incident management team
  25. LCES: Lookouts, communications, escape routes, safety zones
  26. LDH: Large-diameter hose
  27. LODD: Line-of-duty death
  28. LUNAR: Location, unit number, name, assignment (or air supply status), resources needed
  29. MCI: Mass-casualty incident
  30. MIH: Mobile integrated healthcare
  31. MVC: Motor vehicle collision/crash
  32. NFPA: National Fire Protection Association
  33. NIMS: National Incident Management System
  34. NIOSH: National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health
  35. PAR: Personnel accountability report
  36. PASS: Personal alert safety system
  37. PPA: Positive pressure attack
  38. PPE: Personal protective equipment
  39. PPV: Positive pressure ventilation
  40. PTSD: Post-traumatic stress disorder
  41. RECEO-VS: Rescue, exposures, containment, extinguish, overhaul – ventilation, salvage
  42. RIC/RIT/RAT: Rapid-intervention crew; rapid-intervention team; rapid-assessment team
  43. SAR: Search and rescue
  44. SCBA: Self-contained breathing apparatus
  45. SOP/SOG: Standard operating procedures; standard operating guidelines
  46. TIC: Thermal imaging camera
  47. UAS/UAV: Unmanned aircraft systems; unmanned aerial vehicle (drone)
  48. USAR/US&R: Urban Search and Rescue; Urban Search & Rescue
  49. VES/VEIS: Vent-enter-search; vent-enter-isolate-search
  50. WUI: Wildland-urban interface

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