With today’s technology, many Americans use cell phones to communicate with others daily. On average, Americans make or receive eight cellphone calls a day; that’s roughly six billion phone calls per day.

We feel it’s necessary to have these devices to communicate with family, work, and friends. In fact, when your cell phone breaks or goes wrong, you may feel a sense of panic because you do not know how you will communicate with others.

Now imagine if your life and others’ lives depended on a communication tool. This is the case for firefighters. Fire radios are necessary so that firefighters can communicate with other emergency responders to perform their job and save lives safely.

Talking on a fire radio is not as easy as it may seem. However, there is certain fire radio etiquette that must be followed. Keep reading on to learn about the proper fire radio etiquette to follow.

Rules of the Radio

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) assigns all radio frequencies for two-way radios. The FCC has specific rules and regulations that must be followed, or you or your company can face fines and penalties up to $500.

As part of FCC rules and regulations, make sure that your communication is free from any slang, profanity, or jargon whenever speaking on the radio.

It is also important to keep in mind that the radio frequencies are shared communications, so you do not know for sure who else may be listening in. For this reason, never use fire radio communication to give out any sensitive, confidential, financial, or HIPAA-protected information.

There are some security technologies in place to help secure two-way radio communication. With some security technology, you can transmit some sensitive information over the radio. However, it would be best if you always were careful when doing this.

Proper Procedure

Following FCC and HIPAA laws are important when using two-way communication. However, there are also proper procedures that should be followed for good fire radio etiquette.

To begin with, make sure you are not interrupting anyone. Two-way radios only allow for one person to speak at a time. Therefore, it’s essential not to interrupt someone else talking on the radio unless it’s an absolute emergency.

Whenever speaking into the radio, hold the radio so that the antenna is pointing upwards.

Hold the mic about one to two inches away from your mouth when communicating. If you hold the mic too close, it can be harder to understand what you are saying and may sound jumbled

However, if you hold the mic too far away, it may be harder for others to hear what you are saying. Then, key the mic. Keying the mic allows for the channel to open so you can start your communication.

The 5 C’s of Fire Radio Communication

To help you remember proper fire radio etiquette, remember the 5 C’s for fire radio communication: concise, clarity, confidence, control, and capability.


Remember, only one person can speak on a fire radio at a time. Therefore, if you are giving a long message, others may interrupt your message, or you will make them wait for you to finish, and they may have vital information to share.

Being concise and as brief in your message as possible can help everyone communicate effectively.

Try to communicate what you need to say as short as possible. Do not use long, complicated sentences, and if your message is lengthy, divide it up into more concise separate messages.


You do not want to have to repeat yourself when talking on the radio. This can cause confusion and delay in action.

Therefore, you should ensure your message is clear and let other firefighters and emergency workers know what you see or need.

If you use abbreviations, only use ones that everyone in the group knows and is approved by your department.

You should also be mindful of your audience. Whether you are speaking to dispatch, your fire crew, or another responding emergence personal.


Talking on a fire radio can be intimidating at first. However, the more practice you get can help more confident you become talking on the radio.

While you are still building your confidence when using the radio, try your best to have confidence in the message and information you are trying to share.

Whenever speaking on the radio, think before you speak. Decide what and who you are speaking to before speaking to help prevent you from making mistakes. If you do make a mistake, try to learn from it.


You shouldn’t need to change your voice when talking on a fire radio.

Be mindful of your voice inflections and try to stay in control. Use your normal speaking voice. You do not need to change your inflection or tone of voice to speak on the radio.

If you do speak fast, you may need to slow down slightly, but this should be the only change you make in your voice when talking on the radio.


Before using a fire radio on a fire scene for the first time, you should have practiced and been comfortable with how to work and talk on the radio.

In addition, you should be familiar with the capabilities of your fire radio. You don’t want to be fumbling through how to work it during an emergency scene. This will only lead to frustration with you and the emergency crew.

BK Radios: The Fire Radio You Need

Firefighters rely on fire radios and good communication to help them during emergency situations. Fire radios help ensure that the firefighters stay safe while on the job and help them work as a team to put out the fire or complete other emergency tasks.

While fire radio etiquette is important, having a dependable fire radio is even more crucial.

Whether you need wildland fire radios, king radios, or RELM radio, BK Radios has you covered. Contact us today for a price quote for our safe and reliable fire radios.