FDNY EMS responded to over 1.7 million “jobs” in 2017, according to the FDNY annual report, with an average response time of less than 7 minutes to life-threatening emergency calls.

You’re an ER doctor in New York City. Time to learn/reinforce some of the most common terms you may hear thrown around! Want to learn more? Happy to chat anytime. You’ll be speaking like a “buff” or “whacker” or “jolly volly” before you know it.

Job Basically any call, from start to finish. A call-taker receives the information from a 911-caller, then places the details into a Computer Aided Dispatching, or CAD, system that codes the appropriate response (i.e. Advanced Life Support, ALS or Paramedics; or Basic Life support, BLS or EMTs; plus any other additional resources). A separate dispatcher (in this case an EMS-trained dispatcher) may provide pre-arrival instructions (e.g. how to do CPR, or help deliver a baby) based on established emergency medical dispatching, or EMD, protocols. Simultaneously they verbally (and via the computer terminal, called the Mobile Data Terminal, or MDT, in the actual ambulance) dispatch the appropriate resources to the job.
Hot Job A cool call. These tend to be rescue jobs (e.g. someone under a train), pin jobs (e.g. someone trapped in a vehicle requiring extrication), etc.
Likely The term NYPD will use to ask you the condition of the patient involved in an accident or crime. A patient who is “likely” is “likely to die.” Contrarily, the patient who is “not likely” is “not likely to die.” It helps to steer their supervisors and investigative divisions.
“10 X-ray” An example unit identifier. The number (here “10”) indicates the fire battalion where the unit is based geographically. Units with a suffix letter of A through G is a BLS unit. Units with a suffix letter of S through Y are ALS units. So, for example, 10X is an ALS unit in the 10th battalion (this one is on the upper east side). The suffix H and Z are for HazTac Units (specially trained for rescue and hazardous materials situations–basically they carry additional equipment), BLS and ALS respectively. The suffix R is for Rescue. These are uber-specialized and there are only a few in the city. Sometimes another number is placed on the end of the unit identifier, e.g. 10X3. The last number indicates the tour, or shift, for that unit. 10X3 is working the third tour, from (typically) 11pm to 7am. You can listen to some radio communications here.
Bus This is what an ambulance in NYC is called. Not a truck. Not anything else.
MERV “Major Emergency Response Vehicle” with the capability of transporting a couple dozen patients at once. There is roughly one assigned per borough. They respond to mass casualty incidents along with other specialized units.
ACR “Ambulance Care Report,” or the documentation that EMS crews complete. “ACRs” are actually relatively unique slang to NYC. Most places call this document a “PCR,” or “Pre-Hospital Care Report.”
May 2024