5-5-5 Explanation

Long before telephones and radios, fire departments used the telegraph to communicate. When the handle was pulled on the once-familiar red fire alarm boxes found on nearly every street corner of America, a special code was transmitted to every fire station.

When a firefighter died in the line of duty, the fire alarm office would tap out a special signal. That signal was five measured dashes, then a pause, then five measured dashes, another pause…then five more dashes.

This became universally known as the Tolling of the Bell and was broadcast over all telegraph fire alarm circuits.

This signal was a sign of honor and respect for all firefighters who had made the ultimate sacrifice and has become a time-honored tradition.

  • Topics:
    • Department Administration
  • Resource Type:
    • Public education material
  • Organizational Author:
    • External

Related Resources

  • This report provides a solutions-based framework that offers combination and volunteer departments a means to improve their leaderships’ ability to recruit, retain and manage the volunteers of the future. This report was developed from a National Summit that brought together many ... read more
  • The Chief's A-RIT (Administrative Rapid Information Tool) is an interactive, digital guide to deliver education, training and guidance on administrative tasks in the volunteer fire service. It includes resources to help you understand and apply the non-operational aspects of running a ... read more
  • This webinar provides information on the developments of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act in relation to volunteer fire departments. Presenter:  Bruce Moeller, PhD, former fire chief and public safety-director Pinellas County, Fla. Access this resource read more
Related