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MAYDAY Procedure
Updated On: Jul 15, 2010


To establish a standard procedure for sending a radio message that would indicate a life threatening situation. Any Norwalk Fire Department member may use this if he feels he or another firefighter is in a life threatening situation.  


This procedure is applicable to all members of the Norwalk Fire Department at the scene of an emergency.


1)     Whenever any personnel are in a situation they believe to be a life threatening situation, and/or unable to escape, they shall transmit a MAYDAY.


2)     Whenever any personnel see another firefighter/s in a life threatening situation, they shall transmit a MAYDAY.


3)     The individual calling the MAYDAY, shall repeat the word “MAYDAY” three (3) times over their portable radio and activate the emergency (orange “MAYDAY”) button on their radio. Whenever possible, the member shall give Norwalk Communications their last known location and any other pertinent information that will help in their rescue.

For Example:

“MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY. This is Firefighter Smith, Engine 1, I am lost somewhere on the second floor, I think I am near the A-B corner, I am low on air.


The trapped firefighter should also manually activate their PASS alarm after transmitting the MAYDAY, if it has not activated already.


NOTE: If you are unable to reach anyone via radio using the Main frequency (freq. 1 & 14) turn the channel selector switch all the way to the right; this will put the radio on Talk Around (freq. 3 & 16) You can than repeat your message, which will go directly to all radios on the scene, by passing the radio repeater.


NOTE: You can activate the emergency (MAYDAY) button regardless of what frequency the radio is on. The emergency activation will transmit on the main frequency.


NOTE: firefighter glove thickness can make pressing the emergency button difficult. 


Personnel should not wait until the last moment to call a MAYDAY. If the SCBA low alarm has activated and/or you are confused as to where you are, a MAYDAY should be transmitted. (It is better to risk a little embarrassment and go home safely to your family)


The “LUNAR” acronym provides an easy way to remember the information the firefighter transmitting the Mayday needs to provide to the IC. Further information regarding the LUNAR acronym is provided in Appendix A of this SOP.


Once the emergency (MAYDAY) button is activated, the dispatcher will immediately know what portable is activated:  E1 Nozzle” will be displayed at the dispatch console.


The Fire Dispatcher shall immediately contact the activated portable.


Example: “Norwalk to Engine 1 nozzle, your emergency button is activated, what is your problem?”


Three scenarios from MAYDAY activation:


1)     “Engine 1 nozzle to Norwalk, no problem, accidental activation.” (Engine 1 nozzle man turns radio off, and back on again, to clear the signal.)


2)     “Engine 1 nozzle to Norwalk, FF Jones, I am trapped in the basement, on the C side, I am by myself, I have 1500 psi air and cannot  find an exit”

3)     No response
Actions for scenarios 2 & 3:

Dispatcher shall immediately contact the I.C. and report that there was a MAYDAY activation and relay any information passed along by the firefighter. The Dispatcher should also immediately notify the Dispatch Supervisor.


Each portable radio is assigned to a specific riding position on your apparatus, which should match your assignment on the Riding List. If you switch portables, or you inadvertently take it to another station, etc., firefighter accountability is compromised.

  • Whenever a MAYDAY message is transmitted, a PAR (roll call) shall be conducted by the IC.
  • The RIT shall be activated.
  • All other radio communication on the frequency is to cease, switching to another frequency if possible.
  • Firefighting Personnel shall not “freelance” a rescue operation.
  • MAYDAY operations and assignments shall be directed by the I.C.
  • The I.C. shall assign an operations officer to command on-going firefighting operations while the I.C. commands the MAYDAY operation.
  • The I.C. shall call for additional resources to simultaneously continue firefighting operations and support the RIT in locating and removing the missing personnel.
  • At the point where rescue operations have ceased or the I.C. believes the situation has been stabilized, the I.C. shall transmit the information to Norwalk in order to bring the MAYDAY operation to a close.

G:\SOP's\2.0 Operations\2.082_Mayday.doc

Appendix A

Using the LUNAR acronym:

The acronym LUNAR stands for the following:



This acronym is easy to remember and will provide the I.C. and the RIT the information necessary to assist the firefighter in distress as quickly and efficiently as possible.


The order of the information included in the LUNAR report is not critical, as long as all the information is transmitted. The acronym is just an easy way to remember the information that is necessary.


By providing this information the IC and the RIT will know where they will be searching, who they are searching for, the firefighter’s air supply, and what equipment (aside from the standard RIT equipment) may be needed to assist the firefighter.


“MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY”, (Wait for Command to acknowledge) “I am on the second floor, B side. Engine 6, Firefighter Jones. I have 2500 psi of air remaining. My legs are trapped after a ceiling collapse. Pry bars and chains will be needed to free my legs”.


All personnel are encouraged to review and practice transmitting a Mayday and giving a LUNAR update on a regular basis.

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