Emergency Radio Procedures: What You Need to Know

Emergency Radio Procedures: What You Need to KnowEmergency Radio Procedures: What You Need to Know

In order to get your message across quickly and efficiently during an emergency, it is vital that you use standard emergency radio procedures. In this way, you will have a high chance that your message will be understood and help will come at the soonest time.

This set of approved radio communication procedures is tested and proven effective in getting information through the first time.

The complexity of an emergency situation dictates the extent of importance of these procedures. These emergency radio procedures vary from straightforward and simple to intense and complex.

The use of these standard communications processes eliminates confusion especially when several agencies are called to respond to an emergency.

Generally speaking, Calling/Communications has five vital parts that are accepted and practice globally. These were developed for the purpose of having a standard set of emergency radio procedures that can be understood by different agencies.

These five most common and approved communication procedures are the secret to working efficiently, quickly, and successfully during an emergency situation.

Emergency Radio Procedures: The Five Most Important Guidelines

When under stress during an emergency, getting a message across can be quite challenging. This is the reason why emergency radio procedures were developed.

Radio operators from around the globe are educated and trained to follow these guidelines religiously for efficient and quick communications during emergencies. The five vital steps in emergency radio communications are:

  1. When calling a station, start your transmission with the radio callsign of the station you are calling. In this way, the station is alerted that the message is for them and that they need to pay extra attention to the transmission.
  1. After you have mentioned the radio callsign of the station you are contacting, follow it up with the phrase “this is” plus your radio callsign. This is important especially when it is the first time that you are communicating with the said station so as to eliminate confusion. It is also vital for when there are very poor signal conditions.
  1. Make sure that what you state is your radio callsign and not your name. These first three steps are essential when you are communicating with people who do not know you that’s why you have to establish what your radio callsign is.
  1. The next step is to give your message. Remember to speak clearly and pause after logical phrases especially when providing information that needs to be written down.
  1. After stating your message, you can finish the transmission by saying “clear,” “over,” and “out” to let the station know that you are done with the message.

These are just the top five most important guidelines when transmitting an emergency message through the radio. A lot of other tips and procedures were established to ensure the successful transmission of emergency messages.

If you are serious about educating yourself about the standard emergency radio procedures, read on to find out how you can be a more effective and efficient radio operator.

Other Emergency Radio Procedures Accepted Globally

To successfully transmit your message in a quick and efficient manner, equip yourself with these emergency radio procedures, tips, and guidelines that are proven effective across all agencies.

  • Before transmitting, listen carefully and make sure that the frequency is clear and ready to receive a message. Additionally, compose what you are going to say before pushing the mic button. It is also advisable to hold the transmit button down for a second before stating your message to make sure that the first part of the transmission is not cut off.
  • Hold the face of the microphone at a right angle to your face to make your transmission sound more understandable. Also make a conscious effort to speak slowly, clearly, and distinctly. You can achieve this by giving each word equal force.
  • Do not acknowledge the instructions when you do not fully and perfectly understand it. To request the station to repeat the instructions, simply say “say again.” When you have understood the message, acknowledge it by saying “copy,” “received,” or “acknowledged.”
  • Answer all calls and transmissions as promptly as possible. Never allow dead air to last for a few seconds. If you cannot acknowledge the call immediately, say “repeat” or “standby” to let the other party know that you need some time to process the information received.
  • Make an effort to use short sentences that are divided into sensible phrases. Also, speak at a normal conversational volume; shouting can cause sound distortion and confuse the receiver. As much as possible, strive to successfully transmit your message the first time.
  • Use standard procedure words or prowords in place of whole sentences. Some common standard procedure words that are used in emergency radio procedures are “roger”, which means the transmission is received satisfactorily and “out,” which signals the end of the conversation and that no answer is expected or required.
  • When proper names call to be transmitted, spell it out using the standardized radio phonetic alphabet. Also, state number sequences as individual numbers.

Below is the International Phonetic Alphabet that is the most accepted way to spell out words during emergency radio communications.

A – Alpha N – November
B – Bravo O – Oscar
C – Charlie P – Papa
D – Delta Q – Quebec
E – Echo R – Romeo
F – Foxtrot S – Sierra
G – Golf T – Tango
H – Hotel U – Uniform
I – India V – Victor
J – Juliet W – Whiskey
K – Kilo X – X-ray
L – Lima Y – Yankee
M – Mike Z – Zulu


All things considered, these are still just the tip of a much larger iceberg that is waiting to be discovered. By educating yourself about these emergency radio procedures, tips, and guidelines, you can rest assured that you can get your message across successfully.

While this set of guidelines is accepted globally, there are some agencies such as aviation and boating associations that also developed their own emergency radio procedures that are tailored to their own goals and preferences.

If you wish to have a worthwhile and professional radio communications experience, you may want to delve a little deeper into this industry to find out which applies to your needs the most.

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