Bill's Nova Scotia Radio Site

Nova Scotia Fire Services

Last updated January 30, 2013
 

TO GO STRAIGHT TO REGIONAL PAGES AND OTHER SPECIFIC TOPIC CLICK THE LINKS IN THE BOX BELOW.  FOR A MORE GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF FIRE SERVICE COMMUNICATIONS IN NOVA SCOTIA, SEE UNDER THE LINKS.

 Maps shown on several of these pages were provided by Stephen, VE1SEF.

          NS FIRE DISPATCH CENTRES depts served may be slightly outdated but basically correct.

  • fire lookout towers
     

  • NS Fire Frequency List sorted by location (THIS LIST IS NOT BEING UPDATED, SEE THE REGIONAL LISTS FOR THE LATEST)  Similar list, by frequency

 

Fire services in Nova Scotia can be divided into three main categories:

  1. Mixed Career and volunteer fire services of Halifax Regional Municipality and Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

  2. Mixed Career and volunteer fire departments and brigades serving the other areas of Nova Scotia.

  3. Private fire departments serving the military and large commercial operations such as Michelin and Imperial Oil and as well Halifax International Airport's airside.  This aspect will not be covered in detail on this page (at this time, but may be in the future).

It is best to describe and discuss the two major regional municipal fire services separately as they vary considerably from the general descriptions to come.   Use these links:  Cape Breton Regional Fire  and  Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency.   While these services can and do operate in mutual aid with other departments when necessary, their use of radio and dispatch methods are quite different, especially so with HRFE.

The following description refers principally to the public sector fire services outside of CBRM and HRM.    

First it must be stated that there is province-wide network of VHF repeaters provided to local fire services by the provincial government.  This network is referred to as IMRS or simply as "the fire grid".    A full listing and description of IMRS is found here.  The fire grid is not used nearly as much as it was in the past, with the result that many of the repeaters sit idle most of the time, even though they have all been modernized as recently as 2012.   A few fire departments do make use of the repeaters either to receive pages, or for regular two-way communications, or both.   Such repeater service is free of charge but nevertheless most departments have set up their own repeaters and/or paging transmitters on their own or in cooperation with neighbouring departments.   The use of the IMRS fire grid is now most common in Guysborough County and in the southwestern areas of the province.  

There is also a designated VHF simplex mutual aid frequency (153.83 MHz) for use province-wide; however it also is used less and less as regional-specific frequency plans come into effect.

Outside of HRM fire services are based on VHF, but with some secondary use of the 800 MHz TMR.  There is no use of 400 MHz UHF other than the MotoTrbo service at Halifax Stanfield International Airport, and as well a number of repeater links elsewhere.

Use of the TMR by fire services in Nova Scotia 

As described on its specific page, the Halifax Regional Fire Service uses the TMR for its 2-way communications but uses VHF for pages.   Other fire services use the TMR for backup or in particular situations.  All fire departments have a number of TMR radios provided by the province for liaison and mutual aid purposes.  At the inception of the TMR the non-HRFES radios contained the talk groups shown on the following chart.  Other talk groups could be added as desired.  "Regionalized" refers to talk groups that have been divided by region in Nova Scotia, i.e. Western, Central, Eastern.  Radios in the western area would have the "Western" versions of the particular channels, and so on.  In the chart below where "R" appears in the Display name, the actual radio will have the W, C or E version of that talk group.

As described elsewhere, Mutual Aid talk groups allow all agencies to be on a particular talk group at a major incident.   Liaison with RCMP is rarely used and may have been eliminated in more recent channelizations.   Some of these talk groups are rarely or never used, and have obscure purposes.

Generally speaking, the most commonly heard talk groups are on one hand the MFR talk groups (one for each region) used by fire to communicate with ambulance dispatch for liaison in medical assistance calls.  Most likely this will be in locations far from ambulance bases when a fire rescue team arrives long before the ambulance and is confronted by a serious situation.   The other most commonly heard talk groups is the EO group.   It has evolved that one of these will be used by firefighters, particularly the chief or deputy, to communicate with the dispatch centre or with responders from other departments, in areas or situations where use of the normal VHF frequencies is not possible or as efficient.    In each region there are four EO regional talk groups.   What has evolved is that EO-R1 will be monitored by the dispatch centre(s) for that area and will be the first choice for firefighters to use.    Fpr example in the western region all units will generally monitor EO-W1, and most TMR communications between firefighters and dispatch centres will be on that talk group.   In the event that this talk group becomes monopolized or there are multiple incidents the practise today is, under the direction of the appropriate dispatch centre, to one of the other EO talk groups for that region.    In the western region, EO-W2 is in the custody of Yarmouth and Digby dispatch centres, EO-W3 is with Scotia Business Centre and Roseway Dispatch, and EO-W4 is in the custody of Valley Dispatch.   In the Eastern region, EO-E2 is in the custody of Canso Dispatch, and EO-E3 is with CBRM dispatch.  At this time there is no known allocation in the Central region. There are also two provincial EO talk groups which could be used in mutual aid when units cross regional boundaries; however in modern times EO-P2 has been increasingly used by the province's PSFCO for their internal liaison communications.

DIAL POSITION

DISPLAY

USE and COMMENT

TALKGROUP ID (or frequency for simplex channels)

A-1

EHS-R

VFD-EHS LIAISON or MFR (Medical First Response) Regionalized. Used by fire departments on medical assist calls to speak to Ambulance dispatch.

Western: 2672
Central: 2704
Northern: 2768
Eastern: 2736

A-2

AMTAIR

VFD-AIRMEDICAL.   For liaison with air ambulance.

36112

A-3

SHUBIE

SHUBIE RADIO

32048

A-4

GSSDNR

For linking to miscl govt departments via Shubie Radio.

33584

A-5

DNR

LIAISON WITH DNR (REGIONALIZED)

Western: 2800
Central: 2864
North: 2928
Eastern: 2896

A-6

DNR

LIAISON WITH DNR (REGIONALIZED)

A-7

RCMP

LIAISON WITH RCMP TELECOMS^

Not known if these actually exist. 

A-8

RCMP

LIAISON WITH RCMP TELECOMS^

A-9

RCMP

LIAISON WITH RCMP TELECOMS^

A-10

RCMP

LIAISON WITH RCMP TELECOMS^

A-11

MA-1

MUTUAL AID 1 (DNR)

40080

A-12

MA-2

MUTUAL AID 2 (DNR)

 40112

A-13

MA-3

MUTUAL AID 3 (EHS)

 40144

A-14

MA-4

MUTUAL AID 4 (EHS)

40176

A-15

MA-5

MUTUAL AID 5 (RCMP)

40208

A-16

MA-6

MUTUAL AID 6 (RCMP)

 40240

B-1

EO-R-1

EMERGENCY OPERATIONS 1 (REGIONALIZED)

Western: 37872
Central: 37840
Eastern: 2256

B-2

EO-R-2

EMERGENCY OPERATIONS 2 (REGIONALIZED)

 Western: 37808
Central: 37776
Eastern: 2302

B-3

EO-R-3

EMERGENCY OPERATIONS 3 (REGIONALIZED)

 Western: 37936
Central: 37744
Eastern: 38128

B-4

EO-R-4

EMERGENCY OPERATIONS 4 (REGIONALIZED)

 Western: 37904
Central: 37968
Eastern: 2384

B-5

EO-P1

EMERGENCY OPERATIONS PROVINCIAL 1 (rarely used by fire)

2352

B-6

EO-P2

EMERGENCY OPERATIONS PROVINCIAL 2 (very rarely used by fire)

 2448

B-7

EO-NB

EMERGENCY OPERATIONS LIAISON WITH NEW BRUNSWICK (extremely rare use, may not be in service)

 38096

B-8

HAZ-R

HAZARDOUS MATERIALS RESPONSE (REGIONALIZED)

Western: 37648
Central: 37616
Northern: 33296
Eastern: 37584

B-9

REDCRS

RED CROSS LIAISON

33360

B-10

CASARA

Canadian Air Search and Rescue Association LIAISON

 

B-11

ADMLGR

ADMINISTRATION & LOGISTICS (REGIONALIZED)

Western: 38192
Central: 38160
Northern: 38224
Eastern: 2512

B-12

ADMPNS

ADMINISTRATION PROVINCE-WIDE

4752

B-13

   

 

B-14

   

 

B-15

   

 

B-16

LOCAL

INDIVIDUAL FIRE DEPT WORKING CHANNEL  (IF INSTALLED) see below

Brooklyn (Hants) 22096
Kentville 18160
Hantsport 20720
Greenwich 23536
Shubenacadie 21136
BARES (Colchester) 32304
Wolfville 18128
Queens 23984
Liverpool 24112

C-1

VFDSIM

VFD SIMPLEX

866.8125 MHz

C-2

AMTSIM

AIR MEDICAL SIMPLEX

 867.0625 MHz

C-3

SXALL1

ALL PROVINCIAL RADIOS SIMPLEX 1

866.0125 MHz

C-4

SXALL2

ALL PROVINCIAL RADIOS SIMPLEX 2

866.5125 MHz

C-5 TO C-15

-

Unknown, possible ADDITIONAL PROVINCIAL GOVT SIMPLEX CHANNELS

 

C-16

-

SAME AS B-16

 

The private talk groups listed above in dial position B-16 are only those that are known to me.   These talk groups are for internal use by the department, and in some cases at least, are reserved for the chief and deputies for administrative use, rather than for fireground use.   It is possible however for these or other talk groups to be patched to other services.  The major example is that the BARES talk group (formerly used by the Brookfield Area Rescue Society) is now patched to the Colchester County 152.525 VHF system, and apparently all pages and communications on that system can be heard as well over the BARES talk group.

USE OF VHF BY FIRE SERVICES

Most Nova Scotia fire operations including paging and communications are on VHF.   The major exception is the Halifax Regional Fire service, which pages on VHF but communicates on the TMR and is described on its own page.

For the rest of the province there are basically two different structures.   Colchester, Cumberland and East Hants have unifed systems whereby all the departments in each of those areas has banded together, perhaps with municipal assistance, to have one paging frequency as well as a set of operational channels common to all the departments.   The other structure is more or less not a structure at all:   the departments each have their own sets of frequencies including paging and operations.  Adjacent departments would likely have the frequencies in their radios for mutual aid purposes, or they could rely on the "standard" 153.83 mutual aid frequency for such incidents. 

Paging everywhere in the province is on VHF and is carried out by the following dispatch centres, several of which are private in nature:     Yarmouth, Roseway Hospital (to be closed), Scotia Business Centre (Bridgewater), Valley Dispatch (Kentville). IES Dartmouth, Stellarton Police, New Glasgow Police, Canso Dispatch, and Cape Breton Regional Fire.   It is also thought that Shubie Radio might still dispatch a few departments in Guysborough County.  There are a few departments internally paged without radio, such as Truro.

See the individual regions and departments via the links above.