Public-safety personnel should use plain-speech communications instead of the traditional 10-code languages currently used by most first-responder organizations, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials declared in a recently released position statement.

The Department of Homeland Security's National Incident Management System (NIMS) recommends using plain-speech language, but it is not a requirement, an APCO spokesperson said. With the announcement, APCO becomes the first major public-safety association to express support for the NIMS recommendation.

Although most public-safety entities use 10-codes, they frequently are agency specific — a fact that leads to inconsistencies. With this in mind, using plain-speech language is particularly important when incidents require multiple public-safety agencies to interoperate, according to the APCO position statement.