Dot Codes

from Big Bear

Dots appeared in 1998 on Ranger laminates as identifiers as to professional capacities contained in each Ranger person package unit. This was created by Baker 18, and is traceable by me as the beginning of what we now know as ESDR. “Blue Dots” were medical. “Red Dots” were fire. “Green Dots” were crisis intervention. While we still use “Green Dot” as a code, the rest of the dot codes have dropped out of use. Still, for all of that, some of us old timers, at 3:30 in the morning may not remember to ask for a highly qualified and fully certified fire professional to assess a particular fiery situation. We may just say “I need a red dot to look at this frigging fire…”

“The Khaki Dot”–Some people think that the Khaki Dot was spawned in a pique of Dot Envy (those of us without certs were dotless), but that’s not the way I experienced it. As I remember, “Khaki Dot” was coined to reflect the fact that a Ranger who had “got it” had earned the Khaki Dot (invisible on playa being khaki on khaki). It was an honor to be bestowed on those who had earned the right to wear khaki by proving themselves in the only place the Khaki Dot can be earned-on playa. It is still one of my favorite concepts.

I found my 1998 Ranger laminate and found there on a yellow dot. This caused me to remember that we called Shift Commander qualified people Yellow Dots in 1998. By 1999 our technology had become more sophisticated, and the dots became little bars on the laminate. I remember looking at Baker 18’s laminate adorned with many colors and wondering if he was going to be mistaken as working for the Rainbow Coalition rather than the Black Rock Rangers…

from Baker 18

After ESD and Rangers became separate departments I personally encouraged the Rangers to continue with the Blue Dot program. More responders in the field are a good thing. Rangers decided on their own, some time later, to abandon the formal Blue Dot program.

from Duney Dan

The Green Dot program has always been one of the Black Rock Ranger teams: before ESD split away from the Rangers in about 2001, there were also Red and Blue Dots who had off-playa training in Fire and Medical (First Responder+). Sanctuary is one of the main resources we operate.

Black Dot—we don’t talk about Black Dots… ever.

Blue Dot—member of ESD; used to refer to a Ranger with medical training before ESD split off from the Rangers; sometimes used to request medical assistance over the radio

Green Dot—Ranger trained in psychological counseling; used to request assistance over the radio for participants that may not react well to words like “counseling,” “mental health,” or “crazy as a loon.”

Khaki Dot—a mental point at which a Ranger applicant understands the basic philosophy and concepts of being a Black Rock Ranger, i.e. “gets it.”

Red Dot—member of ESD; used to refer to a Ranger with firefighting training before ESD split off from the Rangers; sometimes used to request fire assistance over the radio

from Crow

Certs for Red Dot Rangers were actual county level certs; basically you were a real firefighter (or, much more rarely, someone who had taken all of those classes and certs, but for some reason didn’t have a job with those agencies…)

Blue Dots cert requirements were a little lighter, but still required official certs from orgs/agencies external to the Rangers; you had to have at least a First Responder level cert (from a real organization like the Red Cross or wherever).

Green Dot certs came from your local county, and were basically issued after county training plus 200+ hours of experience on a suicide hotline or rape crisis hotline.