Welcome back!

Thank you for your commitment to the Temple.   The role of Voice is one taken by Guardians who are experienced with how shifts work around the Temple.

What is a Temple Voice?

A Temple Voice is the leader of the Temple Guardians on shift.

Your Responsibilities as a Temple Voice

  • To be clear, a Temple Voice is responsible to hold space for the success of the Guardians on your shift.  This means that you are the most critical volunteer on the shift, as you are responsible for all of the Guardians at the Temple, emergency contact with the Rangers on site, and possibly also the emergency dispatch center.  You will also be responsible to keep your support team updated as to what is going on during emergencies so that they can assist you.  Lastly, you will need to make sure that everyone checks in at the beginning of a shift and checks out at the end.
  • Your promise is to arrive at least 20 minutes before your shift so that you can get checked in and receive information from the Voice team that will be completing their work at the Temple.
  • You will need to maintain awareness of all that is going on at the Temple while you are working.  Check in with your Guardians from time to time to find out how they are doing and what the mood and feeling of both the team and the space is.
  • Make sure that all Guardians on shift are checked in and also that they all check out when departing.  This means working closely with your check-in Guardian to make certain that all of the information for the shift has been recorded properly.
  • Equipment for your shift needs to be maintained and problems with it (or missing equipment) needs to be reported to Support immediately.  Don’t worry, there will be a checklist available, you won’t have to remember everything yourself!
  • Part of your job on shift is making sure that space is held for your Guardians team.  This may mean that you are called on to help a Guardian deal with an emotional or other challenging situation where they may need guidance.  This also means that you watch out for each Guardian’s well being, and make sure that they are taking care of themselves.
  • You are responsible to make certain that all Guardians on your shift have been to training (via the check-in Guardian).
  • The Temple is what it needs to be at the moment that someone arrives ready to give something up and have a miracle for themselves.  The tone and flow of the shift comes from your heart and your intention.  You are a leader, and your team is depending on you to hold space for them.

Shift Change Procedures

  • Your shift begins prior to the Guardian shift that you will be responsible for.  Your promise is to be there at least 20 minutes before shift change.
  • Locate the outgoing Voice(s) by going to the Guardians check-in station at Outpost Zero.  The check-in Guardian can put you in contact with the lead at the Temple. Take this time to verify that you are next on the schedule!
  • Voice(s) the Temple will have equipment for you, radio, incident log, etc. The outgoing Voice will tell you about any issues and information you need to know (dangerous/specific problems, location of water station, fire extinguishers).  Please make sure that you go over the checklist at Outpost Zero with them.
  • Check your radio and get a fresh battery from the check-in station.
  • Call Guardian Shift Support to report the shift change for Voice is underway.
  • On shifts where it will be dark or near dark (8 pm – 8 am) you will be given a lighted stave so that you can more easily be found.  Batteries can be found with supplies at the check in station.
  • Oncoming shift will meet at the check in station.  Take the time to create for them who you are as their Voice and get related while you walk to the Temple as a team.  Make sure that if you are relieving Guardians as they go off shift that they return to Outpost Zero to check out!

Radio Handling

Care must be taken with the org radios. They cost around $1200 to replace, and we are responsible as a team for the replacement cost if we break them. Do not take radios with you on breaks to the porta potties, terrible things can happen in there! Hand the radio off to your partner or backup while you are away.

Never ever under any circumstances should you hold the radio by the antenna or by the accessory cable. Always hold the radio in your hand or clip it to your clothing.

Check For Radio Damage

When you arrive for your shift, take the radio from the Voice that is coming off shift. Ask them if the radio has been functioning properly (if not, ask if they have reported this to Guardian support).

Check the incident log to see if the radio has been reported damaged in the last shift or two. Check the radio for damage. Note it in the log if you find damage that has not been logged and report the damage to support. Note in the shift log your name and the radio number.

Replace the battery

Battery replacements will be available at Outpost Zero.  Please attempt to start every shift with a fresh battery.

Radio Channel

Your radio should be tuned to the Temple at all times unless you are in communications with Black Rock (channel 1).  —-CHANNEL INFORMATION NOT YET FINALIZED FOR 2017 – you will receive channel information at your Voice training. —-

Radio Check

To check to make sure your radio is working, key the large button on the side or the button on your radio mic or earpiece accessory, wait two seconds, and then say, “Temple, Radio Check.”


A radio is not like a telephone, so if you need to let the person you are talking to know you heard their transmission you will have to say so. Simply saying “copy,” “copy that,” “affirm” (short for “affirmative”), or “roger” are suitable forms of acknowledgment.

Calling Guardians Support

Listen to make sure the channel is clear, then key your radio, wait two seconds and call, “Support, Support, Temple” then wait for support to respond. If there is no response in a minute, call again.

Reasons to call Guardians Support

Support can be called on for anything that you need during your shift. We will answer your questions or give you instructions as needed.

Guardians Shift Support can assist you with:

  • Questions and advice
  • Problems for which you are uncertain if you need to call the emergency dispatch center.
  • Empty/low water station
  • Radio not operating as expected
  • Radio damage
  • Reporting problems with the Temple structure (something that might fall, has been damaged, or otherwise may be a hazard)
  • Escalation requests that you are uncertain how to handle

Emergency Calls

You will receive specific training on how to work with the Black Rock Rangers stationed at the Temple during your Voice training.  If no Rangers happen to be available at the Temple (due to a shift change or other emergency that has drawn them away), please be familiar with Burning Man’s radio protocols for emergencies.

If an emergency occurs, take care to make sure that you are calm and know what you need as well as what is going on before you initiate the call. Always make emergency calls yourself. Do not lend the radio to anyone else. Do not allow anyone from another department to bully you into letting them use your radio. If you have questions about the appropriateness of a call someone asks you to make, call on your org radio for support.

  • At least one Guardian should ALWAYS remain with an injured or ill participant until ESD or Rangers release them from the scene.
  • Emergency dispatch is available by spinning your radio channel dial to position one. Your radio display should now read: “1 BRC 911”. Do not leave the channel until emergency dispatch releases the call.
  • Make sure that someone is standing away from the Temple who can flag down and guide in the ESD responders or Rangers.
  • Second Voice should call Guardians Shift Support to notify them of the emergency
  • If the situation causes distress or trauma to participants or to Guardians, have the Voice not contacting Black Rock 911 call Carousel immediately, if he is not on the Temple channel, let Black Rock 911 know that you need Ranger Carousel and they will pass the message to Rangers dispatch.

As soon as Black Rock 911 clears you from the call, rotate the channel dial back to the Temple channel. Your radio display should now read Temple.

Calling the emergency dispatch center

  • Spin your radio channel dial to position one. Your radio display should now read: “1 BRC 911”.
  • Know what you need before you start the call.  Services available from 911 are:
    • Rangers, (including Green Dot Rangers for participants who may need peer counseling or other mental health first aid).
    • Fire – in case something is on fire
    • Medical – if someone is sick or injured
  • Remain calm, speak slowly in a normal tone of voice.
  • Protect the radio mic from wind and hold it 1-2 inches from your mouth.
  • Listen to make sure that the channel is clear.
  • Wait two seconds after pressing the transmit key before speaking.
  • Do not shout, even if there is a lot of noise.
  • Call, “Black Rock, Black Rock, Temple” and then let go of the transmit key. We always call Black Rock with the callsign “Temple”.
  • Wait for Black Rock to respond.
  • Brief Action Clear – Your message should be short and well thought out. It should ask for the action that you wish ESD Dispatch to take, and keep your language simple, clear, and to the point.
  • Follow instructions. Stay on the BRC 911 channel until help arrives.  BRC911 is like calling 911 in the real world, do not leave the channel unless you are released by dispatch.  If you are uncertain about this, call Black Rock and ask if you are released to go back to your regular channel.
  • Stay with the participant until Rangers or ESD release you from the scene.
  • Medical calls should attempt to have the information BEFORE you begin your call:
  • Location where help is needed? (City/man side is 6:00, deep playa side is 12:00.)
  • General age (make a guess if you have to)
  • Gender
  • What is wrong? Do not guess, just tell them what you know (e.g., chest pains are just chest pains unless you are trained to make a diagnosis.)
  • Is the participant conscious, semi conscious, or unconscious.
  • Is the participant breathing? Is their breathing labored or overly fast?

Example Call

Your call might sound like this:

“I have a participant at the 6:00 side of the Temple. He is 42 years old, male, complaining of chest pains. He is conscious but seems disoriented. His breathing is regular.”

Required Reporting

Any occurrence of the following incidents MUST be reported to Black Rock 911 FIRST and to Guardian Shift Support SECOND.

  • Fire – even if you are in the process of putting it out – MUST BE REPORTED TO Black Rock 911 IMMEDIATELY
  • Medical or psychiatric emergency
  • Lost children (parent without child)
  • Found children (child missing parent)
  • Domestic or elder violence/abuse (use the phrase “Delta Victor” on the radio)
  • Sexual assault (in progress or not) (use the phrase “Sierra Alpha” on the radio)
  • Non-consensual physical violence
  • Any situation that places a participant in non-consensual grave danger

Emergency Response Reminders

  • Report all types of emergencies to emergency dispatch first and Guardian support services second..
  • We do not treat.  If there is a medical or mental health trained individual on your team they may evaluate and treat to the extent of their experience/training.  In all cases, protect yourself and your team.  Emergency responders will be with you very shortly.
  • Never to leave an injured or sick participant alone.
  • Never put yourself in harm’s way.
  • We do not physically handle aggressive participants.
  • If weather conditions become dire, check in with Guardian support for options.  Whiteouts are handled by sheltering in place at the Temple until conditions improve. If Rangers come by with weather alerts and advise everyone to leave the Temple, notify Guardians support a once and they will assist you in creating a response plan.

Rangers at the Temple

Rangers should found in pairs at or around the Temple.  When they are, one will be tuned to the Temple channel and can be summoned by just calling for “Rangers at the Temple” on the radio. Make sure you are aware of their general location. Local calls or just grabbing  Rangers will always faster than calling emergency dispatch for help. Please note that ALL requests to outside services (ESD, Rangers, law enforcement, etc) need to be logged even if they did not go over the radio.  As in all cases, please notify support via radio about the incident as soon as you have summoned assistance, or have your co-lead do it for you at the same time.

Watch Your Language

There are some things we never say or talk about on the radio:

  • Profanity of any kind. (Swearing on the radio violates FCC guidelines and can result in fines.)
  • “Death,” “dead,”, or “deceased.”
  • “Drugs”, drunk, or “overdose”. Instead say “disoriented,” “seems altered,” “unconscious,” or “unresponsive,” as appropriate.

Our radio traffic is recorded by the Burning Man Organization and monitored by BLM law enforcement, as well as other agencies. You should assume that anything you say on the radio can and will be recorded and could be used later.  This is especially true for calls on the Voice radios to emergency dispatch.

Burning Man Org-Wide Radio Protocols Training

Please watch the org radio protocols training video!

Guide to Burning Man Radio Use by the Black Rock Rangers (pdf – requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to view)

YOU Make The Difference

Your contribution makes more of a difference than you can know.  Thank you for being a stand for providing what is necessary to leave the Guardians on your shift free to hold space without worrying about anything else.  We appreciate your dedication, your generosity, and most of all your heart.