Welcome back!

Thank you for your commitment to the Temple.   The role of Support is one taken by Guardians who are experienced with how Guardian, Voice, and Check-In shifts work around the Temple.

What is Support?

Support‘ is our behind the scenes team that ensures that shift changes proceed seamlessly and that everything required on a shift is provided to the Voice(s) as needed.

Your Responsibilities as the Support on-call

  • On-call shifts are 8 hours each. During this time, you will be expected to be present at each shift change and to respond to radio calls from Voices.
  • Radio swap will occur at the Temple Guardians Outpost.
  • You are responsible to help Voices manage their shifts as needed.  Some shifts will require little to no support, while others will require you to go out to the Temple and help the Voices there manage problems and escalations.

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. You will be wearing the radio and pager for 8 hours, make sure that they are firmly attached to you before you go anywhere that they could get wet or disgusting.  You do NOT want to be fishing a radio out of a porta-potty in the middle of the night.  (Always close the lid before you enter the potty so that you can make sure everything on you is secure before you sit down in there.

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 meet up for shift change, take the radio from the Support person that is coming off shift. Ask them if the radio has been functioning properly (if not, ask if they have reported this to Carousel or Cherub).

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 The Temple Guardians Outpost and anywhere else that has a charging station.  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.

Reasons For Calls

Support can be called on for anything that the Voice needs during their shift.

Some of the reasons a Voice may call:

  • Questions and advice
  • Problems for which they are uncertain if they 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 the Voice team is 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.

  • 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 to page Carousel to the Temple Guardians channel and they will page him.

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 Carousel or Cherub 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 Cherub or Carousel 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 log all incidents.

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

Every Support person watches over two+ full shifts per one of your shift.  Your contribution makes more of a difference than you can know, and you are providing support, often invisibly, to two dozen Guardians.  Thank you for being a stand for providing what is necessary to leave the Voices you work with empowered to create space for their teams.  We appreciate your dedication, your generosity, and most of all your heart.