Echelon Shift Guide

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Overview of the Ranger Echelon Role

Thank you for volunteering for a Ranger Echelon Shift!

Your role is to support Khaki and the rest of the Rangers by keeping Ranger HQ running smoothly and effectively, especially during shift changes.  The role is similar to an office manager: Echelon Rangers are masters of organization, resource and asset tracking. They keep chaos out of HQ.

Echelon tasks:

  • Manages radios:  Checking in and out, charging batteries, and troubleshooting problems
  • Give out tee shirts & lams
  • Shift tracking: checks rangers in on schedule, tracks shifts that need to be filled
  • Be present at HQ while Khaki steps away
  • Fields walk-up questions
  • Let Khaki know if they hear a call for Khaki that they do not respond to
  • Help with resources for on shift rangers (map, snacks, water, etc.)
  • Help Khaki with tracking volunteer shifts
  • Resource for knowing Radio Channels
  • Lost & Found Log (and holds onto valuables)

Eligibility to be an Echelon Ranger

Echelon Rangers should have good organizational skills and be comfortable using Radios and explaining how to use them to others.  Second year rangers and beyond are very welcome to do an Echelon Shift.  If this is your first year as a Ranger but have a lot of experience at Firefly and want to do an Echelon shift once you have completed your alpha shift, or if you have any questions about Echelon, contact the Echelon Coordinator by emailing the Ranger Logistics Team at [[1]].


There will be a couple on-site scheduled trainings, but most training is on-the-job, by shadowing another Echelon Ranger.  We suggest reviewing all documentation here and in links at the end, and making sure you have experience using event radios before your scheduled shift.  Especially take a look at Firefly Radio Basics Handout: you should be very comfortable with all of this, since you may need to explain any of this material to volunteers.

Echelon Coordination

Echelon is part of Ranger Logistics and reports to the Logistics Lead/Echelon Coordinators.  For 2018, the Ranger Logistics Team Lead/Echelon Lead Coordinator is Ranger Cyan.

The Echelon Coordinators work closely with the Radio Core and the DPW Core. Contact [[2]] with any questions.

Radio Core

See Radio Tech for more detailed information on Firefly's radio setup.

The Radio Core handles year-round Radio maintenance and procurement, and will be available for on-site set up and consultation.  The Radio Core lead for 2018 is Jesse Campbell. If you have radio-specific questions you can email the radio leads at [[3]], or the Radio Core discussion list at [[4]].

Logistics of the Echelon Shift: 4.5 hour shifts that overlap

Because the shift change is the busiest part of the shift, we ask that volunteers for Echelon arrive 15-20 minutes before the scheduled shift change, and plan to stay 15-20 minutes after the shift change.  So your Echelon shift is actually 4½ hours long, and covers TWO Ranger shift changes.

If you look at the shift check-list, you will notice that a large portion of the tasks are to be done during this half hour overlap period at the beginning of your shift, and then at the beginning of the next shift.  This overlap is so that 1) we have enough staff to fulfill the tasks in a timely manner; and 2) for training purposes, since many Echelon Rangers coming on-shift are likely to not be familiar with the role.

Echelon Shift Checklist

Echelon Shift Checklist to be completed for each shift-will be laminated & on the cork board next to the Echelon desk.  Erase old list and fill out anew for each shift.


❐ Clean & refill out the Echelon shift checklist on the cork board

❐ Outgoing Echelon to give instructions & updates to Incoming Echelon

❐ Prep radios for incoming shift change

❐ Shift change: check off Rangers on schedule

❐ Shift change: give out Radios, t-shirts, etc..(see Volunteer shift change checklists)

POWER: If Incoming hasn’t done these before, Outgoing must stay on for these tasks

❐ Add gas to top off extension tank attached to generator

❐ After filling, if there is little or no gas left in gas can: Call DPW on Radio, say HQ will need more gas [Note time of call & who responded in Echelon log.]

❐ Check/charge deep cycle batteries

❐ Nighttime: turn on lights   ❐ Morning: turn off lights


❐ Charge radios/batteries

❐ Check/get refill of water jug (ask Gnomes!)

❐ Keep HQ tidy

❐ Update shifts needed white board

❐ Listen for calls for Khaki on SAFETY1 & MURS1

❐ Check with Khaki if they need help with anything

❐ Tell Khaki about anything of note while they weren’t at HQ

Echelon Shift Log

This is NOT the “Ranger Log”.  It is for Echelon Rangers to communicate with other Echelon Rangers; and can be used as a temporary notebook for information to be added to the Khaki log.  See the Echelon Log cover sheet.  Use loose-leaf pages for the log.

Volunteer Shift Change Responsibilities

See Echelon Checklists for Rangers & other volunteers coming on-shift

Tee shirts

Echelon handles t-shirts for all Safety Teams.  Give T-shirts to Safety Team volunteers who don’t already have them, including Alphas.  (If Alphas don’t pass their shift, they will be asked to return the shirt.)  Ask the volunteer what size.  Only 1 t-shirt per volunteer per core they volunteer for.

  • Khaki/Beige/Tan: Rangers
    • Khaki with BLACK writing: these are special glow-in the dark t-shirts for 2-6AM Rangers only!
  • Dark Blue with cross: Medical
  • Red with flame: FAST
  • Green with heart: Sanctuary

Laminates (Lams)

Echelon also handles Laminates for all Safety Teams.  There should already be Lams for most volunteers; if not, use a blank lam and have them write in their handle with a sharpie.

Radio check out

  • Channels: Channel preset is based on core.
If the user is a/with... Give them a... Set to channel(s)...
Dirt Ranger BF-888 1
Fire, Medical BF-888 1
Khaki UV-5R 1 & 0
Sanctuary BF-888 3
Board UV-5R 4 & 1
DPW BF-888 or UV-5R 5
GGGP (Gnome Gate Greeters Parking Security) MD-390 7
GTFO MD-390 8
Accessibility MD-390 9

More information can be found at the Radio Tech page.

  • Optional Accessories: Mics or headsets as requested.
  • Optional reference materials: (try to get these back after shift)
    • Radio Reference Card
    • Radio Basics sheet
    • Firefly Radio for All booklet
  • Skills check: Check that they know how to adjust volume, change channels
    • They should know everything in Firefly Radio Basics
    • Contact Echelon for Radio Problems
    • Radio operation: on & off, volume, ptt button
    • How to make a call:
      • “Khaki, Khaki, this is ____”.
    • Don’t use participant names, profanity, etc.
  • Radio Check: Ask each person who gets a radio to do a radio check with you [Echelon]
    • Have the volunteer use channel they will be on, or IF RADIO TRAFFIC IS HEAVY, switch to TAC2 (or another channel with no current radio traffic)
    • Respond: “I hear you loud & clear” unless there’s a problem, in which case see “Problems with Radios” and “Troubleshooting” below.
    • A common response is “You have a radio”, but this is not helpful and just snarky: Please DO NOT use this response.
    • Have the volunteer switch the channel to their core’s channel
    • You can suggest that the volunteer do a radio check for range on SAFETY1 to Khaki when they get to their location.
  • If there is a shortage of long antennas: check out one long and one short antenna to each ranger pair.

Additional Ranger Items (Map, Notebook, Checklist, Swag Bag)

These are optional to offer to Rangers:

  • Map
  • Notebook & Pen (Rangers should have brought their own, but we’ll have a supply in case.)
  • Ranger shift check-list
  • There are swag bags with dogtag, stickers, and button.  Can take an extra if request it.
  • If anyone ASKS for a pin (last year’s swag), there should be a small supply for them to take one.
  • GLOW T-SHIRTS (with black-looking ink, separate from the batch), only for those doing a 2am-6am shift (all roles.)

Ranger Shift Schedule Check-in

  • Check in using the Ranger schedule (clipboard) using ✓and/or highlight in green
  • Check that Ranger has completed training
  • Check schedule for next shift
  • Tell Ranger to check with Khaki

Radio return

  • Update radio sign-out sheet: fill in row & cross through with marker
  • Ask if there were any problems with the radio, and make notes if there were
    • Use RED DUCT TAPE & sharpie to label with problem
  • Get back booklets, reference cards, etc.
  • Take returned radio, remove battery and replace with new fully charged one from green bin
  • Radio with fresh battery can be added to hanging radio queue.
  • Put used battery in charger or in red bin to be charged
  • If there were problems, try troubleshooting (below) and/or mark with red tape
  • Wipe down the radio & accessories with a sanitary wipe.

Ranger Shift Check out

  • Remind rangers they are not off-shift until the have debriefed with Khaki
  • Remind rangers of their next shift (included in Radio Check-in log)

Other Echelon Responsibilities & Resources


The generator at HQ is a Honda EU1000i, with an extended fuel tank.  It will need to be running continuously, as much as possible, during the whole event, in order to power the Radio Repeater as well as charge Radio batteries and batteries for lights.

You should know how to start and stop the generator, although you probably will not need to during your shift, as with the extended gas tank we can add to that without turning off the generator.

Near the beginning of each Echelon Shift (after all Rangers are checked in for their shift), you should top off the gas in the extended gas tank.  If you use up most or all of the gas in the 5 gallon gas can while doing this, you should radio to DPW to let them know that HQ will need more gas.

  • Refueling generator via extended tank
    • You should not need to turn generator off
    • Open extension fuel container
    • Add gas from 5 gallon gas can; use the funnel to reduce spillage
    • If there is little or no gas left after that, call DPW on the radio to say we will need more gas, and include in the Echelon Log.
  • Refueling generator directly (if needed)
    • Turn generator off
    • Open fuel container
    • Check level (if already full, don’t need to add more)
    • Add more gas up to below fill line
    • Close cover.
    • IF YOU SPILL GAS ON THE GENERATOR: Wait for it to evaporate before turning generator back on!!!
    • Keep the gas cans at least 5-10 feet from the generator.
    • Restart generator.
  • Starting generator (if needed)

HQ generator should be on at all times; follow these steps if it is shut off (or turns off) and needs to be restarted

    • UNPLUG: Make sure nothing is plugged into generator.
    • Make sure there is no spilled gas.
    • Eco mode: OFF
    • Fuel cap vent : ON
    • Engine switch: ON
    • Choke: OFF
    • Pull Starter grip (like starting a lawnmower).
    • If trouble starting, can turn choke on, and then off when it is started.
    • When the green light turns on (about 1 min), change to Eco Mode ON
    • Now okay to plug in extension cord.
  • Turning generator off (or if it turns off)
    • Unplug devices
    • Engine Switch: OFF
    • Fuel cap vent: OFF
  • If it rains: Make sure generator is covered by a tarp. (Moving not recommended.)

Turning lights on and off

The lights will need to be turned on each night (about 9 pm):

  • Plug in the xmas lights to extension cord (AC, off generator)
  • Two deep-cycle 12 volt batteries in the wooden boxes:
    • Turn power on (switch)
    • Check battery level--should be full (over 12.5V-check battery box for usual max)
      • If it’s below 11V please recharge instead of turning on
    • Turn on led lights (switch)
    • Turn on banner black lights by connecting cable to battery (see instructions on cord/box)

Turning off in the morning (about 6am):

  • Unplug xmas lights
  • Turn off and charge batteries if needed
    • Turn off LEDs
    • Unplug blacklights
    • If battery is less than 12.3V, please recharge (below)

Charging deep-cycle batteries for lights

  • See documentation at specific battery for details.
  • Attach batteries to generator when generator is already on
  • Detach batteries when batteries are fully charged (12.7 V-see log on box)

Radio troubleshooting

No one can hear me

  • Is the battery low?
  • Is it on the wrong channel?
  • Is the mic in securely?
  • Antenna held upwards, away from body?
  • Too close to body?

I can't hear anyone

  • Is the battery low?
  • Is the volume turned up?
  • Is it on the wrong channel?
  • Antenna held upwards, away from body?

Receive/transmit audio quality is poor

  • Swap out shoulder mic (if using)
  • Check for dirt or moisture

If none of these solve their problem, swap out the radio, send them on their way, and try the following:

HQ radio troubleshooting

  • Try these things in order; try an extra turning off & on again between steps:
    • 1 Turn off & on again;
    • 2 Turn off, replace batteries, turn on again;
    • 3 Turn off, remove microphone, turn on again;
    • 4 Turn off, replace antenna, turn on again;
    • 5 Check channel is set to the correct station and locked correctly
  • If none of those work: mark any equipment still having problems with red tape and put aside for a Radio tech. Note down what the observed problem is in the Echelon log!

Lost & Found Items

Lost & Found Log: LOST Items [L & F binder]

Lost & Found Log: FOUND Items [L & F binder]

  • Use Blue log for lost and found items for the when, where, and whom of how it was recovered.
  • Use medium size ziplock bags for valuables (camera, car keys, etc) and stored at HQ on the Radio Equipment shelf.
  • Non valuable/critical items should be placed at the main Lost and Found box at Bass Camp.

Walk-up questions

  • You can field questions from participants who walk-up
  • If you don’t know an answer, try to figure out who should be asked
  • If it’s something worth noting, add it to the Echelon logs and to the Khaki log.

Assisting Khaki with Updating Ranger Log & Summary Sheets

  • The Ranger Log stays with Khaki and/or KIT at all times.
  • If you have something to be added to the Ranger Log (walk-up issue, call, etc.) tell Khaki; if they aren’t at HQ, you can add it to the Echelon log and then tell Khaki when they return.
  • You might help Khaki figure out who is on shift, including for other Cores.

Schedule changes & Shift Coverage Needed Board

If someone does not show for their shift, or reports that they will not be able to do the shift they signed up for:

  • Post that Shift on the Shift Coverage Needed whiteboard
  • Make a note in the schedule

Fill water jug

Coordinate with Bass Camp (formerly Kitchen) to get gallon water jug filled; can ask Gnomes for help.


You may be asked for keys to one of the ATVs. If you’re unsure whether someone should be driving the ATV, ask Khaki or the OOD.  Keys with TJ, call on radio.


There will be a computer available that will be able to:

  • Program Radios
  • View personnel documents (offline)
  • Khakis can use word for typing detailed logs if they want
  • Internet not provided: If needed you could find someone who can create a wifi hotspot, but we aren’t setting this up.

Instructions will be with the computer.

Keep HQ Tidy

  • Keep the tables clear of clutter
  • Don’t allow Rangers to leave trash at HQ-including Echelon Rangers.  LNT!


  • Listen and assist Khaki as needed
  • Khaki may ask you to bring the cell phone or AED to the incident site
  • See FERN (Firefly Emergency Resource Notebook)
  • See Khaki Manual and emergency forms as needed

FERN (Will be added in print version)

Links to Echelon-Related Documents

Echelon Checklist for Rangers & other volunteers coming on-shift

Echelon Shift Checklist [Laminated, Hang on cork board]

Firefly Ranger ECHELON Log Binder Cover sheet Echelon binder]

Radio check out/check in template [Radio binder]

Lost & Found Log: LOST Items [L & F binder]

Lost & Found Log: FOUND Items [L & F binder]

FERN (Firefly Emergency Resources Notebook) [access limited, will be printed in Echelon log]

Firefly HQ Set up and Breakdown Planning

HQ set up pic

2016 Echelon Shift Guide

Archived 2015 Echelon Guide

Archived 2014 Echelon Guide