Coming up through the fire department rank system is a goal of many people, it was a goal of mine. To reach those positions takes a lot of hard work and dedication. As you go up however, the fire service will change for you. Some folks have trouble being told what to do and others will be jealous, no matter what the case may be as you rise in rank there are some who will not like, and that’s ok.

The rank structure in the fire service is relatively the same through all departments with the addition or subtraction of some of the ranks and title responsibilities. For the sake of this blog we will use the department that I work for and spread out from there. I am sure that there are even ranks in the fire service that aren’t going to be addressed here, but all have an important role at the department they are used in.

 The first step in fire department rank at my department is engineer, some call the drivers or chauffeurs but simple put these are the people that drive the trucks. They care for them and make sure they are in working order each day, they check all the equipment and make sure something isn’t missing from the shift before. In our case these folks are the ones that move up in rank should there ranking officer be absent. These jobs have a lot of responsibility, care and control of a rig that in a lot of cases cost well over a million dollars, getting the crew safely to the scene and even safety of the general public while they are driving these pieces of equipment.

The next step up in our fire department rank is Lieutenant. These folks are in charge of a station and the equipment in it. Their responsibilities increase as they are not only responsible of the crew but also the trucks and equipment and also the buildings themselves while they are on duty.

The next step would Captain, the rank order at the fire department I work for makes the Captain the shift commander, in a lot of other departments the shift is ran by one or more Battalion or District Chiefs. The job is relatively the same, the title is different. In our case the Captain is responsible for all the Engineers, Lieutenants, station and equipment in the department while they are on duty. Along with the paperwork that has to be completed each shift. Moving u in fire department rank will change what you do daily. As you rise you transition from less firefighter to more management.

The next step at our department in the climb up fire department rank would be Assistant Chief. The Assistant Chief runs operations, he picks up where the Captain left of and is responsible for all the shift and the ranks that fall under them. This job is where the 24 days usually stop for the professional. Eight hours days and five days a week. This gives you the ability to communicate with all the shifts and see one of them each day.

The last step in my fire department rank structure would be the Fire Chief. This person is in charge of the entire department. The Fire Chief deals with all the administrative staff, the Assistant Chief and Operations as well as all the department budgets and the politics that sometimes come up. This is a very responsible position and isn’t for everybody.

I know we didn’t touch upon all the fire department ranks that exist but each one here and the others we didn’t mention all play an important role in the way a department runs. What I love about the fire service is that each department is different, we aren’t all set up the same.

Give me some feedback on how I’m doing. Got an idea you’d like to see me blog about? Leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do.

Until next time, be safe.

Captain K

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