1. #1
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    Default Captains, Lieutenants, or Both???

    My Department has recently decided to go from a all Captains department to a split Lieutenants and Captains Department. We are still a rather small combination department staffing 2 stations 24-7 with 9 guys on shift. Under the new system there will be one Captain at each station and the rest of the line officers on that day will be LT's. I was wondering if anyone had any feedback regarding advantages or disadvantages to a officer system consisting of both LT's and Capts as a opposed to a system with just one or the other. Any personal experiences would be great! Have to do a presentation on the issue in 3 weeks.

    Thanks
    J

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    We're an all career department with 20 stations, so your milage may very with some of the information I give.

    We have a LT assigned to each engine, truck, and heavy rescue (20 engines, 5 trucks, 3 rescues) on each shift. This is 84 field lieutenant positions. There is a captain assigned to each fire station for a total of 20 station captains, plus two EMS captains per shift.

    The station captains work a different shift schedule than the rest of the FF's, LT's, and BC's. This allows them to work with each shift at least three days every month. This is a pretty unorthodox way of doing things, and it does have it's advantages and disadvantages.

    For us, it works fine with our set-up. It allows the LT's to focus on training, discipline, and team building with the personnel they work with daily, and the captain can focus on administrative tasks, and ensure that the LT's are meeting his or her expectations on each shift.

    HTH, let me know if you want any other info...
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    37 houses here, all career.

    Every company has 3 officers assigned to it. 2 of the officers are lieutenants, and the other is a captain, which covers our three shifts.
    Each officer is in charge of their company for their shift, be they a lieutenant or captain. The captain has overall responsibility and accountability for the rig, as well as the engine house. In a double house, meaning an engine and truck are assigned there, the senior captain is the "house captain".

    Our captains are also delegated to act as a battalion chief, or to work in our incident safety officer position.


    *Oh yeah- captains earn about 12,000 more per year than a lieutenant.

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    we are 40 stations and 15 of them are double company. the captains ride the truck/quint and Lt's ride the engine. capt is in charge of the station as a whole and his truck, Lt is in charge of his engine but answers to the captain in station life or when captain is command of incidents. at single companys there is a captain on one shift out of the three and the other 2 shifts have Lt's riding the seat of the engine. those Lt's are still under the captain even though that captain is on a different shift....it's still his station. if personel issues or other stuff happens the captain has to hear about it and is still in the chain of command.

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    We are also a 2 station, 9 guys a shift combo dept. We have a Capt. and Lt. at Central station, and a Lt at station two. The Capt acts in a similar capacity to that of a Battalion Chief(Shift Supervisor) and the Lt's run the bulk of the calls out of the central station. The Station 2 Lt oversee's two FF's. The system works well, because of the diffrent job descriptions, the Lt's maintain a closer relationship with the crew(i.e supervise house chores, training, rig checks), while the Capt's handle quite a bit of administrative duties. Unfortunatley we do not have man for man coverage, this results in the potential for 2 firefighters working with two officers, thus increasing the work load for the FF's (we crossman the ambulance). Feel free to ask more questions

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    The station captains work a different shift schedule than the rest of the FF's, LT's, and BC's. This allows them to work with each shift at least three days every month. This is a pretty unorthodox way of doing things, and it does have it's advantages and disadvantages.

    HTH, let me know if you want any other info...

    Do the Captains still work on the apparatus, do they still respond to calls in another capacity (other then as a company officer)?

    To answer the original question: We are an 100% Captain department as are all the departments in our system.
    "The nation which forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten." - (John) Calvin Coolidge
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    Quote Originally Posted by aromania View Post
    Do the Captains still work on the apparatus, do they still respond to calls in another capacity (other then as a company officer)?
    Good question. The captains do still ride the apparatus, unless filling in for one of the BC's. My captain generally rides the tower when we works, so the tower LT will either ride backwards, or take a turn on the medic.
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    8 stations, each apparatus has a Captain assigned to it, each shift. Senior FF is our DO and FF is back end man. Captain at out stations is in charge of each station. Each shift has BC over it. We don't have Lts.

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    Before I started there, my department went from having Lt.'s to no Lt.'s. The chain used to be like this:

    FFI (entry level)
    FFII (automatic promotion based on classes and time in grade)
    Driver/Engineer (tested position)
    Lt. (tested)
    Cpt. (tested)
    Bn. Chief (appointed)
    Asst. Chief (appointed)
    Deputy Chief (appointed)
    Chief/Director (appointed by county commissioners)

    Now, it goes like this:

    FFI
    FFII
    FFIII (non-tested)
    Fire Cpt./Rescue Cpt.
    Fire-Rescue Cpt. (no additional test for Fire to Fire-Rescue Cpt., but tested for Rescue to Fire-Rescue Cpt.)
    Bn. Chief
    Asst. Chief
    Deputy Chief
    Chief/Director


    What made the system before better is that as you were promoted, you had to WORK for it. Not only did you work for it, but there was more oversight. And more control. Back then, once you made FFII, you worked your *** off and studied to make driver. As soon as you made driver, you started studying to make Lt. And so on and so forth. A new Lt. was not just thrown up there in charge of a station. He was still under a Captain, who was THERE to see what needed to be fixed, if anything. The Lt. had a mentor, not a battalion chief off somewhere in a battalion office who never saw the Lt.'s company except for a few minutes each day. Maybe.

    Now, a FFIII promoted to Cpt. may be dropped into full control of a station with no mentoring or real oversight. If he's lucky enough to be placed at a station with another captain, he'll get some guidance. Now, even though he's in charge of that station, he's really not IN CHARGE. A captain in my department can no longer make his own decisions. He must basically go up the chain for permission to do anything, even if it's in-house.

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    44 Stations. Captains in charge of Ladders/Quints (13) and Rescue (3) Companies and Station. Lieutenants in charge of engines. If single horse station, Lt is in charge of station. All positions can bump up to next level and ride "higher class". ie, FF to Driver, Driver to Lt, Lt to Capt, Capt to BC.

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    We run out of 19 stations each housing 23 companies. We operate on 24/48's. Each station has 1 capt. assigned to it, if it is a single company lt's. cover 2 shifts. In the double company houses the captain rides the truck with lt's filling the rest of the spots. The capt. is responsible for the station, apparatus, equipment, personnel, etc. that is assigned to the station.

    IMHO I like this setup better, it offers more options for career advancement, and progressive levels of responsibility and experience.

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    Thumbs down

    1 composite station manned, one sub-station crewed volunteer almost explicitly. A department compliment consisting of 11 full timers and 40 volleys (or so).

    We've got a gaggle system that has volunteer Captains and "full time guys." Makes it difficult when a Captain tells you to do one thing and a "full time guy-" who wears no official rank other than "full timer" tells you to do something different. They don't want to demote the Captains because they figured it might be bad for morale... for the 3 guys that actually have the rank. Mind you, they didn't mind demoting the floor senior... or more appropriately I think he demoted himself because he said "It doesn't mean anything around here anyways." Big of him to do that- pretty weak on the department side to make it so.

    Additionally, we run with 3 chiefs and 3 "full time" firefighters on the 24 hour shift (during the day- 2 "full timers" guaranteed at night with 1 chief "on call.")


    1 chief per firefighter is bad odds... so let me say I'm putting this out as an example of what not to do.
    Ian "Eno" McLeod
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    We have

    Lt: Rescues and Aerials (We do not run company systems) 111% 1st class F/F

    Capt: Pumpers 121%

    Some Depts in this region have Capt I and Capt II
    A'int No Rocket Scientist's in The Firehall

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    multi-company, multi-station department

    4 shifts, each company has 3 Lts and 1 Capt. Capt overseas the company, in multi company houses the senior Capt has reign over the house.

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