1. #1
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    Default Ratio of officers to firefighters in your department

    In the volunteer company in my combo department we have about 1 Captain for every 6 firefighters, which seems kind of high seeing as how most paid companies will have 1 officer (Captain or Lt. depending on how your dept. uses ranks) and 2-3 firefighters on a rig at a time.

    Seems like you would want a similar officer-firefighter ratio in the volunteers as well. Thoughts?

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    Remember, the effective span of control of personnel is 3-7, with 5 being optimal.

    At work, I oversee five personnel on my shift.

    At the VFD, we have 47 members (we just trimmed the membership roles pretty severely), who are overseen by two lieutenants, two captains, and two chiefs. That gives us a 1:8 ratio. Works well for us, based on the the number of members that are either at the station or on the scene at any given time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Remember, the effective span of control of personnel is 3-7, with 5 being optimal.
    True, but not all officer and firefighters show up for every call.

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    Perhaps not, but beware of the "too many chiefs and not enough indians" syndrome.
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    Our department is combination, and we have approx 35 ppl on our roster. A chief, 3 full-time captains, and 2 part-time captains (who RARELY show up)...right now we dont have any set schedule on who is under who, its just kind of a free-for-all, but we recently implemented a probie system which assigns every new ff a captain until they are released from probie status.

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    MY #1 POC FD has 22 members with 2 chiefs, 1 captains, 4 lieutenants, and a training officer. We rarely have had a situation where we don't have at least one if not more officers at a call.
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    Right now we have positions for 5 Chief officers, 3 Captains, 3 Lieutenants, and about 6 Sergeants for about 125 members. We don't have all of those officer positions filled right now, and of course some members are more active than others in running calls.

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    Span of control at an incident is far different than the ratio of officers to non-officers.

    There are only three line officers for our 30-ish firefighters, but each apparatus has a captain. Some departments call them foremen. Ours don't usually take a command position - in fact, as often as not, they're the ones operating their apparatus.

    Given that we use a lot of mutual aid, the actual span of control ratio is usually improved as M/A chiefs/officers step in to run certain sectors. Otherwise we'll use senior members, oftimes past chiefs.
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    Combo department has about 100 members, including 10 non-fireground dispatchers, and has 3 Chief Officers, one of which is paid, and 8 Captains, 3 of which are paid and function as Shift Captains, directly supervising the one firefighter on the 24-hour shift with them, and the one daytime part-time firefighter, as well as any volunteer personnel who may be doing a ride-out.

    In addition to thier shift roles, 2 of them also function as station captains on the volunteer side, and one functions as the rescue captain on the volunteer side. 4 of the other 5 volunteer captains function as station captains, and one functions as a vehicle maintenance captain.

    In addition to the captains, we also have senior firefighters who function in a capacity similar to LTs by supervising small crews and sectors at incidents, and being assigned to perform training functions.

    My VFD currently has 3 Chief officers, 3 captains and 2 LTs, and has about 8 firefighters. Currently 3 of the stations are managed by Captains, and 2 are supervised by LTs. At some point those 2 stations will get a captain, however, due to the current ratio, there are no promotions planned until we are able to recruit more firefighters.
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    On my POC dept. we have 1 Chief and 3 Lt's. We are supposed to get an Asst. Chief sometime soon, but I haven't heard any specifics. We have 20 members, but we're hoping to get another 3-5 if possible. We have some work to do in the way the officers work, they have certain responsibilities such as maint. or comm., but they don't have specific firefighters that are their responsibility. I (and another Lt.) think it would be good to have the Lt's have a "company" that answers to them, in the chain of command at least to make sure communication is flowing both ways. We really should have an Asst. Chief or Capt. for a good command structure. So far there haven't been any big problems, but things can be tricky sometimes because almost half the dept. is related to another FF or more. We generally get along ok and perform as a team.

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    it nice to have a captain for every 4 or 5 firefighters but on our volunteer department it is unrealistic. Generally everyone that shows up has a hands-on job on the scene. Also most of our firefighters are self starters so that helps the situation out with the chief organizing and keeping track of everything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Remember, the effective span of control of personnel is 3-7, with 5 being optimal.

    At work, I oversee five personnel on my shift.

    At the VFD, we have 47 members (we just trimmed the membership roles pretty severely), who are overseen by two lieutenants, two captains, and two chiefs. That gives us a 1:8 ratio. Works well for us, based on the the number of members that are either at the station or on the scene at any given time.
    I'd say you're light a couple of lieutenants. Ideally, they could be responsible for a smaller number of FF's for relaying info and dealing with any issues like gear, discipline, training etc.
    My POC only has 1 Chief and 3 Lt's, we were supposed to have an Asst. Chief as well, but the current Chief never appointed one after he was promoted. We have about 25 members, so we could use another officer or two.

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    1 chief, 2 ***. chiefs and three captains. So that leaves sixteen firefighters. Span of control is pretty good. I have asked if having a couple of Lt.s would be a good idea but they said it would be a nightmare to get implemented.
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    On my volunteer side we are a member of an organized fire district, the district has 4 companies operating out of 6 stations. We run a total of 8 Engines, 3 Ladders, 2 Rescues, 1 Foam Unit, 4 Brush Fire Units, 2 Fire Boats, 1 Jet-Ski, and 1 Mobile Command Unit. District wide we protect an area of approx. 24 square miles with a full-time population of about 85,000. Each individual company is staffed with 1 Fire Chief, 1 Asst. Chief, 1 Captain, and 2 Lieutenants supervising 65 firefighters per company. The only full-time paid uniformed position within the district is that of the District Fire Chief which is primarily an administrative position but does become an advisor to the company Fire Chiefs as well as the liaison between other municipal services as well as county fire services on larger scale incidents. District wide we respond to an average of 3,700 calls per year, no EMS. Stay safe everybody.
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    Our ratio is 1 Officer for every 3 FF's. That's how it is on the roster, but being a volunteer department we never know who will be there, you might have 1 Officer and 8 FF's on scene or it might be 6 Officers and 2 FF's. The Chief, 2 Asst. Chiefs, 2 Cptn's, and 1 Lt. are all considered line officers on our department.

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    Between the 2 stations....about 25 guys that show up regularly. Included in that 25 are Department Chief, Assistant Chief, 2 Deputy Chiefs, 2 Captains, 4 Lieutenants along with a couple Safety Officers.

    Ya, 10 officers for 15 firefighters.

    Many times...officers are letting the higher officer do the officer work and they fill in as firefighters. (engine rolls with Capt and Lt, the Lt is just a FF)

    I will admit....it is very rare that most of the officers are there though....
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    1 Chief, 1 Asst. Chief, 6 Fire Fighters.

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