1. #1
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    Default Fire Department Ranks

    What ranks do you suggest using? How high do they go? What do you use to determine them? I am looking for suggestions for implementing ranks in a volunteer department.

    Thanks for your help!

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    backdraft663's Avatar
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    In our department we have 1 chief, 2 asst. chiefs, 3 captains, 4 lieuts. one deputy chief ems, ems lasion, and Chief Cadet (Me) oh and a training officer
    Ryan

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    But how are these positions determined. Elections or experience/time served?

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    Are you talking about who gets the position? If so your elected, someone says your name then someone seconds it and then your put on there to run for that position. Actually our last meeting we choose people to run and at our 1st meeting in December we vote.


    It really dont go by the years you serve but then again it does because someone isnt going to put someone thats been only running a year compared to 40 years.
    Ryan

    I.A.C.O.J. Probie

    You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do. -Eleanor Roosevelt

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    Default Our firematic ranks

    Chief*
    1st Assistant Chief*
    2nd Assistant Chief*
    Captain
    Lieutenant
    Line Foreman
    E.M.S. Captain
    Fire Police Captain*
    Safety Officer
    if none present, driver of 1st F.D. vehicle on scene
    * Elected at our annual meeting, the rest are appointed by Chief with Assistant Chiefs input.
    If EMS call, (pt. care issues) by level of training
    Last edited by CharlieRFDPres; 11-14-2003 at 04:47 PM.
    (should now be CharlieRFD,past,Pres.), but I've had this screen name for so long, I'm keeping it..., besides I'm Deputy Chief now.
    BE SAFE OUT THERE
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  6. #6
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    Default

    In my combination department, the volunteer division has three captain positions and a deputy chief. Each position is appointed by the fire chief. The volunteers are divided up into three squad. Each captain is in charge of that squad.

    I think it's important to not elect officers for the same reason we don't elect federal judges. The desire to be re-elected can sometimes sway the decision making process. If you are going to elect them, I think there should be minimum standards before someone is allowed to seek the position (i.e. FFII certification, x number of years experience, certain leadership classes, etc.).

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    Any system of selection has it's strengths & weaknesses.

    Both elections & appointments are subject to politics & brown-nosing.

    With volunteer systems, periodic review and the realization that movement back and forth overtime is realistic. That's a downfall of some of the appointed-for-life volunteer systems I've seen. Unlike a career position where you're there for the shift, changes in a volunteer officer's life away from the station can affect how much time & attention they can dedicate. If an officer is afraid he may never make rank again, he might be loathed to give it up when his new family takes time away from the firehouse.

    Open elections can get, um, interesting. But the membership gets what the membership not only desires but deserves, and if the majority of the membership doesn't like the direction their headed it offers the ability to change quickly.

    General considerations:
    -- Have progressive qualifications, both in certifications & experience. Such as a LT must have 3 years FF'ng experience, 1 year on this Department, and Firefighter I. A Captain needs 1 year as a LT in this department plus Firefighter II. Etc.
    -- Have written job expectations they can be judged by
    -- Review officers at least every two years.

    A favorite system of mine, best I can remember:
    Chief, Deputy, and ***'t Chief are elected to two year terms and are subject to qualifications (in terms of certifications and current/previous recent service as a line officer)
    Captains & Lieutenants are appointed for one year terms
    Initial appointments are made from a pool of qualified applicants who are required to hand in a "fire service resume" and are selected by (sit down!) an oral board consisting of the Chiefs of three neighboring departments.
    Annual re-appointments involve a performance review by the Chief, and majority of three Chiefs may decline to re-appoint a line officer.

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    Chief
    3 ***'t chiefs
    5 Capatins
    5 Lieutenant (I'm one!!!)
    2 Training Officers
    1 Safety Office

    EMS Capatin
    EMS Co-Capatin
    EMS Lieutenant

    All positions are elected, The 4 chiefs are elected by General Election the 5 Capatins and 5 Lieutenants are elected by each individual company (For Instance I'm the Lieutenant of Rescue Company 2) and the EMS officers are elected by the members of the Emergency Squad
    NYS FF1/AEMT-CC
    IAEP Local 152
    "You stopped being in charge when I showed up"

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    My 42 member volunteer department has the following:

    Chief of Department

    Assistant Chief-Operations

    Assistant Chief-EMS

    Assistant Chief-Fire Prevention

    6 Captains

    The Chief is appointed by the Township Trustees. He appoints his Assistant Chiefs but the Trustees have final approval. Their are different qualifications for the Assistant Chiefs but they have to have a certain amount of time as a Captain to qualify.

    Captains are appointed by a competetive testing process. A Firefighter must have a minimum of 5 years on the department to take the tests.

    If I was setting our system up from scratch, I would eliminate 3 of the Captain positions and make them Lieutenant positions with a 3 year experience requirement. It seems like another step between grunt and boss would make for a better boss.
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

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    Our rank structure is as follows:

    Firefighter
    Lieutenant
    Captain
    Deputy Chief
    Chief


    Our department is career and civil service. One has to take the Firefighter entrance exam first, then the CPAT, then a complete physical and psychologoical testing prior to getting hired.

    After five years of experience in the rank of Firefighter, one can start taking promotional exams for the rank of Lieutenant.

    A Lieutenant needs at a minimum of 1 year in grade before taking the exam for Captain.

    A Captain needs a minimum of 1 year in grade before taking the Deputy Chief's exam.

    The Chief of Department's position is not in Civil Service and is a five year appointment that has to be approved by the Mayor, the Personnel Division and voted on by the City Council. If the Chief wishes to remain, he must be reappointed to the position using the same procedure.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Our ranks go like this:

    Chief of Department
    Deputy Chief (3)
    Captain (3)
    Lieutenant (6)
    Chief Engineer (3)

    The Chief of Department and Deputy Chiefs are chosen like this: the fire companies within the town pick four names to be submitted to borough counsel. Borough counsel then places them in order: Chief of Department to Deputy Chief. These four are borough employees. The rest of the ranks are determined by the individual companies. The Captains are placed in rank with the one with the most consecutive continueous sevice as a Captain at the top. The chiefs and captains are the only ones that carry portables. This way there is not too much radio traffic.

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    Default

    Chief - Career
    Deputy Chief - Career
    3 Asst Chiefs - Career
    2 Captain - Part-Paid
    3 Liuetenants - Part-Paid

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    Originally posted by backdraft663

    It really dont go by the years you serve but then again it does because someone isnt going to put someone thats been only running a year compared to 40 years.

    But sometimes it does BACKDRAFT depending on how many people you have in your Dept that can "fill" the spots...otherwise we would have more standard firefighters and no Officers for Command.

    In our particular case we are so rediculously understaffed that were forced to "appoint" by how much you know by experience...rather than "elect".This way we have our main Officers spots covered.

    Anyways... heres our particular Chain of Command:

    1 Fire Chief (me)
    1 Asst Chief
    1 Fire Capt
    1 EMS Capt
    1 Leutenant

    Again,we only have one of each simply because were seriously understaffed but each of the Officers double as firefighters and EMS personnell too so we can have our bases covered as well in those areas.

    Donna C
    Fire Chief
    Bridge Canyon VFD
    http://cms.firehouse.com/dept/SeligmanAZ
    Last edited by July36; 11-16-2003 at 08:20 AM.

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    We have a volunteer fire department.
    1 Chief
    1 Asst. Chief
    3 Captains(also training officers)
    3 Lieutenants
    All officers, with the exception of the newest Lt., have at least 10 years experience and several levels of certification; not because they have to but because they want to!
    The chief, asst. chief and new firefighters are recommended to the Board of Trustees for their positions. Chief and AC are re-affirmed EACH year. This is so if there is a problem, it can be resolved quickly and you don't have to wait for an eternity to do something about it. Captains and lieutenants are appointments made by the chief that do not go to trustees for approval.
    If you are starting from scratch, you need a system that will yield you qualified candidates. Make it fair and workable.
    Don't anoint anybody with rank who "has to think about it". This could be how they deal with incidents as well. If they have to think about it, then they aren't ready to be an officer.
    If you don't have anyone qualified to hold a certain rank, you are better off leaving it open than filling it with someone underqualified to hold the position.
    If you make it clear that positions of rank should not be taken lightly, then your firefighters will not take them lightly. The minute they sense that it is a popularity contest or a position with no apparent responsibility, then the process becomes one of an exercise in futility.
    Involve others in forming the basis for qualifications for promotion.
    CR
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    Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
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    My department is a POC department with:

    1 Chief
    2 Assistant chiefs
    2 Captains
    4 Lieutenants
    3 Crew chiefs

    The Chief and both Asst. Chiefs are elected to 2-year terms by the general public, the same as any other elected public office.

    Captains and Lieutenants are elected annually by the membership of the department.

    The Crew Chief positions are "officer-in-training" positions with limited authority. They are chosen by the other officers for a 6 month term.
    TW
    Essex Junction Fire Dept.
    Vermont

  16. #16
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    Smile

    In our 19 member (currently, hope to have more soon) 100% volunteer department we have:

    Fire Chief
    Asst Chief
    2 Captains
    2 Lieutenants
    EMS Captain

    The Chief is appointed by the Town Council
    EMS Captain is appointed by Fire Chief
    All other positions are elected by the membership
    All Lieutenants must have been in Department for 2 years
    All Captains have to previously been a Lieutenant.
    All company officer slots are one year terms.
    Asst Chief is 2 year term
    Chief serves until Town Council tells him to go away.
    EMS Captain serves at the pleasure of the Chief and has no authority on a fire except in role as Safety Ofiicer. Most of the time, the personnel in these positions don't change, except maybe to move up or down within the officer structure. We elect them, but it is not on their popularity. It is on their merits and knowledge as firefighters.

    I think when you are getting all of these positions and numbers of officers, it is important to know how many total members/employees you have. For example, if my department had only 8 members, it would be silly to have so many officers. If my department had 60 members, we might want to add a few more officer slots. So, of those that answered above, if you didn't give a total or estimated total members, could you please come back and do so? It would help fire422 and others to know the ratio of officers to firefighters. And fire422, the reason we have 2 CPT and 2 LT when we only have 19 members--not everyone can show up to every call. This helps our odds of having at least one officer on every scene. 99% of the time, it works.
    Tim Newman
    Assistant Director
    Reno County Emergency Management
    Hutchinson, KS
    KA4CKR

    www.renogov.com

  17. #17
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    Smile

    Thanks for all your help.

    To tell you a little about my department...
    We have about 20 members. Currently our positions all all elected..Chief, Asst. Chief, Training Officer, Asst. Training Officer, Secretary, Maintenance, Asst. MAintenance, Safety, and Traffic. They are all elected by members of the department

    I"m just trying to give people a rank to have something for them to work towards and to possible create more interest.

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