1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Colfax, WA

    Question Promotion in a combination department

    After 8 years as a Captain in a small Combo dept. and establishing an exposure control plan, hazcom plan, writing a safety plan, and guidlines for injured/fallen firefighter - all in the past three years, as well as being the sole officer conducting fire and life safety inspections, I was just passed up for promotion to Asst. chief to a volunteer. While I acknowledge the man has talent, my problem is actually with the system. I was not offered the opportunity to compete for promotion, nor was an explanantion (courtesy) offered to why I was not selected. Perhaps the good ole boy club gone awray.

    My question is this:
    What are the methods used for promotion and advancement in your departments - either all volunteer, paid, or combination?

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    HeavyRescueTech's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    New Jersey


    I'm going to make two assumptions about your department, you tell me if I'm right or wrong:

    your department has 3 or 4 shifts, each with an on duty officer.

    all the other officers are volunteers


    your department has 3 or 4 shifts, with a career officer on during the day mon-fri.

    all the other officers are volunteers

    am I right?

    now, using one of the above scenarios (which is how it was on my old combo dept), think of what they would need to do if you were promoted:
    1) as an AC, they would need to hold another promotional exam for your position
    2) they would have needed to pay you more
    3) as an AC, you would be taken off the engine, and place into a command car. remember, most cheif's don't ride on the engine.
    4) the vol is going to be an AC for a year, then he might be replaced. if you get promoted, then your the AC until you retire

    I don't like combination departments. This is another reason. you can have a great career FF, who does a lot for the department, but he can't / won't get promoted to an officer because it's a volunteer department supplemented by career FFs. in fact, I knew some great career FFs, who were better and more knowledgable than the vol officers. but because they were paid, they weren't eligible to be apointed as officers.

    I don't mean to sound rude, but that's the nature of the job.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!


  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    May 2004


    I work for a major paid department in California with Civil Service rules.

    Every step from firefighter, engineer, captain and battalion chief is a competitive exam with an eligibility list. Assistant and Deputy chief are appointments by the fire chief with no expanation needed.

    I would caution you on how you choose to respond to your setback. I too was passed over promotion prior to finally getting my badge. I was told by a very good friend that the fire chief was watching my reaction very carefully.

    It was presented to me that if I were to be bitter it would have validated his choice. My decision was to keep my head held up high and keep a positive attitude.

    As luck would have it, the chief retired and his leaving created an opening for which I got promoted.

    My suggestion to you is to keep a positive attitude and keep your disappointment between you and your wife. There will always be more openings down the road.

    You define yourself by how you react to your successes and failures.

    Good luck and stay safe!
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    Author of Smoke Your Firefighter Interview and The Aspiring Firefighter's 2-year Plan

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