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Old 03-22-2005, 13:06   #1
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Rank Q's

I am trying to figure out what all the ranks and titles mean in our fire department. It seems fairly different from my PD. Probably because we do completely different jobs.

Our FD guys have titles like paramedic, engineer, and fire fighter. They appear to be like our Field Training Officer and Detective titles where they have the same rank as patrol officers but have specialized duties.

Then there are the ranks like Captain, Battalion Chief, Assistant Chief and Chief. I also hear that some FD's have Lieutenants. Is it kind of like how we have Sergeants, Lieutenants, Deputy Chief, and Chief. We are supposed to have Corpral like Assistant Team Leaders.

Are all these ranks more or less equivalents? And how does it change when you are talking about Full-time versus Vollie? I'm just curious because at what level do I have to start talking in managerese rather than tell it like it is?
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Old 03-22-2005, 16:44   #2
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;f The first three are basically areas of specialty, like K-9, SWAT, Bike Patrol, etc..(Paramedic=Patient care/Response, Engineer= Truck, Fire Fighter=Fools running into fires -Fire guys jump in here, I'm EMS!)The Lt., Captain, Chief, etc., is ranking, like Sgt.,Lt., Watch Commander, Captain, etc.. It's all pretty similar.

FT/Vol differences depend on the size of the Vol. services, in my experience. If you have a big Vol service, the ex-FT/experienced guys may be Captain or higher. Otherwise, it pretty much depends on time-in and specialty training or rotating through the specialties. Level of BS depends on the officer. I've known some (EMS)who ran a scene from the suburban, and some who got out and got grubby.
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Old 03-22-2005, 18:46   #3
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Another question. When it comes to being deployed how does the command structure work out? Are there say three FF per truck with an Lt. in charge of that crew. Then is there a Captain in charge of multiple engine/crews. And then a Battalion Chief in charge of multiple Captains as the scene disovles into complete and utter chaos?

Because with us the worse it gets the more brass come out. Say there is a stand off. We have an inner perimeter headed by a Sgt., an outer perimeter headed by a Sgt. traffic control the same. Then there is at least one Lt. supervising it all. There may be a second Lt. helping out. Then a DC or the Chief himself comes out to watch over it all.

Our stuff is very linear even on the fluid calls. Is yours a little more loose because you guys aren't all uptight about that stuff?

I am asking this stuff because when something happens big with you guys I'm standing there yelling at people trying to keep them from running over me or your hoses with their cars. I don't get to see the command post like I get to see at our clusters. BTW don't be near a PD CP it is a little like watching a three ring circus.
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Old 03-22-2005, 19:04   #4
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Answers vary by department. In my department the engineer drives and pumps at the fire. The captain is in charge of the crew. Could be a three or four man engine. Our truck companies are four men, but can split up into two teams at a fire. Firefighters are the guys that get to do the fun stuff. Paramedics can fill any position, even the officers position. Above the captains is the battalion chief. Above them are the assistant chiefs and finaly the big chief.

With our incident command structure the first arriving company officer is automatically the incident commander. Until releaved of that by the arrival of a battalion chief. If it gets huge then the chief is in charge of the overall incident but they usually leave the actual fire suppression in the hands of the battalion chief.
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Old 03-23-2005, 07:07   #5
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With our dept, VFD, we can be "fluid" but basically go by;

Our dept has;
1st lt
2nd lt

At a scene, first arriving officer is IC (incident command). A later arriving higher officer may take over, but not usually (let the younger officer get the experience of IC).

If no officer is at the scene or on air, the first arriving driver of apparatus is IC. In this case, many time a driver will ask a more senior member, usually a past officer, to take over as IC.

If no officer or driver is at the scene, usually the most senior member on scene is IC. We can respond to scenes with personal vehicles.

We have a small dept, and every knows each other well, so this "system" works for us. We also get along well with the local PD (most of them, anyway {lol}), and they usually don't have a problem with us being "in charge" at a scene. Even though according to CT state statutes the FD is in charge at an incident that they are called to, we are very careful not to push this with the local PD or the State Police. Some FDs push the issue, and you hear about ongoing "battles" between the PD and FD.
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Old 03-24-2005, 10:16   #6
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My Department has the following ranks.

Assistant Chief (1)
Captain (3)
Lieutenant (3)
Engineer(Sergeant) (3)
Probation Firefighter

Each Engine Company has one each of the Captain, Lieutenant,and Engineer. We use all three ranks because there is no guarantee that any of the Volunteer Officers will show up. If none of the Officers respond than the senior Firefighter is in charge of that Company.
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Old 03-25-2005, 17:58   #7
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I can answer military department ranks...

We have...
fire marshal
fire chief
deputy fire chief
assistant chief (x2 for both shifts)
assistant chief of fire prevention
safety officer
Station chief
crew chiefs (or lieutenants for civilian departments)

We have no probationary as military cant. Both shifts usually run with 6-7 civilians and the rest are military. Assistant chief is IC for all incidents unless anything above want to take over the incident (and usually they dont unless its a large fire, where the fire chief will take command)
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Old 04-03-2005, 19:18   #8
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The answer to this can be different from dept to dept. Your officer positions are Chief, Deputy or Assistant Chief, Battallion Chief, Captain, Lieutenant. Next down the chain of command and not officers are Driver/engineer, & Firefighter / Paramedic or EMT. The first 2 are usually administrative positions. Batt. Chiefs are usually combat positions and in charge of several companies. The next two, Capt. & Lt. are company officers in charge of one company, i.e. engine, ladder, rescue, ect. Driver/Engineer in responsible for driving, pumping & equipment on the unit. FF/ Medic or EMT responsibilities include patient care, firefighting, & hazard control, usually under direction of the company officer. Incident command is usually established by the first arriving company until the need for command to be passed to someone else.
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Old 04-05-2005, 22:42   #9
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CACop, I just found this thread. Around here, firefighters, FF/paramedics and engineers are the same. AFAIK, most of the firefighters are paramedics, and at least on Central Fire, they are pretty much all qualified as engineers and rotate duty on that. I believe that all fulltime departments in the county have paramedic engines.

Most stations have two or three firefighters and a captain; they man a single engine, generally. The captain is equivalent rank to a sergeant. A battalion chief (equivalent rank to a lieutenant) commands all four stations. Usually a batt chief will respond if two or more engines are on a call. The batt chiefs have a green rotator in the center of their lightbar.

Above the batt chief are assistant chiefs - one per division, such as operations and administration.

The rank structure is the same for the volunteer departments, but they don't have paramedics as far as I know. BTW, if you find yourself in the Valley, the volunteer departments up there are first-rate and have fast response times.

If you need it, I can provide the numbering system for the county's fire agencies also.
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Old 04-20-2005, 16:26   #10
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Assistant Deputy Chief
Deputy Chief
Battallion Chief
Captain 2(station commander)
Captain 1 (shift commander)
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