The different types of firefighters

The different types of firefighters

The fire department was created as a paramilitary organization, meaning that its ranks and line of command were derived from the military.

Firefighters must spend a specific length of time at each level of the department before being promoted. Before they may advance to the next firefighter level, they must pass written tests and have an interview with their higher officers.

The following is a list of firefighter ranks in order:

  • Probationary firefighter
  • Firefighter
  • Driver engineer
  • Lieutenant
  • Captain
  • Battalion chief
  • Assistant chief
  • Fire chief

Organizational divisions in the fire department

A fire department is divided into different sections based on their functions.

A large vehicle and accompanying firefighting or EMS personnel make up an engine or truck company. A lieutenant or captain leads each company.

A fire department's special task unit, such as EMS or special rescue from risky settings, may be established. Personnel assigned to these units get specialized training in their fields.

A battalion is made up of many fire stations as well as the companies assigned to them.

Here's a quick rundown of the metropolitan department rankings:

Probationary firefighter

Probationary firemen (sometimes known as "probies") are fire recruits who have just been employed as "at will" entry-level employees by the fire department. They are the firefighters' lowest-ranking personnel.

For the first six to twelve months of their work as a probationary firefighter, applicants are trained and evaluated to ensure that their character and skills match the high standards of the fire service.

Probies are sworn in as full-time members of the department after completing their probationary period.

 

Firefighter

Any one member of the department can be called a “firefighter,” but it’s also a rank of its own.

Firefighters are in charge of putting out fires and performing search and rescue operations. Each company typically has one to two firemen.

In the absence of the driving engineer, the fireman may operate the equipment.

Firefighter wages vary based on where you work, although many moderate-to-large urban regions pay between $30,000 and $50,000.

Firefighters at the Irving (Texas) Fire Department start at $54,744 per year and are given increases on a regular basis. Without a promotion, a firefighter's pay may be $83,136 per year at the end of their tenure. This is equivalent to other Dallas/Fort Worth departments.

Driver engineer (DE), or fire equipment operator (FEO)

The device must be driven by the driver engineer.

They're also in charge of keeping the fire pump and aerial ladder in good working order.

This is a highly technical position with significant responsibilities. A driving engineer must inspect the vehicle on a regular basis to ensure that it is in good operating condition. After each call, all equipment must be cleaned and maintained, and at the very least checked each morning before the shift begins.

The driver engineer is supposed to be the fire department's resident fire apparatus specialist, and must know the vehicle within and out. This is especially critical at an emergency situation, where a driver engineer may be necessary to add additional equipment.

When the lieutenant is absent, the driving engineer may serve as "acting lieutenant." Because this is the first time in a firefighter's career that they will take on the role of officer, driver engineers must have some management and leadership skills.

The driving engineer is also known as a "chauffeur," a "apparatus operator (AO)," or a "fire equipment operator" (FEO).

When firemen move to driver engineer, they earn a significant salary raise due to the position's high level of responsibility. Firefighters in Irving, Texas, start off at $54,744 per year, but when advanced to equipment operator, they earn $85,860.

Lieutenant

The lieutenant is in charge of a certain company's emergency response, including resource and people management.

A lieutenant may be in charge of managing everyday operations at a fire company and spearheading firefighter training when they are not on the scene of an incident. Learning new EMS techniques or how to make maps of nearby buildings and landmarks to utilize in the case of a fire are examples of firefighter training.

Lieutenants must have understanding of scene operations and strive to be better educated than their subordinates because of their essential role in guiding firefighters.

The lieutenant may take the job of "acting captain" if the captain is unavailable.

Lieutenant wages in the FDNY start at $94,300 per year, with the potential to rise to $125,848 when overtime and holiday pay are included in.

Captain

When an emergency occurs, the captain is generally the highest-ranking officer on the site and will oversee activities as needed. The captain may also talk to the media or the general public on behalf of the enterprise.

The captain is in charge of the fire company's day-to-day operations and training at the station. They get reports from any station lieutenants and must make administrative choices that benefit the team. Fire commanders must have outstanding management skills because of their increasing duties.

A captain may also be in command of a specific function, such as training or emergency medical services (EMS). They may also talk to the media or the general public on behalf of their firm.

A fire captain's base salary in the FDNY is reported as $130,437.

Firefighters who have been promoted to captain may be considered for the job of fire chief.

Fire chiefs are the highest-ranking officials in the fire department, and they often take leadership when an emergency occurs. They may come in different vehicles, most frequently a marked SUV that may act as a mobile incident command center.

Battalion chief

A fire captain's base salary in the FDNY is reported as $130,437.

Firefighters who have been promoted to captain may be considered for the job of fire chief.

Fire chiefs are the highest-ranking officials in the fire department, and they often take leadership when an emergency occurs. They may come in different vehicles, most frequently a marked SUV that may act as a mobile incident command center.

Each department usually has three rotating chiefs to ensure that the position is staffed 24 hours a day.

The starting salary for a battalion chief with Seattle's King County Fire Department is $134,376.

Assistant chief

Assistant fire chiefs supervise and manage the actions of the operations division's staff. Firefighting and disaster assistance are the responsibilities of the operations section. EMS may be included in operations depending on the department.

Assistant chiefs are also in charge of developing initiatives to enhance and sustain the fire department. They help the fire chief by creating budgets and planning the fire department's expansion.

San Francisco's highest-paid assistant fire chief earned $321,073 in 2019.

Fire chief

The fire chief is the department's highest-ranking official.

He or she is directly accountable for the fire department's proper functioning and is in charge of all employees and operations.

The fire chief has a voice in several aspects of the department, including:

  • Fire safety education
  • Fire protection
  • EMS
  • Disaster preparedness
  • Department administration

The fire chief may also offer technical support to the city manager or mayor, as well as represent the fire service's interests when it comes to fire coverage planning.

While all firefighters begin their careers as probies, they have the potential to advance to the position of fire chief.

As firemen develop in their careers, they are more likely to take on management or administrative responsibilities. It is their responsibility to train and support the next generation of hands-on firefighters, as well as to promote the fire service's interests in their coverage area.

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