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Fire Department Structure and
Unit 4
By: Emory Arnold
Organization of the Fire Service
Governments all over, whether state,
municipal, or national have a responsibility
to protect the general welfare of the public
against any threat.
Fire is one such peril
Organization of the Fire Service
Citizens accept certain restrictions on their
behavior and pay taxes to protect
themselves and others.
Organization of the Fire Service
The fire service gets its authority from the
governing entity responsible for protecting
the public.
Organization of the Fire Service
The people charged with protecting the
public may be given special privileges to
enable them to perform there duties.
Do Not Park
Maybe I should not have parked here.
Organization of the Fire Service
Firefighter Legally breaking and entering
Organization of the Fire Service
The head of the fire department known as
the Fire Chief is accountable to the leader
of the governing body such as the Mayor,
Commissioner, City or County Manager, or
City Council.
Organization of the Fire Service
The fire department uses a paramilitary style
of leadership.
Firefighters operate under a rank system,
which establishes a chain of command.
Organization of the Fire Service
Most fire departments use four basic
management principles
пѓј Unity of Command
пѓј Span of Control
пѓј Division of Labor
пѓј Discipline
Unity of Command
A theory that each firefighter answers to
only one supervisor. Each supervisory
answers to only one boss.
This ensures that everyone is answerable to
the Fire Chief and establishes a direct
route of responsibility from the Chief to the
Span Of Control
The number of people that one person can
supervise effectively.
Some experts believe that span of control
should extend to no more than five people
in a complex environment.
Division of Labor
A way of organizing an incident by
breaking down the overall strategy into
smaller task.
Some departments are divided into units
based upon functions.
A set of guidelines that a department
establishes for firefighters.
SOP’s Standard Operating Procedures
Policies and procedure
SOG’s Suggested Operating Guidelines
Suggested procedures
Organization of the Fire Service
The organizational structure of a fire
department consist of a chain of
The chain of command creates a structure
for managing the department and
commanding fire ground operations.
Ranking System
Firefighters usually report to a Lieutenant.
The Lieutenant is responsible for a single
company (such as an engine company) on
a single shift.
Captains are not only responsible for a fire
company but they are responsible for
coordinating the company’s activities with
other shifts.
Lieutenants report to the shift Captain.
Battalion Chief
Captains report to Battalion Chiefs.
Battalion Chiefs are responsible to the
whole shift. They coordinate and
command fire ground operations. They
also ensure that all companies are
properly staffed for each shift.
Assistant Chief
Battalion Chief’s report directly to the
assistant chief.
The assistant chief is in charge of
functioning areas within the fire
department (such as training, logistics,
operations, etc)
The Assistant chief reports to the Fire Chief.
Company Types
Engine company
Truck company
Engine Company
An engine company is responsible for
securing a water source, deploying
handlines, conducting search and rescue
operations, putting water on the fire.
Engine company
The fire engines have a pump, carry hoses,
and a booster tank of water (500-1000
gal.) Engines also carry a limited quantity
of ladders and hand tools.
We will identify the equipment in a later unit.
Truck Company
A Truck company specializes in forcible
entry, ventilation, roof operations, search
and rescue operations above the fire, and
deployment of ground ladders, ranging
from 8’ to 50’ in length.
The Trucks are also equipped with aerial
devices, such as an aerial ladder, tower
ladder, or platform ladder.
Truck Company
Rescue Company
Rescue Company is responsible for
rescuing victims from fires, confined
spaces, trenches, and high angle
Wildland Company
Wildland fire companies use four wheel
vehicles and carry special equipment such
as portable pumps, rakes, shovels, etc. to
combat wildland fires.
Hazardous Material Company
These companies responds to and
controls scenes involving spilled and
leaking hazardous materials.
Emergency Medical Services
EMS companies include ambulances and
first responders. They respond to assist
and transport medical and trauma patients
to medical facilities.
Positions within the Fire
Firefighter’s may be assigned any number of
task from deploying hose lines to
extinguishing fires.
Firefighters are not responsible for any
command functions and does not
supervise other personnel.
Driver/Operator- (engineer) the driver is
responsible for getting the fire apparatus
and personnel to the fire scene safely.
Operator also sets up the apparatus to
pump water to the fire scene. The operate
also operates the pump or the aerial
Company Officer- (Lieutenant) Is in charge
of the crew and apparatus, while at the
station and fire scene.
Company Officer is responsible for the initial
firefighting strategy, personnel safety and
tactics used on the fire scene by all
Safety Officer- watches the overall operation
for unsafe practices. He or she has the
authority to stop any firefighting activity
until it can be done in a safe manner.
Training Officer- responsible for updating the
training of current firefighters and for
training new firefighters.
Incident Commander- The incident
commander is responsible for the
management of all incident operations.
Fire Marshal/Fire Inspector/Fire Investigator
Inspect businesses and enforce public
safety laws and codes. They may respond
to the fire scenes to determine the cause
of the fire.
Investigators generally have full police
Organizational Charts For Fire
Large and Small
Essentials of Fire Fighting 4th edition, edited by Richard
Hall and Barbara Adams. (ISBN 087939149-9)
Fundamentals of Fire Fighter Skills, Jones and Bartlett
Publishing. (ISBN 0-7637-3454-3)
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