The position of a fire chief is the topmost rank in the fire department. A fire chief is a person who has garnered experience and acquired training and education to advance the ranks in the department. The fire chief works with emergency response leaders of other departments to rescue people, coordinate fire control, clean hazardous material, and play a significant role in offering medical treatments to limit the danger, damage, and loss.
Here’s a comprehensive job profile of a fire chief.
Scope of The Position
A fire chief is supposed to report to the mayor. A fire chief’s duties entail directing all the activities in the fire department. The fire chief is responsible for directing and training volunteer firefighters to ensure they’re ready to respond to an emergency. Their job makes them responsible for ensuring the working order of the firefighting equipment. A fire chief develops all procedures and policies that concern the firefighting department in accordance with the municipal ordinances. A fire chief plays a significant role in preventing and reducing unnecessary injury, property destruction, and loss of life.
Responsibilities of a Fire Chief
Besides formulating, evaluating, and executing all policies and procedures according to municipal ordinances and federal and state laws, the primary responsibilities of a fire chief include:
- Establishing proper firefighting techniques
- Planning firefighting strategies
- Coordinating with ECR (Emergency Response Committee)
- Ensuring strict adherence to firefighting procedures and policies
- Suggesting changes to the by-laws of firefighting
- Hiring, training, and supervising volunteer firefighters to ensure that they’ve got adequate training in case an event of a big fire arises.
- Recruiting and orienting volunteer firefighters
- Ensuring high morale among firefighters
- Facilitating training of volunteer firefighters
- Conducting performance evaluations of firefighters
- Disciplining and/or dismissing firefighters if required
- Examining the firefighting equipment to ensure that appropriate and adequate equipment is present as required.
- Inspecting the firetruck regularly
- Inspecting firefighting apparatus and equipment regularly
- Recommending the repair and/or replacement of equipment
- Inspecting the offices to ensure regulatory compliance
- Managing events of fire to ensure an effective, safe, and controlled response.
- Ensuring that robust control and command techniques are implemented in case of a fire.
- Directing all the activities at the fire scene.
- Ensuring that firefighters are responsive in an appropriate and safe manner
- Investigating the reason for the fire
- Completing all administrative tasks when required.
- Maintaining records on fire incidence, property loss, and injuries.
- Monitoring the budget of the firefighting department
- Implementing education programs about fire prevention
Knowledge, Skills, and Personal Attributes of a Fire Chief
A fire chief should have competent knowledge in these areas:
- Knowledge of methods and techniques of firefighting
- Expertise in techniques of command and control
- Knowledge of evidence gathering and fire investigation techniques
- Command over training programs for firefighters
- Awareness of training methods and techniques
- Experience in public awareness and education programs
- Knowledge of theories and methods of public safety theories
- Command over techniques of emergency response
- Knowledge about emergency first aid, emergency procedures, and CPR
- Experience in volunteer training and development
A fire chief should demonstrate these skills:
- Leadership skills that include an ability to command the fire scene
- Problem-solving and analytical skills
- Decision-making skills
- Negotiations skills
- Impactful listening and verbal communications skills
- Impressive written communication skills that include an ability to draft business documents, reports, and correspondence
- Effective public speaking and public relations skills
- Experience in program development and research
- Stress-management skills
- Time-management skills
A fire chief should demonstrate these personal attributes:
- Preserve standards of conduct
- Be respectful
- Possess sensitivity and cultural awareness
- Be flexible
- Show strong work ethics.
- Be fair and consistent.
- A fire chief takes part in exhausting and physically draining activities like managing and controlling a fire scene, taking part in emergency response situations, and getting involved in situations that pose a danger to themselves.
- The fire chief must be strong enough to carry firefighting equipment when climbing ladders and running through the buildings to rescue people. Because of their work, fire chiefs are exposed to extreme conditions, moisture, and noxious fumes and smoke that may impact their overall health.
- A fire chief works under continuous stress. They have to manage several projects simultaneously and get frequently interrupted to meet the residents’ requests and needs.
- A fire chief is usually exposed to dangerous, noisy, and busy environments. That’s why they need tremendous stress, organizational, and time management skills to finish all their tasks.
- Continuous fire and smoke exposure can negatively impact every sense of the fire chief, including touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing.
- A fire chief requires high concentration levels when dealing with a fire incident.
- A fire chief is regularly exposed to extreme levels of emotional and mental stress because they have so many lives to save on a daily basis.
- Hold a GED or high school diploma
- Possess at least seven years of verifiable or paid volunteer experience being a firefighter, which includes around three years of experience as a superior officer like a Captain, Lieutenant, or Deputy Chief.
- Should be a certified Fire Officer I and Fire Fighter II through the NYPD
- Should have a certificate in EMT as at least a first responder
- Should hold a valid NYS Driver’s License
- Should reside within a 10-mile radius of New York’s city’s limits.
- Should pass the drug screen and background check.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, fire chiefs’ job projection is supposed to increase by 7% between the decade 2018 and 2028. The bureau noted that a fire chief’s average annual salary is $80,310.
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