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Date: November 07, 2014 Author: Brandon Winters

A chief fire officer plays an essential role in the administrative structure of his or her department. If becoming a chief officer is one of your career goals, it is important to have a firm understanding of chief fire officer responsibilities. Unlike firefighters, whose duties consist of combating fires and helping evacuees to safety, chief officers have additional duties within the department and beyond. Below is a basic list of the job functions that chief fire officers can expect to perform.

Human Resources Management

A chief fire officer works with his or her department’s human resources staff to help manage staffing-related needs. Because many chief fire officers start their career as firefighters in the field, they possess a valuable insight into the number of firefighters that should be deployed to particular types of fires, as well as how they should be managed at burn sites. Chief fire officers may also participate in human resources management by conducting job interviews.     

Community Relations

A chief fire officer is also responsible for upholding a fire department’s relationship with the community. This can be done is several ways, such as holding charity events, speaking with the media, and having a business website that allows people to make recommendations and voice concerns. When it comes to community relations, chief fire officers are the face of the fire department. This aspect of the job requires them to be especially skillful at responding to community issues.

Government Relations

Another key factor in chief fire officer responsibilities is the duty to uphold a fire department’s relationship with government entities at the local, state, and national levels. Because a good relationship with government entities can provide a fire department with the leverage it needs to lobby for grants and relevant legislation changes, chief fire officers must continually nurture the relationship between their department and any governing organizations.    

Fire Department Programs

In addition the duties outlined above, a chief fire officer is also responsible for developing programs that benefit the department and the municipality it serves. Programs that chief officers create, implement, and oversee include: fire safety programs for firefighters and the public, life safety programs for firefighters, and administrative programs that benefit the department. The ability to develop and implement these programs is a skill that all chief officers need.

Emergency Services Delivery

Chief fire officers also oversee the delivery of emergency services to accident scenes and burn  sites. Additional functions that pertain to this responsibility can include logistics planning, fire equipment maintenance scheduling, and ensuring that the department is staffed to deliver the quickest response time to burn sites and accident scenes. Working to improve emergency services delivery is essential for maintaining a fire department’s relationship with the public.  

Start Learning Today

If you aspire to become a chief fire officer, it is important to have a comprehensive study resource that focuses on the responsibilities of the position, such as Chief Fire Officer, 2nd Edition. Available in the Firebooks online store, this text helps firefighters learn the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in this position. To order your copy of this comprehensive study resource, or for information about additional materials, visit our online store today or give us a call at (800) 727-3327.

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