This will be more for the Vol depts as your full time depts do not ask the general force(correct me if i am wrong) who they think should be, capt, lt, chief, etc.   


  What I want to know is how the selection process is made for truck and engine capts. and Lt' well as how you elect/choose  Chief and assistants?  Is there any critieria, qualifications that need to be met before someone can even THINK of being an well as any requirements on the number of calls, training, etc that they must do each year to maintain that status.


Thank you in advance,






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This will be more for the Vol depts as your full time depts do not ask the general force(correct me if i am wrong) who they think should be, capt, lt, chief, etc.

Yep, career FF's don't get a vote on who gets promoted. Either the person is promoted by a seniority based system, a testing system, or combination of both....there is no general vote and no popularity contest, which unfortunately, seems to be the case in many instances.
The answers you receive are going to be as diverse as the people that respond and the dept.'s that they belong to. That being said...

In my dept. every Dec. we elect a chief and 3 asst. chiefs. From there, the chief selects one of the 3 asst. chiefs to be deputy chief. He also elects our lieutenants and captains.

As far as qualifications...again, as diverse as the population that responds to your question. At my dept....there really isn't any set minimum training/experience standard.
The idea of elections should be abolished in the fire service of today. A competitive testing system with interviews by an unbiased panel is the only way to go. Officers are not supposed to be the guys who are the buddies of the masses. They are not meant to be the nice guy who we all like. The position of officer is to be the leader and responsible party. The idea of electing officers is ludicrous in this day and age of standards and safety issues. Where is the continuity of control? Where is the continuity of thinking? Yes, there are guys who get promoted every day that are book smart and street stupid. Yes, there are guys that are street wise and horrible test takers. But, that is why the unbiased outside group should be used.

Your officers need to be able to do their jobs without the fear of upsetting the masses and not getting re-elected on an annual basis. However, there also needs to be a system to remove ineffective officers.

This is 2010; it is time to get with the times. This is no longer the Old Boys, get drunk and fight fires club. This is the fire service and we are here to make sure that all of our people go home at the end of the day.

There will be the excuses of cost of the process, that is just an excuse as well. Make an agreement with neighboring departments and swap services. Use volunteers from the community to sit on the interview committee as well. Make a test yourself. Yes, you can use a testing service, but you don’t have to.
2 nights of nomination then we vote. we have a meeting every other week
We have nominations in February and elections in March. We elect officers every 2 years.
Use the search engine, this has been posted and debated many times
There are a lot of "Red helmets" in our district that were from the "good ol' boy" days...some of those people have no business being in those positions, but none the less! Today our upper "brass" are re-evaluating the need for testing to advance. You should be able to complete/do/know certain things/tasks before given the responsibility of Lt, Captain, etc. I agree with this approach....don't advance people just because they've been on the Dept for "X" amount of years, or because they know somebody that knows it because they are qualified, it's our safety out there.
We have a list of qualifications for Captains. Our Chief then selects several of these candiates. These names are presented to the members every other year. The members then vote who should be the captains.

We changed our rules to have station captains rather than apparatus captains. We have two stations, one with our squad, Class A pumper and mini pumper. The other station has two Class A pumpers.

Our Chief is nominated and elected by the members. The chief serves for as long as they want. The chief selects the assistant cheifs (just two) and they serve for as long as they want also.
Thanks FETC....will admit I forgot about looking last night but was in a rather bad mood.

Thanks guys, all of you have posted very good thoughts and are very right about this not just being the "GOOD OL BOYS" anymore, this is serious stuff and the men and women, young or old, who put forth the effort to train and to show up each night and have the leadership traits need to be who is wearing the white, yellow or red helmets. By-laws must be followed and if they are not then you shall be treated accordingly.

Thank you for your comments...been a rough day after pretty much single handed running a truck for over a year(at practice, etc, and making more calls than anyone else on the truck combined) and to be snubed out by a few guys that just thought they would "LIKE" to be an officer(one who made less than 10% of ALL practices in the past TWO years.).
Ok... so maybe I don't know a lot about how volunteer fire departments work. I had no idea that folks here on the FFN with company and chief officer ranks were literally voted to a position unlike myself who had to take a ton of classes and compete against a lot of other very qualified candidates. Life is not always fair...

I do have a reasonable question for volunteers... if folks can get 'elected' to an officer position, do they at least have to have the associated company and/or chief officer training completed that includes taking a test to ensure that the individual has learned the materials and received state certification?

I waited 20 years working all the jobs from the bottom up, learning the trade before getting a red helmet. I just felt that it would be unfair to both my crew and the public if I wasn't totally prepared to do the job. This has been my mindset for decades. Now I learn that folks don't have to jump through the same hoops I did...

How on earth can you elect someone without having it turn into a popularity contest verses the most qualified candidate?


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