The county where I have volunteered since the 70s has a combination service of career and volunteer personnel.

In the 70s the ranking career officer in a engine company was a Sergeant. A Lieutenant or Captain was in charge of a company that had a truck or heavy squad. A Captain was at that time a Battalion Officer.

Years later changes came where the rank of Sgt. was dropped and Lt. and Capt. were placed in stations.

Battalion Chiefs replaced Capts. as Battalion Officer.

Safety Officers and EMS Officers are another position out in the field.

The County Fire Chief has control over career and volunteers and has staff of officers and their staff which control certain operations.

Volunteers are independent corporations which have a Chief down to Sgt. as line officers followed by administrative officers which can act as line officers. Engineer, Fire Marshal, Property Officer were used in my dept.

Most corps have a administrative side from President to Trustee (In my dept. we use Member At Large).

I was just wondering how other career and vol. depts. have their line officers organized?  

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We have a Chief & 2 asst. Chiefs. 1 Captain 2 lieutenants  a fire police Captain. We have 5 of us trained for safety officers. On the administrative side we have a President 1st & 2nd vice president. A 3 member board of trustees a secretary and a treasurer. Our county also has 8 county coordinators. 

We are all volunteer and have a chief, an assistant chief, one captain, two lieutenants and one safety officer. On the admin side we have a secretary/treasurer.

My department has about 2000 people in it so we have quite a few ranks.

Fire Chief

Assistant Chief(Ops, Services, Medical Director, EMS)

Deputy Chief(Ops, Training, several other positions)  There is one Deputy of Operations assigned to each of the four platoons.  He is located at the house of Engine 2/Rescue 1/Medic 2.  He responds to most confirmed working fires or larger incidents.

Battalion Chief(One Battalion Chief per battalion on each platoon.  We have Battalions 1-6 and Special Ops.  Then there's Battalion Chiefs assigned to places like the Training Academy, Fire Marshall's office, Prevention, etc.)

Captain(One is assigned to each engine, truck and rescue company.  It varies which platoon they are on.)

Lieutenant(One is assigned to each engine, truck and rescue company for each platoon except for the one already staffed by a Captain.)

Sergeant(One is assigned to each truck and rescue company on every platoon.  These guys usually float around the department.  If an officer is on leave for something a Sergeant will be detailed to fill that vacancy.  Usually they stay in their battalion but they can be detailed department wide.)

Technician(One assigned to each engine and rescue on every platoon. Two assigned to each truck on every platoon.  Trucks on driver and tiller man. Privates from that company will fill in when needed.)

Private(Two ride on each engine for a total of four people including the driver and officer.  Two on each truck for a total of five.  Three on each rescue for a total of five.)

Probationer(Someone in their first 18 months who hasn't passed their final probation test but has already graduated from rookie school.)

Recruit(Has not yet graduated from rookie school.  Usually about six months.  Monday-Friday 7am-3pm)

We are a Combination paid/paid on call department we currently have

paid staff

1 chief

1 asst chief

2 deputy chiefs

 (training and Fire Marshall)

paid on call

1 deputy chief

1 battalion cheif

1 captian

6 Lts

and a handfull of qualified crew leaders that can fill in for any of the paid on call officers.


1/ Chief 1/ Deputy Chief 1/ Captain 1/ Lieutenant

small volunteer department so we have:

OPS side                                                  Business Side                     Relief Side

Chief                                                         President                            President

Assistant Chief                                          Vice President                    Vice President

Captain                                                     Secretary                           Secretary

Lieutenant                                                 Treasurer                            Treasurer

Safety Officer (appointed)

PA does funding a little differently than most: the organization (Fire Dept) receives money from the town, applies for grants and loans, we also are required to have a relief association which the state funds. The relief association is very restricted on what we can spend money on (FF safety equipment) and is audited by the state every other year. Both the department and relief association have bylaws, officers, elections...etc but are legally two separate organizations.   

For the most part business side/relief association elected officers do NOT function as Operational line officers because that was not what they were elected for. Chief runs the calls and training, executive offices pay bills, manage money and  buy equipment.

We are a small Vol. dept.


Asst. Chief ( 2)

Capt. ( 2 )

Lieut. ( 2 )


Safety Ofc.



Starting at the bottom;

Firefighter (Crossed axes)

1st Class Firefighter (One Striper)

Senior Firefighter (Two stripes)

15 year Senior Firefighter (Two stripes plus a red one)

Station Officer (Two impellers) Boss of the truck.

The crew is made up of three firefighters and one station officer. There has to be at least one 1st class firefighter on the crew other than that as long as you are qualified on the appliances it doesn't matter. Obviously the more senior members the better.

If it all goes wrong a Divisional Officer will turn up (Three impellers) and that's when you know the jobs buggered.

As a small rural community running about 200-300 calls a year we are completely 100% volunteer and out ranks are:
deputy chief
assistant chief
chief engineer
(2) asst. engineer
safety officer

Also being in Pennsylvania we have fire police officers which have to officers the Fire Police Captain and Lieutenant.

On the company side of things we have a president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary, asst. secretary.

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