In my fire company sometimes you can see the 2nd and 3rd asst chief fighting a fire but never the chief and or asst chief fighting a fire. Mainly its the firefighters and LT, captain that are doing the majority of work at a fire. Like some have said in other post, you can learn from the chiefs.
A Fire Chief is just as much as a firefighter as any other one on the line , i have been in many situations where i have gone into calls with one of my cheifs on the line , they have the experience and training and have been elected to the postion they are in because of that
That is where you are wrong, it is the sand box the union and the chief decide. He has his work, FF have theirs. I do not get this "I like to see the Chief work". He gave that up, he is no longer a "firefighter" He is a fire chief. Two different things. You can't be the boss and the worker. Also chiefs are not gods, they do not get to decide what FF do. NFPA, OSHA, state safety standards, labor rules, union contracts, city council, the constitution and many other things decide what happens at the fire department. It is not the chiefs sandbox, he is the boss, yes. But he is not a worker.
This is pretty much how my department is. The chief, if he is on scene (which happens less than it should), always stays in command, while the grunts and Assistant Chiefs run all interior attack and hose work. Often times, however, our county will send at least one truck from all the neighboring departments to help, giving if the chief wanted, a chance to go in.
I don't believe it's the wisest move. I am doing some private research in relation to fire management here in Australia, after a large wildfire killed 173 people late last year. My finding to date indicate that seems to be a trend by Fire and other emergency services to appoint senior staff for their administration ability more then their operational ability. It seems that many senior staff can TALK THE TALK BUT CARN'T WALK THE WALK. Their seems also to be a trend that Senior Officers attend Training sessions to get the qualification (get the piece of paper) but either never use that qualification or believe that they will never use the qualification so immediately forget what they were taught. My research is in conjunction to an area known as "Left or Right Thinking" and it appears left brain thinkers may be a majority in Senior Emergency Manahement (unable to think outside the square, must follow the book section and verse, and to bussy getting tied up with the WHAT IF'S to actually get on with the job. IC no matter what their rank is need to have a degree of flexability and operational knowledge pass that written in training books. Chief, Commissioners, Managers or what ever they are called seem to have either lost that edge or never had it in the first place.