Florida Firefighter Ranks
For most people in virtually any profession, one career goal is to advance in your chosen field.
Promotions and advancements fore firefighters typically correspond with an increased rate of pay, more responsibility and control over your work and workplace, opportunities for acknowledgement of your hard work from the higher-ups, and a general sense of accomplishment in the career field you have chosen. Climbing the ranks takes a lot of work: You will likely have to continue your education either on the job or off, show your supervisors how skilled and responsible you are, and continue to display promise and efficiency day after day, year after year. In the firefighter ranks, promotions come to those who work hard and show dedication to the work. For aspiring career firefighters, it helps to understand the roles and responsibilities of each rank in order to prepare yourself to level up throughout your career. These are the ranks Florida firefighters can aspire to acquire at work.
- Probationary firefighter: Also nicknamed “probies,” these are firefighter candidates who must complete training and on-the-job evaluation. After six to 12 months, these candidates can be sworn in as firefighters.
- Firefighter: This is the base level of professional firefighter achieved after a successful probationary period.
- Lieutenant: Aside from the same call-response and rig maintenance responsibilities of firefighters, fire lieutenants may also be responsible for part of candidate training, daily firehouse operations, fire escape map-making, and other duties. In the absence of the captain, lieutenants may stand in as acting captains.
- Captain: This firefighter is the highest-ranking on-scene responder, responsible for directing on-scene operations and overseeing station operations as well. This role requires superior management skills and the ability to lead and administrate.
- Battalion chief: Battalion chiefs oversee administrative tasks like all employee scheduling and ensuring the firehouse is equipped for each shift. This position is typically staffed 24/7, so fire departments often have three rotating battalion chiefs.
- Assistant chief: A right-hand to the fire chief, the assistant helps to ensure quality in operations and personnel issues. They also help the chief with matters such as budgets, community and department programming, training structures, and managing the success of the fire department.
- Fire chief: This individual is the highest-ranking in the fire department organization. They work with city officials and other teams including EMS and search and rescue to create a safer community. They oversee all operations and roles inside the department.