Part of Lesson Plan: Chain of Command
Activity Overview / Details
The Fire Service is successful because of a defineable and recognizable chain of command. While this chain of command may differ from fire district to fire district, the basic premise remains the same.
Chain of Command: Order of Rank and authority in the fire service.
Within the Chain of Command there sre several basic principles, they are:
Unity of Command: Reporting to only one supervisor maintains lines of authority and responsibility from the top down. With the Fire Chief bing the ultimate boss, everyone reports to the fire chief through the chain of command.
Span of Control: Keeping staff within managable levels is important from both an organizational standpoint as well as a safety standpoint. The fire service uses a "rule of thumb" when describing span of control. This rule states that the ideal of span of control is one supervisor to every five firefighters. This can also be applied with equipment such as one chief officer for every five apparatus.
Division of Labor: This is the process of dividing large jobs into smaller ones to make them more manageable. This allows the utilization of all personnel to make a large workload more reasonable. Division of labor is necessary to assign responsibility, prevent duplication, and to make clear cut assignments.
Disciplline: discipline is the glue that keeps the chain of command in tact. Without discipline, there would be chaos. Discipline sets the boundries for performance through the use of rules, or regulations. Ultimately there needs to be definable acceptable performance and desired outcomes. While discipline often times is considered as being negative, each individual must exercise self disciple. In other words, firefighters must always do the right thing.
By recognizing and using the chain of command, it allows fire service personnel to be successful in all aspects of the job. From day to day operations as well as emergency situations, the chain of command must always be used.