Leadership

Establishing and Maintaining Chain of Command at Fires

Issue 1 and Volume 134.

Establishing and Maintaining Chain of Command at Fires departments The Volunteers Corner The chain of command on the fireground is a universally accepted concept. The problem is that it is not universally kept in operation in the real world. When the chain of command breaks down, it happens in two ways: The chief in charge issues orders to fire fighters instead of to company commanders. At large fires, he may issue orders to company officers and bypass his subordinate chief officers who are nominally in charge of those companies. The chief in charge may get involved in assisting one or two companies and forget the other companies. At anything larger than a one-line fire, this is a sure way to lose control of the fireground—the chief’s most important responsibility. At a large fire, a sector chief also may do the same thing in his area and abdicate supervision of some…

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