Volunteer Firefighter as Initial Incident Commander

Issue 5 and Volume 160.

The dynamics of a volunteer fire department blend people with diverse levels of educations, careers, talents, and backgrounds together at a moment’s notice. Within this mix may be members who don’t want to be fire service leaders. Although they may be supervisors or managers at their full-time jobs, they do not want this responsibility at the fire department. Others who have served in fire service leadership situations may have realized they don’t possess the necessary skills and thus avoid the role. Some volunteer firefighters who may have never supervised anyone have however observed good leaders in action and consequently decided that leadership is not for them. Nevertheless, still other members may feel more confident when forced to assume the role of incident commander (IC). ANXIOUS MOMENTS AND UNANSWERED QUESTIONS Regardless of the circumstance that places a firefighter in the officer’s seat of the first-arriving apparatus, the first few minutes after…

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