Chief Qualifications

Issue 8 and Volume 161.

Question: In Europe, it is not unusual for fire chiefs to have PhDs. Given that some fire chiefs in the United States run very large organizations, is it acceptable to have a fire chief who has only a high school diploma? What should be the level of education for U.S. fire chiefs? Every individual, LIKE every situation, is unique. In many areas of the fire service, one size does not fit all. For example, there are 1,000-, 1,250-, and 1,500-gpm engines; 1½-, 1¾-, 2-, and 2½-inch attack lines; and smooth-bore and combination nozzles. Think of the different sizes of ground ladders an aerial carries. It’s hard to make hard-and-fast rules for the fire service as well. A variation of tools provides for better fireground evolutions. Different management principles and leadership styles are needed in different situations. Again, one size does not fit all. So, should specific standards and qualifications be…

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