Fire Lieutenant

Serve as trusted assistant to the Fire Chief.

What does a Fire Lieutenant do?

A Fire Lieutenant works a bit like an understudy in a play. If the star of the show (the Fire Chief, in this instance) is unavailable, the Fire Lieutenant takes over for a short period of time until the Fire Chief takes the reigns once more. Because of this, holding a Fire Lieutenant job is a great way to prepare for a Fire Chief position.

Your day-to-day activities as a Fire Lieutenant depend heavily on your Fire Chief. If your Chief likes to delegate tasks, you may tackle everything from inspecting equipment to training staff to hiring and firing employees. If they don’t feel comfortable sharing the workload, you may have a task list very similar to that of a standard Firefighter. You’ll clean equipment during your off hours, and participate in community classes and outreach programs to teach people how to prevent fires.

No matter how comfortable your Fire Chief is with sharing power, there may come a time when they’re unavailable during an emergency. When this happens, you’ll be in charge until the Chief is able to take command again. You’ll lead Firefighters in putting out the fire, and direct search-and-rescue operations to help trapped victims.

You’ll write reports at the end of the incident, describing what happened and how you responded. When the Fire Chief is able to take over, you’ll bow out of command graciously and with dignity, and return to Firefighter duty immediately. You’ll learn to shift from barking commands to being barked at, almost instantaneously.