Firefighter Ranks

richard_mcmunn_entrepreneurFire fighters work in a series of different capacities for the purpose of preventing fires, stopping fires, and saving lives. Firefighters have a duty to serve and protect people and property from fire, but also other dangers. In this career position a person will assist with emergency support, provide education and also advice on fire prevention measures.

Main Duties

  • As a fire fighter a person is expected to control and put fires out.
  • Handle bomb alerts such as being front line support to keep people out of a building or area, as well as to help with evacuation.
  • Rescue victims in a fire, accident, or other situation.
  • Manage hazardous chemical or substance spills.
  • Holding presentations for community and school groups for education purposes, inspecting buildings for fire safety, and advising construction professionals on fire safety during the building process are three other duties of a fire fighter.
  • Those in a senior ranking will have administrative duties versus those in a lower rank who will have station duties like inspecting, maintaining, and cleaning equipment, taking part in practice drills and training.

Rankings for Fire Departments

  • Fire fighter- this ranking is for day to day fire fighting and fire safety. A person in this rank enters as a trainee who gains experience from fire fighters of higher ranking. This position often helps support the team member in charge at a fire, rescue, or other situation. Pay is usually £21,000 to £28,500. The higher pay is only offered after probation is over and the person has been on the department more than a year.
  • Leading fire fighter- in charge of crew, day to day work, and can also take charge of incidents involving 3 pumping appliances. In other words this person can handle three pump trucks at a scene. The leading fire fighter is a crew manager thus income increases slightly to £29,000 and up to £31,000, commiserate of experience.
  • Sub officer- a person of this rank watches small fire stations or handles crew of fire appliances, supports day to day work, and attend incidents as an officer in charge. This rank can command up to 3 pumping appliances, also specialist duties like training or fire safety are a part of the Sub Officer’s duties. A person of this rank holds the title of watch manager A and thus a slightly higher income of crew managers at £31,000 to £34,000.
  • Station Officer or Watch Manager B- is in charge of larger stations, day to day work, junior policy work, and undertake special duties. Station officers are in charge of incidents with 6 pumps or work on special tasks to support an incident. Pay is the same as the sub officer although experience can determine a higher salary within the range of £31,000 and £34,000.
  • Assistant divisional officer or station manager- handles management of station and/or day to day work for a policy area. Like the station officer this person can work with up to 6 pumps or on specialist tasks offering support. Salary is slightly higher than a station officer since this ranking takes on a few more duties in administration and command of station personnel. Salary ranges between £36,000 and £40,000.
  • Divisional Officer or Group Manager- runs a group of fire stations or day to day work in a policy area. The amount of crew and stations to manage is based on the area. A divisional officer in a metropolitan area would deal with one location, but often more crew. This person can work up to 9 pumps as well as take on special tasks. Salary is £41,000 to £53,000.
  • Senior Divisional Officer or area manager- this ranking is just above Divisional Officer so duties are nearly the same; however, day to day management of fire brigade operations or policy area is a main position for this person. Again up to 9 pumps or special tasks can be a part of the duties. Salary is in the same range of Divisional Officers £41,000 to £53,000.
  • Assistant Chief Fire Officer or Brigade Manager- an ACFO has strategic responsibility for directorates, takes charge of 10 pumps or more, and runs the crew in a mostly administrative capacity rather than being on at fires. Although different resources say up to £40,000 a year is all fire fighters make other sites agree that £41,000 to £53,000 is the range of income for upper level management in the departments.
  • Deputy Chief Fire Officer or Brigade Manager– the Deputy CFO duties are much like an assistant CFO; however, when the Chief Fire Officer is gone the DCFO will take over the duties of being the head of the organisation making decisions. Strategic responsibility for directorates, 10 pumps or more; overseeing staff members are all a part of the DCFO responsibilities. Again the salary is between £41,000 and £53,000 for most DCFOs.
  • Chief Fire Officer or Chief Brigade Manager– is the head of the organization working primarily as a public figure and in charge of administrative duties for UK fire departments. If on site at a fire this person can handle 10 pumps or more. Salary is typically on the higher end of the scale: £41,000- £53,000.

Income Overview

Income starts at £21,000 for the first year and can reach £53,000 depending on the borough, area, or metropolitan location. Fire fighters also earn a fee between £2,100 and £2,800 per year. This is for retained personnel.

Underwater Search and Recovery Diving Units

Fire fighters are not only responsible for taking care of fires, but other dangers, which can include a specialised unit a fire fighter can train for. The Underwater Search and Recovery Diving Units are part of the fire department, but require speciality training to be a scuba diver. This unit specifically handles water related accidents such as boat, ship, or car accidents that might involve water. Rescue divers can also help with water rescues such as drowning or recovery of victims in water. Pay is similar to fire fighters (£21,000 to £28,000) and in most boroughs that have a search and recovery dive unit, the gear is kept at fire departments rather than as a police diving unit.