Tactical Entertainment: Officers Pay Attention

While on the Fire Ground it is the responsibility of the Fire Officer to ensure safety of the crew. If you are an Officer and you are doing all the work while others are watching, You are simply getting Tactical Entertainment. While some Officers will disagree I ask this.† If you are doing all the work are your firefighters really learning? What kind of Culture are you creating? Use this picture as a what not to do if you are the Officer or Acting Officer.


  • Dave LeBlanc says:

    And there in lies the undiscussed problem of reduced staffing. While not an issue in this picture, what happens as an Officer when you have to change your role? When you have to be the second firefighter on the line instead of acting as the Company officer and ensuring the job is getting done.

  • firestudent1 says:

    Dave great comment. In my current role I face that problem every shift. I do my best to keep track of whats going on around me and be a solid back up man. I really don’t have an answer beyond that. We adapt and overcome.

  • anchorpoint1 says:

    Hey Dave, we can discuss that all day, and it’s a great point, and it should be brought up here. I think this post is referring to officers who want to be firefighters and get the officer pay. “Working supervisor” is the definition of a company officer, so helping should not be an issue, but pushing a firefighter aside just because you want to “get in there” is selfish and shows a lack of maturity.

  • ChiefMO says:

    I just recently had a guy from another shift working overtime at my station. He’s been with the department for almost a year (found this out later) so after breakfast we started going over the truck. Every captain has certain things they expect to happen when arriving on scene. While doing this we were banged out for an unresponsive person. While walking up the drive I asked this firefighter if he knew how to hook up the O2? He informed me that he did and asked if I needed the BVM or the NRB. ( I love when people ask things like that. How am I supposed to know, we’re not even inside yet?)
    Sure enough I needed the NRB. He performed normally. After the call he thanks me for ‘letting’ him do something. And goes on to inform me that this was his first time doing anything at a medical call. Let me back up and tell you that every member of our FD is trained to the Medical First Responder level. He goes on to say that he’s worked under two captains on his shift and both of those captains do everything at all medical calls.

    We have atleast 3 people on every single Engine. Why would I, as the captain, do everything on all medical calls? I usually don’t do anything on medical calls, much less everything. If I have to do everything, then why doesn’t everyone else just stay in the truck? If I’m doing everything then I don’t need them.

    The only thing I can figure is that captains that do things like that either don’t train with their people or they have some sort of God Complex and think that they’re the only ones that can do it right. Or they’re not comfortable being in-charge. Either way, I don’t think they’re good leaders. What are these captains going to do when they have to act Batt. Chief? I hope they’re not going to attempt all of the fire ground assignments themselves.

    If you want to get promoted, then study and get promoted. But if you do get promoted, then that’s the job you need to be doing. With staffing the way it is, every position is needed. So if there is a captain acting as a firefighter, then the crew is short on leadership. In the pic above, who is in-charge of that crew?

  • Jeff Schwering says:

    With Dave being a friend of mine and all, I can’t help but agree! With that said whether I knew Dave or not, the answer to me is simple. As Officers we are expected to act as such. If you love the nozzle that much, don’t take the test! With the manpower we are faced with occassionally a nozzle will fall into your hands. Train your folks, it’s not easy to take a step back, but you have to, that’s why you’re the Boss!

  • Dave LeBlanc says:


    We call it the DTs. (Dont Trust) When the Officer is convinced that he is the only one able to perform the skill. It is almost comical watching these type of “bosses” run around and try and do everything while the rest of everybody stands there. Almost comical…..

    Push the responsibility down. Let your people grow and you will grow with them. Learn your crews abilities. Fix the shortfalls.

    That is why they gave you the bugles….

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Marques Bush

Firefighter Basics launched in February 2009 after Founder/Editor Marques Bush was looking for a way to express himself and share his experiences with brother and sister firefighters. Shortly after founding the site Marques spoke with several trusted friends and ask them to come on board and contribute also. Firefighter Basics is a dedicated group of firefighters who strive everyday to practice what they preach about Training, Safety, and Tradition.  We can be reached at firefighterbasics@gmail.com

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