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How do I Become a Fire Commissioner?

Patrick Roland
Patrick Roland

Being a fire commissioner is not unlike being the head of a company; you oversee many smaller departments and plan its future. If you want to become a fire commissioner, you will need expertise in firefighting and sharp organizational abilities. There are a variety of ways to to build the necessary skills and talents to succeed in this job, including through education and through experience working in a fire department.

The requirements to become a fire commissioner differ from country to country and even district to district. Some commissioners are in charge of a certain geographic region, others an entire city and still more, such as in the United States, can control an entire state's fire department. An advanced degree, such as a bachelor's degree or master's degree, is helpful but not essential for most of these jobs. One aspect that is crucial is an understanding of the fire department structure, the daily responsibilities of a firefighter and the challenges to the job. The best way to get the necessary experience is by working your way up through the various positions in a fire department.

Man holding computer
Man holding computer

One responsibility that you must master, in addition to firefighting knowledge, is organization. You will oversee an entire department and are responsible for coordinating the chiefs and the firefighters to ensure that every area is sufficiently staffed in case of emergency. You also must be able to set goals for the fire department and often work with a committee to set them.

Fireman safety is another area of concern that you must address if you become a fire commissioner. Putting out blazes is a dangerous job, and you must set rules and create policies that will help keep firefighters safe. This often involves reviewing everything from daily procedures to revising the fire code.

You also must have a strong sense of numbers and economics if you want to become a fire commissioner. You will be in charge of setting the budget for the fire department or departments, if you control multiple locations. This means understanding how much money is coming in from the government, what the yearly expenses are for the department and what are appropriate uses for the money.

Many times, if you become a fire commissioner, you will need excellent communication skills. Not only will you have to write letters and work with many people, you also will be the public face of the fire department. If statements need to be made on television and radio, the commissioner often is the one talking to reporters and answering questions.

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