A fire official has three areas of responsibility: conduct safety inspections, conduct fire safety audits, and supervise fire departments. He or she is usually a fully training firefighter who has taken additional courses to become a fire official. All fire officials have a minimum of 10 years' experience working as a firefighter in a wide range of situations. They perform an important administrative and management function, and are not typically involved in the first response to a situation.
A fire official typically works for the fire department or the fire safety office of a large company or public institution. Many school boards and large hospitals have their own fire safety departments. Personal safety is a very high priority, and this is the primary role of the fire official. It is very important to maintain strict vigilance surrounding fire safety, as people become complacent.
People who enjoy working with others, are personally committed to safety and naturally outgoing report the greatest satisfaction as a fire official. As a fire official, you will meet with clients, other emergency services management, and organizational management. The ability to interact with others while communicating clearly and effectively is very important.
A personal commitment to safety and high standards are very important in this job. This type of job is not suitable for anyone who needs public recognition. The most effective fire officials work hard to minimize the number of calls in their district.
The fire official’s primary role is one of safety. Although the details vary, all states have laws regarding the frequency of fire safety inspections and drills, the annual testing of the firefighters, and the exact items that are the responsibility of the fire official. The purpose of all this legislation is to increase fire safety awareness, reduce the number of actual fires, and prevent unnecessary deaths.
Fire safety audits are conducted by fire officials. They can arrive unannounced at a workplace or public institution and review the fire drill, inspect the site for proper signage, fire extinguishers, and ensure that all fire exits are accessible. Any problems found with the site are documented in a report and provided to the company for immediate correction.
Many fire departments use fire officials as station supervisors or area chiefs. They are responsible for ensuring that their staff is fully qualified, able to meet the requirements of the job, and are performing their duties as expected. They represent a senior level of management and are often responsible for disciplinary action, if required.