Becoming a firefighter entails much more than simply knowing the mechanics of firefighting. The fire service is rich with tradition and has developed into a sophisticated and varied profession. The fire service uses a paramilitary hierarchical command structure to ensure its mission fulfillment. A system of general guidelines and specific standard operating procedures (SOPs) helps ensure a consistent approach to dealing with the various emergencies a fire department may be called on to handle. It is the responsibility of the firefighter to know these guidelines and procedures, the command structure, and the history of the fire service because all these factors affect the way a fire department operates and the role of the individual firefighter. This chapter gives firefighter students an orientation to the roles and responsibilities of a firefighter and the guidelines they must follow.
After students complete this chapter and the related course work, they will be able to discuss the history of the fire service and describe the basic principles of organization of the fire department. Students will also understand the various roles within the fire department, and they will be able to describe fire department regulations, policies, and SOPs.
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