The First-Due Fire Officer

On the most recent edition of Taking it to the StreetsTM we had a vibrant and insightful program in which we discussion some of the expansive facets related to the First-Due Officer. The discussion revolved around a variety of functional elements, traits, responsibilities and duties befalling the First-Due Officer.

Taking it to the Streets: The First-Due Officer

On Your Street, In Your City, Across the Country, Around the WorldTM
To listen or download the program, HERE

Regardless if you’re the First-Due Company Officer or the First-Due Commanding Officer, you have a tremendous level of responsibilities and the obligation to formulate and initiate immediate actions that require effective and efficient; identification, assessment, analysis and integration in the evolving fireground environment.

Or is it just; “pullin’ the line”, or “opening up” or “arriving on scene and assuming the command?”

The First-Due Officer has many facets, functions and pitfalls. Leadership, determination, fortitude, skills, resilience, strength, conviction, temperance, restraint and the courage to be safe are but a few of descriptors that define the role or could it be recklessness, ineptitude, incompetent, self-indulging, careless or dangerous: all in the name of tactical entertainment.

There are numerous avenues that a discussion can take when talking about the street level issues affecting the First-Due Officer. First and foremost, the First-Due Officer should have a solid foundation of requisite skill sets, knowledge and training tempered with experience and fortified with empathy and identification with crew and company integrity and safety. 

Today’s First-Due Officer must perform smarter with increased perceptions, discernments and acumens with intelligence and wisdom that is drawn from further progressing and collective fire ground response and operational experiences. It’s no longer just brute force and physical determination that defines our fire ground operations, especially when we relate to the duties and responsibilities of the First-Due Officer.  

Here are some things to think about today at the station, around the kitchen table or over a cup of coffee in the day room after your next alarm;

What defines the First Due Officer in your organization or company?

What effect and consequences does the First Due Officer have on Incident Operations?

  • Is the First Due Officer defined by the level of aggressiveness they select and implement in their IAP on a consistent basis?
  • Is there a correlation and parallel between Risk Management, Building Construction, Firefighter Survival and Aggressive Intervention that the First Due Officer must balance?

What is the Role of the First Due Officer?

  • Strategic, Tactical or Task level Operations?
  • Can they truly perform all of the functional facets required or implied by current fire ground operational models and practices?
  • Can Risk Management really be implemented by the First-Due Officer? Is it being done in organization or company? Or is it just getting the “job done”?
  • Company Level Crew Integrity and Safety & Survival
  • Maintaining Fluid Situational Awareness
  • Evolving and Expanding Operational Concerns
  • Company Integrity
  • Having Appropriate Technical Competencies, Knowledge and Skill Sets
  • Confidence Experience and Operational Fortitude
  • Abilities to Predict & Maintain; Focus, Forecast,
  • Command & Leadership Presence in Strategic and/or Tactical deployments and Assignments

If you are an emerging, aspiring or seasoned Company or Command Officer;

  • What are your First-Due Strategic or Tactical Decisions Based Upon?
  • What is the Sum of your Experiences and Training?
  • What Factors formulate your Risk Assessment Process & Action Planning?
  • What is the Basis of your Decision-Making Process?
  • What Do you really Know, Assume or Consider in the Buildings, Occupancies, Events & Incidents you interface with?
  • Do “Fire Service Traditional Expectations” Cloud your Ability to “SEE” the Big Picture?
  • What Defines you:
    • Aggressive, Forceful, Dynamic, Influential, Passive, Conservative, Decisive, Measured,    
    • Leadership, Determination, Fortitude, Skilled, Resilience, Strength, Conviction, temperance, restraint and the courage to be safe  
    • Reckless, Inept, Incompetent, Self-indulging, Careless, Uncontrolled or Dangerous
  • Are your deployments and operations Delineated in the name of Tactical Entertainment or Defined by Tactical Patience?

Remember this; It’s not the uniform, rank or helmet color that defines a person; it’s what you do that defines who you are.

  • We must have the fortitude and courage to be both safety conscious and measured in the performance of our sworn duties while maintaining the appropriate balance of risk and bravery.
  • The demands and requirements of modern firefighting will continue to require the placement of personnel within situations and buildings that carry risk, uncertainty and inherent danger.
  • Adequately and Effectively Prepare yourself for those First-Due Officer responsibilities; you have a tremendous level of responsibilities and obligations, Be all you can be, your companies an personnel are counting on you.   

Check out the latest downloads of recent programs in the archives by visiting Taking it to the Street’s webpage on or for program insights at

Taking it to the Streets Radio Program, HERE and HERE

Taking it to the StreetsTM is a monthly radio show featured on BlogTalk Radio and is hosted by Christopher Naum and is a Series and Production,  © 2010 All Rights Reserved

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *