Fire chief's vehicle

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San Diego Fire Chief SUV


A fire chief's vehicle, also called a "chief unit" or a "fire chief's car", "Fly Car", "Fly Vehicle", a "fire car", or sometimes even called a "Buggy" (a throw back to horse drawn days), is a car, truck, or SUV that is used by a fire chief at fire scenes. Its specialized markings clearly indicate the Chief's rank, often making it a focal point at a large emergency scene.

1st Fire Chief of the paid department of Houston firefighters, 1896

In the United States fire chiefs' cars tend to be very similar to police cars and are equipped with the same variants: (lightbars or light beacons, sirens, long-range and short-range radio antennas, bumper guards, communications systems, specialized engines, special equipment, etc.). Many fire departments in the United States use modified SUVs as their chief response vehicle. The large cargo area in the rear can be outfitted with radios, manuals, whiteboards, reference materials and other items which aid the incident commander in managing the incident resources. Fire Marshals also use very similar vehicles. Each fire chief's vehicle can be driven/operated by an assistant to the Fire Chief, Deputy Chief, Division Chief or Battalion Chief known as a Chief's Driver, Chief's Aide, Chief's Operator, or Incident Support Specialist. Some cars are not operated by assistants.

In most other countries, fire chiefs are rarely assigned their own marked vehicles, but instead use unmarked vehicles.

Other sedans and small emergency vehicles belonging to a fire service are used by battalion chiefs, public information officers, building inspectors, first responders, safety educators, chaplains, and fire police.

In the United Kingdom, the Station Managers car (Fire Chief) is usually unmarked and personally owned by the Manager. The car will be fitted out with the necessary equipment such as blue lights and sirens.


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