||This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2011)|
A firefighter douses a fire during a drill. He is equipped with a fire hose with fog nozzle, breathing apparatus, helmet and full structural firefighting kit.
|Activity sectors||rescue, fire protection, civil service, public service, public safety|
Firefighters are rescuers extensively trained in firefighting, primarily to extinguish hazardous fires that threaten property and civilian or natural populations and to rescue people from dangerous situations, like collapsed or burning buildings
The complexity of modern industrialized life with a greater prominence of hazards has created an increase in the skills needed in firefighting technology and a broadening of the firefighter-rescuer's remit. They sometimes provide emergency medical services, for example. The fire service, or fire and rescue service, also known in some countries as the fire brigade or fire department, is one of the main emergency services. Firefighting and firefighters have become ubiquitous around the world, from wildland areas to urban areas, and aboard ships.
According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, the English word "firefighter" has been used since 1903. In recent decades it has become the preferred term, replacing the older "fireman", since many women serve as firefighters, and also because the term "fireman" can have other meanings, including someone who sets or stokes fires – the opposite of the firefighting role.
In many countries, firefighters may be employed as full-time workers and paid a salary. Additionally, there are volunteer firefighters (who are theoretically unpaid) and retained firefighters (or auxiliary firefighters, who are paid for the specific time they are on duty, i.e. permanent part-time career firefighters) on call as required. In such countries as the United Kingdom, the use of additional retained firefighters is standard. In Portugal, for example, the use of volunteer firefighters is standard, along with career firefighters. In Australia there are volunteer brigades which are mostly unpaid rural services, although traditionally they are paid by their employers if called out during usual working hours.
Goals of firefighting 
||It has been suggested that this article be merged into firefighting. (Discuss) Proposed since September 2012.|
The goals of firefighting are (in order of priority): personal safety, saving victims' lives, saving property, and protecting the environment. As such, the skills required for safe operations are regularly practiced during training evaluations throughout a firefighter's career. In the United States, the preeminent fire training and standards organization is the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Often initial firefighting skills are taught during a local, regional, or state approved fire academy. Depending on the requirements of a department, additional skills and certifications such as technical rescue and Para-medicine may also be taught at this time. The acronym for the priorities of the firefighters is RECEO.
Firefighters work closely with other emergency response agencies, most particularly local and state police departments. As every fire scene is technically a crime scene until deemed otherwise by a qualified investigator, there is often overlap between the responsibilities of responding firefighters and police officers such as evidence and scene protection, initial observations of first respondents, and chain of evidence issues. The increasing role of firefighters in providing emergency medical services also brings firefighters into common overlap with law enforcement. One example of this is a common state law requiring all gunshot wounds to be reported to law enforcement agencies.
Fire fighting has some basic skills: prevention, self-preservation, rescue, preservation of property, and fire control. Firefighting is further broken down into skills which include size-up, extinguishing, ventilation, salvage and overhaul. Wildland firefighting includes size up, containment, extiguishment, and mop up. Search and Rescue, which has already been mentioned, is performed early in any fire scenario and many times is in unison with extinguishing and ventilation.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (March 2009)|
Prevention attempts to ensure that no place simultaneously has sufficient heat, fuel and air to allow ignition and combustion. Most prevention programs are directed at controlling the energy of activation (heat).
Fire suppression systems have a proven record for controlling and extinguishing unwanted fires. Many fire officials recommend that every building, including residences, have fire sprinkler systems. Correctly working sprinklers in a residence greatly reduce the risk of death from a fire. With the small rooms typical of a residence, one or two sprinklers can cover most rooms.
In addition, a major duty of fire services is the regular inspection of buildings to ensure they are up to the current building fire codes, which are enforced so that a building can sufficiently resist fire spread, potential hazards are located, and to ensure that occupants can be safely evacuated, commensurate with the risks involved.
Other methods of fire prevention are by directing efforts to reduce known hazardous conditions or by preventing dangerous acts before tragedy strikes. This is normally accomplished in many innovative ways such as conducting presentations, distributing safety brochures, providing news articles, writing public safety announcements (PSA) or establishing meaningful displays in well-visited areas. Ensuring that each household has working smoke alarms, is educated in the proper techniques of fire safety, has an evacuation route and rendezvous point is of top priority in public education for most fire prevention teams in almost all fire department localities.
Tools are generally carried at all times and are important for not only forcible entry but also for self rescue. A self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) delivers air to the firefighter through a full face mask and is worn to protect against smoke inhalation, toxic fumes, and super heated gases. A special device called a Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) is commonly worn independently or as a part of the SCBA to alert others when a firefighter stops moving for a specified period of time or manually operates the device. The PASS device sounds an alarm that can assist another firefighter (Firefighter Assist and Search Team (FAST), or Rapid Intervention Team (RIT)), in locating the firefighter in distress.
Firefighters often carry personal self rescue ropes. The ropes are generally 30 feet long and can provide a firefighter (that has enough time to deploy the rope) a partially controlled exit out of an elevated window. Lack of a personal rescue rope is cited in the deaths of two New York City Firefighters, Lt. John Bellew and Lt. Curtis Meyran, who died after they jumped from a fourth floor of a burning apartment building in the Bronx. Of the four firefighters who jumped and survived only one of them had a self rescue rope. Since the incident the Fire Department of New York City has issued self rescue ropes to their firefighters.
In the United States, 25% of fatalities to firefighters are caused by vehicle accidents while responding to or returning from an incident. Many firefighters are also injured or killed by vehicles while working at an incident (Paulison 2005). Recently (November 24, 2008) a new measure was established by many departments that requires firefighters to wear a bright yellow reflective vest over their turnout coats while working on the scene of vehicle accidents. The advent of this measure was implemented so firefighters are more visible to the other drivers on the road. In addition to the direct dangers of firefighting, cardiovascular diseases account for approximately 45% of on duty firefighter deaths.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (March 2009)|
Rescue operations consist of searching for and removing trapped occupants of hazardous conditions. Animals may also be rescued, if resources and conditions permit. Generally triage and first aid are performed outside, as removal from the hazardous atmosphere is the primary goal in preserving life. Search patterns include movement against room walls (to prevent rescuers from becoming lost or disoriented) and methodical searches of specific areas by designated teams. Unlike a fire control team, a rescue team typically moves faster, but has no hose to follow out to safety through the smoky darkness. A rescue rope may be needed for tethering a team involved in exceptionally dangerous conditions.
Incident commanders also arrange for standby search and rescue teams to assist if firefighters become lost, trapped, or injured. Such teams are commonly, and often interchangeably, known as Rapid Intervention Team (RIT), or Firefighter Assist and Search Teams (FAST). According to "two-in, two-out", the only time it is permissible for a team of firefighters to enter a burning structure without backup in place outside is when they are operating in what is known as "Rescue Mode". Rescue Mode occurs when firefighters have arrived at the scene, and it is readily apparent that there are occupants trapped inside who need immediate rescue. At such a time, properly equipped firefighters (exercising good judgment tempered by training and experience) may enter the structure and proceed directly to victims in need of rescue, RIT will then be put in place when resources permit.
The Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse fire provides a stark example of disoriented rescuers perishing when their air supply was exhausted during a fruitless primary search and subsequent RIT searches.
Searches for trapped victims are exhaustively detailed, often including searches of cupboards, closets, and under beds. The search is divided into two stages, the primary and secondary. The primary search is conducted quickly and thoroughly, typically beginning in the area closest to the fire as it is subjected to the highest risk of exposure. The secondary search only begins once the fire is under control, and is always (resources and personnel permitting) performed by a different team from that which did the primary search.
Rescue operations may also involve the extrication of victims of motor vehicle crashes (abbreviated MVC). Here firefighters use spreaders, cutters, and hydraulic rams, collectively called hydraulic rescue tools, known better to the public as Jaws of Life, to remove metal from the patient, followed by actually removing the patient, usually on a backboard with collar, and transferring to a waiting ambulance crew in the cold zone. More technical forms of rescue include subsets such as rope rescue, swiftwater rescue, confined space rescue, and trench rescue. These types of rescue are often extremely hazardous and physically demanding. They also require extensive technical training. NFPA regulation 1006 and 1670 state that a "rescuer" must have medical training to perform any technical rescue operation. Accordingly, firefighters involved in rescue operations have some kind of medical training as first responders, emergency medical technicians, paramedics or nurses.
Fire control 
Fire control (or fire fighting) consists of depriving a fire of fuel (Reducing Agent), oxygen (Oxidizing Agent), heat and/or the chemical chain reaction that are necessary to sustain itself or re-kindle (also known as the four components of the fire tetrahedron). Firefighters are equipped with a wide variety of equipment to accomplish this task. Some of their tools include ladder trucks, pumper trucks, tanker trucks, fire hose, and fire extinguishers. Very frequent training and refresher training is required.
Structure fires may be attacked, generally, either by "interior" or "exterior" resources, or both. Interior crews, using the "two-in, two out" rule, may advance hose lines inside the building, find the fire and cool it with water. Exterior crews may direct water into windows or other openings, or against other nearby fuels exposed to the initial fire. A proper command structure will plan and coordinate the various teams and equipment to safely execute each tactic.
- See also Fire suppression for other techniques.
Structure fires 
Buildings that are made of flammable materials such as wood are different from so called "fire-resistant" buildings such as concrete high-rises. Generally, a "fire-resistant" building is designed to limit fire to a small area or floor. Other floors can be safe simply by preventing smoke inhalation and damage. All buildings suspected of being on fire must be evacuated, regardless of fire rating.
While sometimes fires can be limited to small areas of a structure, wider collateral damage due to smoke, water, and burning embers is common. Utility shutoff (such as gas and electricity) is typically an early priority of arriving fire crews. Furthermore, fire prevention can take on a special meaning for property where hazardous materials are being used or stored.
Some fire fighting tactics may appear to be destructive, but often serve specific needs. For example, during "ventilation" firefighters are often forced to open holes in the roof or floors of a structure (called "vertical ventilation") or open windows or walls (called "horizontal ventilation") to remove smoke and heated gases from the interior of the structure. Such ventilation methods are also used to locate victims quicker as visibility increases and to help preserve the life of trapped or unconscious individuals due to the poisonous gases inside of the structure. Vertical ventilation is absolutely vital to firefighter safety in the event of a flashover or backdraft scenario. Releasing the flammable gasses through the roof often eliminates the possibility of a backdraft and by the removal of heat the possibility of a flashover is reduced significantly. Flashovers, due to their intense heat (900–1200° Fahrenheit) and explosive temperaments are almost always fatal to firefighter personnel. Precautionary methods, such as busting a window out, often reveal backdraft situations before the firefighter enters the structure and is met with the circumstance head-on. Firefighter safety is the number one priority.
Whenever possible, movable property is moved into the middle of a room and covered with a heavy cloth tarp (a "salvage cover"). Other steps may be taken to divert or remove fire flow runoff (thus salvaging property by avoiding unnecessary damage), retrieving/protecting valuables found during suppression or overhaul, and boarding windows, roofs and doors against the elements and looters.
Firefighters in the United States are frequently the first responders to HAZMAT incidents. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration standard 1910.120 defines four standards of training First responder awareness level, First responder operations level, Hazardous materials technician, and Hazardous materials specialist. EMS-based paramedics are typically trained to the awareness level, whereas career and volunteer firefighters are often trained to the operations level or better. Other nations have trained only elite firefighters and rescuers to do HAZMAT so that funding and equipment could go to fewer stations. This gives departments elite HAZMAT personnel and high-grade equipment for an incident. Departments place these companies in stations where they can be very mobile.
Occupational health and safety 
Cardiovascular disease 
Firefighting has long been associated with poor cardiovascular outcomes. In the United States, the most common cause of on-duty fatalities for firefighters is sudden cardiac death. In addition to personal factors that may predispose an individual to coronary artery disease or other cardiovascular diseases, occupational exposures can significantly increase a firefighter's risk. For instance, carbon monoxide, present in nearly all fire environments, and hydrogen cyanide, formed during the combustion of paper, cotton, plastics, and other substances containing carbon and nitrogen, interfere with the transport of oxygen in the body. Hypoxia can then lead to heart injury. In addition, chronic exposure to particulate matter in smoke is associated with atherosclerosis. Noise exposures may contribute to hypertension and possibly ischemic heart disease. Other factors associated with firefighting, such as stress, heat stress, and heavy physical exertion, also increase the risk of cardiovascular events.
Heat stress 
Heat injury is a major issue for firefighters as they wear insulated clothing and can not shed the heat generated from physical exertion. Early detection of heat issues is critical to stop dehydration and heat stress becoming fatal. Early onset of heat stress affects cognitive function which combined with operating in dangerous environment makes heat stress and dehydration a critical issue to monitor. Firefighter physiological status monitoring is showing promise in alerting EMS and commanders to the status of their people on the fire ground. Devices such as PASS device alert 10–20 seconds after a firefighter has stopped moving in a structure. Physiological status monitors measure a firefighter's vital sign status, fatigue and exertion levels and transmit this information over their voice radio. This technology allows a degree of early warning to physiological stress. These devices are similar to technology developed for Future Force Warrior and give a measure of exertion and fatigue. They also tell the people outside a building when they have stopped moving or fallen. This allows a Fire Chief to call in additional engines before the crew get exhausted and also gives an early warning to firemen before they run out of air, as they may not be able to make voice calls over their radio. Current OSHA tables exist for heat injury and the allowable amount of work in a given environment based on temperature, humidity and solar loading.
Structural collapses 
Another leading cause of death during firefighting is structural collapse of a burning building (e.g. a wall, floor, ceiling, roof, or truss system). Structural collapse, which often occurs without warning, may crush or trap firefighters inside the structure. To avoid loss of life, all on-duty firefighters should maintain two-way communication with the incident commander and be equipped with a Personal Alert Safety System device on all fire scenes and maintain radio communication on all incidents(PASS). Francis Brannigan was the founder and greatest contributor to this element of firefighter safety.
Firefighting around the world 
In Germany, volunteer fire departments, called the "Freiwillige Feuerwehr", are established in every town: even the biggest German city, Berlin, with more than 3.6 million inhabitants, has volunteer firefighters in addition to a career fire service. In fact, only 103 German cities (most of them are towns with more than 100,000 inhabitants) have a career fire service, called the "Berufsfeuerwehr", but in every one of these cities a volunteer fire service exists, too. In cities with a career fire service, volunteer fire brigades support the career fire service at big fires, accidents and disasters. Many of the so-called volunteer departments (usually in towns with 35,000 to 150,000 inhabitants), except in very small towns and villages, are a mixed service of a core of career firefighters who are supported by true volunteer firefighters should the need arise. However, the official title of those departments is nevertheless "volunteer fire service".
The structure in Austria is similar to Germany. There are just six career fire services in Vienna, Graz, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Salzburg and Linz. As of 2007, some 4,527 volunteer fire departments, the back-bone of the Austrian fire service, could rely on about 320,000 men and women voluntary firefighters as active members. Fire departments exist in even the smallest villages, where they contribute to community life, usually by organizing fairs and other fund-raising activities.
In Venezuela, there are, beside the types mentioned above, University Firefighters. They attend any emergency inside the campus and the zones around; however, their most important job is to develop new technologies in this area, thanks to the high level of education of its members: in the Simón Bolívar University Volunteer Fire Department, around 80% of its members have a university degree or are in the process of obtaining one.
In Japan, fire services are organized on a city/town/village basis. There are 894 fire headquarters and 3,598 volunteer fire corps. These have a total of 155,000 active career firefighters and 21,000 vehicles with 4,800 fire houses; 920,000 volunteer firefighters share an additional 51,000 trucks.
In Romania, the Romanian General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations is responsible for fire fighting and civil defense.
In Singapore, the Singapore Civil Defence Force is responsible for fire fighting and emergency response. In addition to career firefighters, there are conscripted firefighters, generally young adults between the ages of 18-25, that join under the national service scheme (see Conscription in Singapore).
In India municipalities are required by law to have a fire brigade and participate in a regional fire service. Each city has its own fire brigade. The main functions of firefighting services in India are provision of fire protection and of services during emergencies such as building collapses, drowning cases, gas leakage, oil spillage, road and rail accidents, bird and animal rescues, fallen trees, appropriate action during natural calamities, and so on. Industrial corporations also have their own firefighting service. Each airport and seaport has its own firefighting units.
Communication and command structure 
The expedient and accurate handling of fire alarms or calls are significant factors in the successful outcome of any incident. Fire department communications play a critical role in that successful outcome. Fire department communications include the methods by which the public can notify the communications center of an emergency, the methods by which the center can notify the proper fire fighting forces, and the methods by which information is exchanged at the scene. One method is to use a megaphone to communicate.
A telecommunicator (often referred to as a dispatcher) has a role different but just as important as other emergency personnel. The telecommunicator must process calls from unknown and unseen individuals, usually calling under stressful conditions. He/she must be able to obtain complete, reliable information from the caller and prioritize requests for assistance. It is the dispatcher's responsibility to bring order to chaos.
While some fire departments are large enough to utilize their own telecommunication dispatcher, most rural and small areas rely on a central dispatcher to provide handling of fire, rescue and police services.
Firefighters are trained to use communications equipment to receive alarms, give and receive commands, request assistance, and report on conditions. Since firefighters from different agencies routinely provide mutual aid to each other, and routinely operate at incidents where other emergency services are present, it is essential to have structures in place to establish a unified chain of command, and share information between agencies. The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency has established a National Incident Management System. One component of this system is the Incident Command System.
All radio communication in the United States is under authorization from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC); as such, fire departments that operate radio equipment must have radio licenses from the FCC.
Ten codes were popular in the early days of radio equipment because of poor transmission and reception. Advances in modern radio technology have reduced the need for ten-codes and many departments have converted to simple English (clear text).
Many firefighters are sworn officers with command structures similar to the military and police. They do not have general police powers, but have specific powers of enforcement and control in fire and emergency situations.
Ranks are divided between Company Officers and Fire Department Officers, which can be subdivided between Active Officers (Field Officers) and Administrative Officers each. Although the Active officers are the Captain, and two or three lieutenants, these three active officers are distinguish by their red helmet
Most fire brigades in Commonwealth countries (except Canada) have a more "civilianized" nomenclature, structured in a traditional manner. For example, the common structure in United Kingdom brigades is:
|Rank||Collar/epaulette markings||Helmet colour/pattern|
|Firefighter||None||Yellow helmet with no markings|
|Crew Manager||Two bars||Yellow helmet with two 12.5mm horizontal black stripes|
|Watch Manager||Two impellers||White helmet with one 12.5mm horizontal black stripe|
|Station Manager||Three impellers||White helmet with one 19mm horizontal black stripe|
|Group Manager||One impeller inside wreath||White helmet with one 12.5mm and one 19mm horizontal black stripes|
|Area Manager||One bar and one impeller inside wreath||White helmet with two 19mm horizontal black stripes|
|Assistant Brigade Manager||One impeller and one large impeller inside wreath||White helmet with one 38mm horizontal black stripe|
|Deputy Brigade Manager||One bar, one impeller and one large impeller inside wreath||White helmet with one 38mm horizontal black stripe|
|Brigade Manager||Two impellers and one large impeller inside wreath||White helmet with one 38mm horizontal black stripe|
In Germany every federal state has its own civil protection laws thus they have different rank systems. Additionally there is a difference between a rank and an official position. This is founded on the military traditions of the fire departments. Every firefighter can hold a high rank without having an official position. A firefighter can be promoted by years of service, training skills and qualifications. Official positions are partly elected or given by capabilities. These conditions allow that older ordinary firemen have higher ranks than their leaders. But through this ranks are no authorities given (Brevet).
The Vigili del Fuoco, literally the Fire-watchers, (official name Corpo nazionale dei vigili del fuoco) (CNVVF, National Fire-watchers' Corps) is Italy's institutional agency for fire and rescue service. It is part of the Ministry of Interior's Dipartimento dei Vigili del Fuoco, del Soccorso Pubblico e della Difesa Civile (Department of Fire Watch, Public Rescue and Public Protection). The corps' task is to provide safety for people, animals and property, and to give technical assistance to industries and fire prevention advice. It also ensures public safety in terrorist emergencies such as chemical, bacteriological, radiological and nuclear attacks.
In Iran(Islamic republic of) every province has its own Firefighting department but ranks are the same in whole country, ranks are as follows:
|Rank||Persian||Collar/epaulette markings||Collar/epaulette markings(in Persian)|
|Volunteer Firefighter I||آتش نشان داوطلب سوم||One yellow bar||یک خط زرد|
|Volunteer Firefighter II||آتش نشان داوطلب دوم||Two yellow bars||دو خط زرد|
|Volunteer Firefighter III||آتش نشان داوطلب||Three yellow bars||سه خط زرد|
|Firefighter I||آتش نشان سوم||One silver bar||یک خط نقره ای|
|Firefighter II||آتش نشان دوم||Two silver bars||دو خط نقره ای|
|Firefighter III||آتش نشان||Three silver bars||سه خط نقره ای|
|Head Firefighter I||سرآتش نشان سوم||One flame and one gold bar||یک شعله و یک خط طلایی|
|Head Firefighter II||سرآتش نشان دوم||One flame and Two gold bars||یک شعله و دو خط طلایی|
|Head Firefighter III||سرآتش نشان||One flame and Three gold bars||یک شعله و سه خط طلایی|
|Master Firefighter I||آتش یار سوم||One flame||یک شعله|
|Master Firefighter II||آتش یار دوم||Two flames||دو شعله|
|Master Firefighter III||آتش یار||Three flames||سه شعله|
|Master Firefighter IV||سر آتش یار||Four flames||چهار شعله|
|Chief Firefighter I||آتش پاد سوم||One empty gold wreath||یک حلقه گل طلایی خالی|
|Chief Firefighter II||آتش پاد دوم||One gold wreath with a flame inside||یک حلقه گل طلایی با یک شعله درونش|
|Chief Firefighter III||آتش پاد||One gold wreath with a flame inside and a silver bar below them||یک حلقه گل طلایی با یک شعله درونش و یک خط نقره ای زیر آنها|
|Chief master Firefighter I||فرآتش پاد سوم||One gold wreath with a flame inside and two silver bars below them||یک حلقه گل طلایی با یک شعله درونش و دو خط نقره ای زیر آنها|
|Chief master Firefighter II||فرآتش پاد دوم||One gold wreath with a flame inside and three silver bars below them||یک حلقه گل طلایی با یک شعله درونش و سه خط نقره ای زیر آنها|
|Chief master Firefighter III||فر آتش پاد||One gold wreath with a flame inside and four silver bars below them||یک حلقه گل طلایی با یک شعله درونش و چهار خط نقره ای زیر آنها|
|Firefighter||-||Leading Firefighter/Driver Mechanic in retained brigades||Yellow Helmet with one 12.5mm horizontal black stripe|
|Lieutenant||-||Safety Officer||White helmet|
|Captain||Red helmet with one 19mm horizontal black stripe|
|Deputy Chief||White helmet with two 19mm horizontal black stripes|
|Assistant Chief||White helmet with one 38mm horizontal black stripe|
|Chief||White helmet with one 38mm horizontal black stripe|
Japanese Fire Department's rank insignias are place on a small badge and pinned above the right pocket. Rank is told by stripes and Hexagram stars. The design of the insignias came from older Japanese style military insignias. Officers and Team Leaders could wear an arm band on the arm of fire jacket to show status as command leader. Sometimes rank can be shown as different color fire jacket for command staff. The color whites and gray are reserved for EMS. Orange is reserved for rescuer.
||Assistant Fire Sergeant
||1st Assistant Chief
In Russia, the decals are applied symmetrically on both sides of the helmet (front and rear). The location of the decals on the special clothing and SCBA is established for each fire department of the same type within the territorial entity.
|Firefighter||The all color helmet with the applied number, indicating the fire station|
|Head of fire brigade||The all color helmet with the applied number, indicating the fire station, underlined by line 50 mm wide and 5 mm thick|
|Head of duty shift fire station||The all color helmet with the applied a circle, inside which the applied number is indicating the fire station|
|Deputy Head of the fire station||The all color helmet with the applied a triangle, inside which the applied number is indicating the fire station|
|Head of the fire station||The all color helmet with the applied a square, inside which the applied number is indicating the fire station|
|Commanding staff of the fire department||The all color helmet with the applied a circle, inside which the applied a rhombus|
In the United States helmet colors often denote a fire fighter's rank or position. In general, white helmets denote chief officers, while red helmets may denote company officers, but the specific meaning of a helmet's color or style varies from region to region and department to department. The rank of an officer in the U.S. fire service is most commonly denoted by a number of speaking trumpets, a reference to a megaphone like device used in the early days of the fire service, although typically called "bugle" in today's parlance. Ranks proceed from one (lieutenant) to five (fire chief) bugles. Traditional ranks in American Fire Departments that exist but may not always be utilized in all cities or towns include:
||Battalion Chief/District Chief
||Division Chief or Assistant /Deputy Asst.
The basic US fire department unit is a small unit called a "company" (under a lieutenant or captain depending upon rank structure) which is equivalent to a commonwealth "watch" (under a sub-officer). A US fire captain is thus often equivalent to a commonwealth sub-officer, and a US fire lieutenant to a commonwealth leading firefighter. In many fire departments in the USA, the rank of captain or lieutenant are both used to denote the most junior fire officer at the company level. There is no state or federal rank structure for firefighters and each municipality or volunteer fire department creates and uses their own unique structure.
Still some other American Fire Departments such the FDNY use military rank insignia in addition or instead of the traditional bugles. Additionally, officers on truck companies have been known to use rank insignias shaped like axes for Lieutenants (1) and Captains (2).
Firefighter equipment 
Toronto firefighters prepare their equipment
A partial list of some equipment typically used by firefighters:
- Hand tools, such as
- Personal protective equipment ("PPE") designed to withstand water and high temperatures, such as
- Handheld radio, pager, or other communication devices
- Thermal Imaging Camera
- Gas Meter
History of fire brigades 
Although people have fought fires since there have been valuable things to burn, the first instance of organized professionals combating structural fires occurred in Ancient Egypt. Likewise, fire fighters of the Roman Republic existed solely as privately organized and funded groups that operated more similarly to a business than a public service; however, during the Principate period Augustus revolutionized firefighting by calling for the creation of a fire guard that was trained, paid, and equipped by the state- the first truly public and professional firefighting service. Known as the Vigiles, they were organised into cohorts and also served as a night watch and city police force.
Today, fire and rescue remains a mix of paid, call, and volunteer responders, with some Fire and Rescue Services in the UK employing a combination of retained firefighters (who carry pagers to remain on-call while at home or at work) and a small number of unpaid volunteer firefighters- a practice common with other services.
Miscellaneous traditions 
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (November 2009)|
In popular literature, firefighters are sometimes depicted with Dalmatian dogs. This breed originated in southern Europe to assist with herding livestock and run along with horses, and in the days of horse-drawn fire vehicles, the horses were usually released on arrival at the fire and the Dalmatians would lead the horses through traffic and to a safe place to wait until the fire was out. Dalmatians also filled the role of protecting the horses' feet from other dogs as equipment was being transported to the fire scene.
In reality, most fire dogs were mutts pulled from the street (and thus cheaper to acquire). In addition, Dalmatians have a reputation for skittishness and congenital defects, such as deafness due to inbreeding.
Many fire companies around the world, especially in the United States, develop annual beefcake calendars. In these calendars, handsome and/or muscular firefighters appear scantily clad and sometimes cavorting. Calendar proceeds function as fund raisers for their fire department and for charities. Other forms of fund raising may include traditional Firemen's Balls (gala events attended by firefighters and supporters from the community), community fairs, and ding-a-ling car washes (where the price is whatever donation one wishes).
Some firefighters are known to be good cooks. This is because some firefighters have long shifts and cannot leave the station for food. Most stations have a kitchen or lunch hall with some cooking appliances. Firefighters who can cook take turns in making lunch and dinner meals. The Firefighter's cooking skills are sometimes so good that they use them for fund raisers. Common American firefighter cooking fund raisers serve fried fish or chili beans soup.
Notable firefighters 
||The examples and perspective in this section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2012)|
- James Braidwood (firefighter) (1800-1861), founder of the municipal fire brigade in Edinburgh, 1824
- John Decker (1823–1892), chief of the New York City department during the 1863 draft riots
- Raúl Gándara-Cartagena (1895-1989), first and longest-serving Puerto Rico commonwealth fire chief
- James J. Kenney (1869–1918), Berkeley, California, politician, the city's first fire chief
- Louis R. Nowell (1915–2009), Los Angeles, California, City Council member, a firefighter for 23 years
- Chip Prather (born 1953), second chief of the Orange County, California, Fire Authority
See also 
- Fire hydrant
- Fire services in Scotland
- Fire truck
- History of firefighting
- Incident Command System
- Index of firefighting articles
- Volunteer fire department
- Wildfire suppression
- UK Ministry of Civil Aviation Aerodrome Fire Service
- Wildland Firefighter Foundation
- Women in firefighting
Airport firefighting & emergency rescue.
- ""firefighter" Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary". Merriam-webster.com. 2012-08-31. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
- "America on the Move: Locomotive Engineer & Fireman". Americanhistory.si.edu. 2012-03-14. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
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- Federal Highway Administration DOT 23CFR634 Worker Visibility
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- Zephyr Technologies BioHarness BT
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- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Alert: Preventing Injuries and Deaths of Fire Fighters due to Structural Collapse. August 1999.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Firefighter|
|Look up firefighter in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
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