Where the rubber meets the road: Understand the company officer role
Company officers represent the intersection of all the department’s policies, training and actions
Being a company officer can be the best of both worlds. You have authority and the responsibility for your crewmembers, yet at times, everything feels just like when you rode the apparatus as a firefighter.
Making the transition to the right seat is a big step, particularly as you come into your new role as crew leader. Depending on the size of your department, you may have changed stations or unit days. You may know some of your crew or you may have met them for the first time. Regardless, it is essential that you establish yourself as the leader – and then lead by example.
These early days will be a dance of sorts – you learning the strengths and weaknesses of each individual and the crew trying to understand your expectations, goals and leadership style. The outcome will hopefully be a strong team that understands that their combined capabilities, especially on the emergency scene, makes for the best results.
Let’s review some of the critical components of the company officer role, and offer some essential advice for those stepping into this key role for the first time.