Congratulations, you’ve been promoted to fire chief! Now what?

Seven tips for newly promoted chiefs looking to be successful in their new role

For more on this topic, check out the IAFC’s recently-released guide "You're the Fire Chief; Now What? Guidance for New and Interim Fire Chiefs." And, listen to this special iCHIEFS podcast, "The 100 Day Plan: Succeeding as a new Fire Chief," as Fire Chiefs John Butler, Fairfax County (Virginia) and Al Yancey, Jr., Minooka (Illinois) Fire Protection District share their personal experiences and resources available to help for new chiefs successfully navigate the first 100 days.

You thrived for the five – five bugles that it is. And you finally got them!

Maybe you’ve always aspired to be a fire chief or maybe your career path took you to the top position in the fire department without you even trying. Regardless of how you became the fire chief, you’re now the leader of an organization whose primary function is service to the community – and you must keep your firefighters safe in the process. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Not so fast!

Lessons learned from moving into the top spot

After 35 years of working in two big city departments, I thought I was prepared. Big city departments see their share of action, politics, personnel issues, budget problems, media inquiries and host of other issues that I thought provided an excellent training ground for me to become a fire chief. Serving on the command staffs of multiple fire chiefs, there was no doubt I had a front-row seat to almost any issue a fire chief could face, whether it be in the office or at some scene. Boy was I wrong! There was still a lot more to learn! Following are seven tips I learned going through the process myself.


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