iCHIEFS Podcast: Preparing to become a fire chief

Two fire chiefs offer their personal experiences and advice on how to successfully climb the rank ladder


The path to becoming a fire chief is often challenging and unpredictable. So how can you best prepare to become a five-bugle chief?

In this iCHIEFS Podcast, Chief Trisha Wolford of Anne Arundel County, Maryland, and retired Chief Mary Beth Michos of Prince William County, Virginia, share their experiences in climbing the rank ladder and address key elements of preparation, including:

  • Formal education and training requirements
  • Political and policy development skills
  • Public speaking and communication
  • Work history and reputation
  • Teachable potential, succession planning and job shadowing participation

Michos also discusses the IAFC’s Fire Service Executive Development Institute (FSEDI), a program that prepares aspiring chiefs to apply for and go through promotion and chief position processes.

The monthly iCHIEFS Podcast features co-hosts Tom Jenkins and Sheldon Gilbert discussing hot button issues with leaders in the fire and emergency services. Jenkins is the fire chief in Rogers, Arkansas, and the 2017-2018 IAFC president. Gilbert is the CEO of Emergency Services Consulting International (ESCI).

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