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Department Organization

Field Operations

Photo of fire crew

Employees in these positions work a 24-hour shift with at least one, and up to six days off between shifts. Employees work a 56-hour week insuring residents have protection 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

  • Deputy Chief - Shift Commander
    Each of the three Shift Commanders oversees all field operations during the course of their twenty-four hour shift. The Shift Commanders report to the Assistant Chief of Operations.
  • Battalion Chief
    A Battalion Chief supervises a Battalion of approximately 6 to 7 stations--35 to 40 firefighters-- and coordinates fire suppression activities within a designated geographical area. Battalion Chiefs act as incident commanders at large scale incidents. The Battalion Chiefs report to the Deputy Chief - Shift Commanders.
  • Captain
    Under the direction of a Battalion Chief, the Captain is in command of a Station or a single Fire Company (a Fire Company is the crew of an individual piece of equipment such as a fire engine or a fire truck.) The Captain is in charge of day-to-day activities at his or her station, which may include inspections, in-service training or community education events. At a fire, medical or other emergency the Captain directs the operations of his or her crew.
  • Engineer
    Under the direction of the Captain, A Fire Engineer operates and maintains fire apparatus and associated equipment. Engineers are responsible for the safe delivery of fire crews to and from emergencies.
  • Firefighter
    Under the direction of a Captain, a firefighter performs routine station maintenance. At the scene of a fire, firefighters are directly responsible for rescue and extinguishment of the fire. At medical calls, which make up more than 80% of total responses, firefighters are directly involved in patient care. All uniformed members of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department are Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and at least one member of each crew is also a paramedic.
  • Fire Recruit
    Fire Recruits attend a fire academy lasting approximately three months. During the academy, recruits learn fire, rescue and medical techniques. Upon completion of the academy, recruits are assigned to a fire station as probationary firefighters.