The Hat Dance: Realities of the Short-Staffed Company Officer
Friday, June 14, 2024
2:00 PM – 3:15 PM
With adequate staffing continuing to be more of a fantasy than a reality for many departments, the modern company officer is asked to wear many hats ranging from tailboard firefighter to command level officer. With a strong company officer often being the difference between fireground failure and success, we must reconsider what we are asking of our company officers and how they carry out their duties. This class aims to empower and encourage company officers battling the realities of limited manpower armed only with strategies found in formal training and education designed for staffing models that are no longer realistic for the average fire department. We will break down how to balance firemanship and leadership, adapting leadership and managerial responsibilities to low staffing environments, the delicate balance of mentor and boss, proper approaches to delegation, the importance of humility, and strategies for accomplishing mission critical tasks early in the incident without the manpower to do so. By bridging personal and departmental expectations with the realities of limited manpower, current and aspiring company officers will leave with the tools and attitudes necessary to successfully lead their teams both on and off the fireground!
Marc Aloan is a career Battalion Chief with the West Columbia Fire Department (SC) and creator of The Fire Inside blog. He has been immersed in the fire service for 20 years, in both volunteer and career departments, and is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He is a nationally recognized speaker and published author with work in culture and professional development. He holds a B.S. in Fire Protection Administration from Eastern Kentucky University and a M.A. in Organizational Leadership from Waldorf University.