Are You Technically & Tactically Competent?

August 14, 2023

Are You Technically & Tactically Competent?

Do you desire to be a successful company or chief officer? I hope your answer is yes and you are not taking up space in the station and rig waiting until retirement. Several factors come together to make a successful fire department officer. Among them are technical and tactical competence.

Competence is, “possession of required skill, knowledge, qualification, or capacity.”1 Being a successful and competent officer means going beyond possession and sharing your skills and knowledge with others. It means coaching and mentoring your crew members.


One of the common fire service mantras is, certified versus qualified. A fire officer can have enough certificates from state agencies, seminars, and conferences to adorn an entire wall, yet be incapable of deciding what size hose to use and where to place it. That person is certified but not qualified or competent.

Competent officers exhibit command presence and know when and how to take charge. Are you that type of person or does your engineer or firefighter run the company? Battalion chiefs, who oversees your battalion or shift? You or another officer with a stronger and more dominant personality?

Furthermore, your state issued certificate does not automatically make you a leader. Nor does the one and done Fire Officer I, II, or III course. I’m a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program, but the program does not make a leader. Neither does a college degree. Personal and professional development is an ongoing process and does not stop when you obtain a certificate, degree, certain rank, or time in service/grade.

The competent officer:

  • Is a student of the profession and is committed to self-improvement.
  • Understands fire behavior, building construction, fuel/weather/topography, the basics of firefighting, and decision-making.
  • Studies and applies the various aspects of leadership development.
  • Commits to a better understanding of human behavior.

Boost Your Career Development

What are you doing for career development beyond department or state mandated training? Are you waiting for your supervisor to mentor and coach you? Is your supervisor someone you even want to have as a mentor?

As a veteran battalion chief, I have the command and leadership background, experience, and resources to provide meaningful and relevant training to help you become a better fire officer. Click this link Officer Development – Fire Officer Safety Academy ( to learn about Tailboard Talks and join a community of like-minded individuals who desire to boost their career to new heights. You may also email me at [email protected].

©2023 Rick Davis. Artificial intelligence (AI) WAS NOT used to generate this content.

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