The Professional Development of a Company Officer

24308The Company officer is, a position that involves more diversity than the majority of positions in our society today.  With that being said, the requirement for predicated knowledge, skills and abilities is extremely diverse.  The most obvious one is the need to understand the emergency response skills required to mitigate the situations faced and to supervise the personnel assigned during those operations.  During this article we will take a look at the necessary professional development areas that a company officer must have to be successful.

Lets take a look at the essential skills of a company officer:

Communications – Communication skills both oral and written are critical.  If you look at the nosh reports or any near miss report the one commonality in most everyone of these reports is the lack of or failure in communications on the scene.  Communications goes much deeper than just technical.  It is the ability to relate and communicate with a variety of groups of people from crews to the community you serve which can be extremely diverse.

Instruction – The ability of a company officer to teach or instruct is important in every realm of the position as you instruct and teach both your subordinates, peers and the community you serve.

Evaluation Skills – This includes the evaluation of the actions of others, evaluation of circumstances, situations, the environment, relationships, functions and just about anything else you can think of.  Winston Churchill said, “True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain hazards, and conflicting information.”

Organization – Company officers must organize everything from job assignments to administrative functions.  Effective organization is required to accomplish anything in an organization.

So where does the professional development fit into these skills.  Well it is important to understand that the NFPA 1021 covers each of these specific areas and much more in the standard 1021 standard Job Performance Requirements (JPRs).

In professional development we need to develop well rounded officers.  This effort requires that they receive training, education and experiences while self developing. The National Professional DEvelopment Model provides a great road map as to how to gain the well rounded components of a fire officer. National Professional Development Model

There are many local, state and national programs that help company officers and individuals desiring to be company officers develop in each of the aspects. Below are several programs that you can attend that will help you in your development

FDIC International has a multitude of program each year on company officer development.  Individuals like Deputy Chief Steve Prziborowski, Santa Clara County (CA) Fire Department, Battalion Chief Bob Atlas, Contra Costa County (CA) Fire Department and Captain Timothy Kreis, Phoenix (AZ) Fire Department.

The National Fire Academy Managing Officer Program can help you, as a first- or mid-level officer/supervisor, jump-start professional development early on in your career or volunteer service. You will build on foundational management and technical competencies, learning to address issues of interpersonal and cultural sensitivity, professional ethics, and outcome-based performance. On completion of the program, you will:

  • Be better prepared to grow professionally, improve your skills, and meet emerging professional challenges.
  • Be able to embrace professional growth and development in your career.
  • Enjoy a national perspective on professional development.
  • Understand and appreciate the importance of professional development.
  • Have a network of fire service professionals who support career development.

The Managing Officer Program consists of:

  • Five prerequisite courses (online and classroom deliveries in your state).
  • Four courses at the NFA in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Company Officer Leadership Symposium (COLS) – an intense, 3-day program providing company officers with valuable skills and knowledge required to stay ahead and grow as a leader. Graduating from the program demonstrates exceptional professional growth for promotional assessments. The next COLS session will be held at FRI 2015.

Company Officer Leadership Bootcamp – The producers of have developed a weekend formatted company officer bootcamp that is designed to deliver dynamic cutting edge training programs for officers  in your area. For more information contact Doug Cline at

Coming next time the Paradoxical Commandments of Leadership.