The Deputy Chief of Operations and two Assistant Chiefs work together to organize and manage the Fire and Emergency Operations and the three 24 hours shifts (A, B, and C) of team members. Each shift is manned by 20 companies comprised of battalion chiefs, captains, engineers, assistant engineers, and firefighters.
The department's 20 fire companies consist of 16 fire engine companies and 4 ladder companies. Ladder trucks are specialized equipment used for both rescue and firefighting in buildings with multiple floors. All firefighters in the City of Charleston are certified by the State of South Carolina.
The Fire Department responds to many types of rescue situations throughout the city. Four engine companies and three ladder companies are equipped with hydraulic rescue tools, more commonly known as the jaws of life. Such specialized equipment enables the department to handle automobile accidents with entrapment and respond quickly during the first critical minutes of emergencies involving injuries.
Fire Prevention efforts are conducted department-wide. Each fire company prepares community programs for fire prevention and safety. The programs are conducted for school age children, civic and service organizations, senior citizens groups, and neighborhood associations. The companies also provide fire prevention training for employees of businesses, health care centers, boarding homes, hotels / motels, and numerous other sectors of the community.
Hazardous Materials & Technical Rescue Team
The Hazmat and Technical Rescue Teams respond to any type of natural or man-made disaster and all hazardous material emergencies. The team's hazardous materials vehicle is equipped with the most modern and specialized equipment to handle hazardous materials emergencies. The unit also responds with other units in the region and travels to assist other municipalities on an as needed basis.