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Firefighting involves extremely hard, skilled physical work, and firefighters must be able to handle emergency, life-or-death situations. Firefighters must also be willing learners. There will be continuous in-service training throughout their careers keeps them up-to-date on the newest technologies and latest fire suppression methods. Training in the fire service encompasses many subjects, such as building construction, emergency medical procedures, hazardous materials, technical rescue, public education, community relations. Firefighters must have strong social skills, and the ability to think and communicate clearly in very stressful situations.
The first promotional opportunity is to Assistant Engineer. You must have 1 year on the job. This position consists of a written and practical exercise.
Every station is designed to accommodate a crew for 24 hours. This includes:
Sleeping is permitted, as is cooking, working out, and studying, although you must be ready to respond to alarms and fulfill other duty requirements at all times.
The Charleston Fire Department is structured to mirror a military hierarchy. The station is a microcosm of that, beginning with the firefighters, a fire engineer (driver) in charge of the apparatus, and a Captain in charge of the entire crew. Each area of the city has a Battalion Chief in charge of operations and stations in his or her Battalion.