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City of Charlottesville, VA Fire Department


Chapter: II - Definition of Terms
Subject: Terminology
Code: 1-II-1
Revised: 6-6-96

1.01   PURPOSE

       To  provide members with a list of basic Fire Department terms
       and their working definitions in order  to  facilitate  better
       written  and  verbal  communication within the Charlottesville
       Fire Department.

1.02   POLICY

       A.  A  list  of  basic Fire Department terms and their working
           definitions shall be provided in the Operations Manual.
       B.  Although   not   totally   inclusive,   those   terms  and
           definitions contained within said list shall be officially
           recognized by all members of the Fire Department.


       As per Fire Department Policy, the following list of terms and
       definitions is included in the Operations Manual.
       Active  Duty:  That period of time during which a member shall
       be at a designated place of assignment.
       Acting  Fire  Chief:   A person's temporary appointment to the
       position of Chief Officer.
       Acting   Position:    A   temporary   position   at  a  higher
       classification occupied for a specific period of time  by  any
       member so designated.
       Administrative Office:  Office of the Fire Chief.
       Aerial  Apparatus:   A  piece  of  automotive  fire  equipment
       meeting NFPA #1901  Standards  and  equipped  with  either  an
       aerial ladder or an elevating platform.
       Alarm:   A notification to Fire Department units to initiate a
       Alarm Room:  Dispatching center.
       Apparatus:   Any  motorized  vehicle  carrying  fire  fighting
       tools, equipment or personnel.
       Battalion Chief:  See Fire Battalion Chief.
       CFD:  Charlottesville Fire Department
       Captain:  See Fire Battalion Captain and Fire Captain.
       Chain   of   Command:    Relationship  of  responsibility  and
       authority, as shown on organizational chart.
       Channels  Through:  The transmission of communications through
       chain of command, in ascending or descending order.
       Chief:   The  Fire  Chief; the chief administrative officer of
       the Fire Department.
       Chief Officers:  Those members holding the rank of Fire Chief,
       Deputy Fire Chief, Fire Battalion Chief, or Fire Battalion
       City:  City of Charlottesville.
       Commanding  Officer:  "Member's" immediate supervisor in chain
       of command.
       Communications:   Interchange  of  correspondence  or message;
       verbal or written.
       Company:   Engine  and/or  Truck  company  members  under  the
       command of a Company  Officer,  assigned  to  a  station  with
       Company Fire Prevention District:  The area in which a company
       has  specific  responsibilities  for   the   fire   prevention
       inspection of assigned occupancies.
       Company  Inspection:  An inspection by fire company(ies) of an
       occupancy or premises for the purpose of code enforcement.
       Company  Officer:   Any  officer  in  command of a company and
       their assigned quarters.
       Department:  Charlottesville Fire Department.
       Deputy Fire Chief:  Classification of rank.  Officer in charge
       of the Fighting Division of the Fire Department and  is  chief
       administrative assistant to the Fire Chief.
       Detail:   One  or  more  members  given  a  routine or special
       Division:   A  major  subdivision  of the Fire Department with
       specific responsibilities.
       Division  Commander:  Classification of rank.  A Chief Officer
       assigned as administrative head over a division  of  the  Fire
       Drill:  A training session.
       Emergency  Order:  Order of a temporary nature pertaining to a
       particular emergency  and  valid  until  emergency  no  longer
       exists.  May be written or oral.
       Emergency  Vehicle:  Any vehicle owned or operated by the Fire
       Department and defined as such by the Virginia  Motor  Vehicle
       Engine:   A mobile Engine usually carrying 500 gallons or more
       and less than three (3) persons on apparatus.
       Engine  Company:   An  Engine  that  has  three  (3)  or  more
       personnel on the apparatus.
       Equipment:   All  articles  used by the department, other than
       apparatus, quarters, and expendable supplies.
       Evolution:  Practical drill simulating an actual fire fighting
       False  Alarm:  An alarm given with malicious intent or without
       reasonable cause.
       Fire  Apparatus:   Automotive  vehicles  with  a specific fire
       fighting function, designed  in  accordance  with  NFPA  #1901
       Standards,   used   to   carry  fire  fighting  personnel  and
       Fire  Battalion  Chief:   Classification  of  rank.   A  Chief
       Officer commanding a  shift,  division,  battalion,  or  other
       subdivision within the department.
       Fire Battalion Captain:  Classification of rank.  May serve as
       Fire Prevention Officer, Training Officer, Company Officer,
       Chief Officer, or Officer-In-Charge.
       Fire  Chief:   Classification  of  rank.  Chief administrative
       officer of the department.
       Fire  Company:   A  crew  of  members  under  the command of a
       Company Officer or acting officer assigned to a  Fire  Station
       with apparatus.
       Fire Department Staff:  Fire Chief, Deputy Fire Chiefs in
       charge of Suppression and Building and Life Safety Divisions,
       Fire Battalion Captain in charge of the Personnel Support
       Division, the Fire Educator, Mechanic and the Executive
       Secretary of the Fire Department.
       Fire Division Chief:  Classification of rank.  A chief officer
       assigned as the administrative head over  a  division  of  the
       Fire Department.  Also see Division Commander.
       Fire  Fighter:   Classification  of  rank.  First level safety
       member who performs general Fire Department duties  under  the
       supervision of a Company Officer.
       Fire   Investigator:    A   department   member  assigned  the
       collateral duties of fire investigation.
       Fire  Captain:   Classification  of  rank.   May  serve  as
       Officer-In-Charge,  Shift  Training  Officer,  and/or  Company
       Fireground:   Operational  area  at a fire under command of an
       incident commander; the place where fire  fighting  operations
       are being conducted.
       Fire  Prevention  Officer:   A  department member assigned the
       duties and responsibilities of fire prevention.
       First Alarm District:  Same as First-In-District.
       First Due:  The company that is normally to arrive first on an
       First-In-District:   The  area  in which a company is normally
       the first to arrive at the scene of an emergency.
       First-In-Officer:  The first Fire Department officer to arrive
       at the scene of an emergency.
       General  Orders:   Any  order  of  permanent  character  which
       requires the attention of the entire department personnel.
       Goal:    A  general  statement  of  aim  and  direction  which
       establishes the overall mission for an organization.
       Immediate   Family:    The   immediate  family  means  spouse,
       parent(s),   child(ren),   brother(s),    sister(s),    grand-
       parent(s),  mother-in-law, father-in-law, foster parent(s), or
       blood relative(s) who serve as foster parent(s).
       Incident  Commander:   The member who is in charge and has the
       responsibilities  of  an  emergency  incident  that  the  fire
       department is involved in.
       Incident  Command  System:   The Incident Command System (ICS)
       has been developed and approved by  the  Charlottesville  Fire
       Department.  ICS is a standardized organization and management
       system utilized in the handling of emergency incidents.
       Interdepartmental  Memorandum:   A  notice  issued by the Fire
       Chief or other authoritative source.
       Ladder  Company:   A  fire  company staffing a piece of aerial
       apparatus  specially  trained  in  ladder  work,  ventilation,
       rescue, forcible entry, and salvage operations.  Same as Truck
       Leave  of  Absence:   A granted leave from the Fire Department
       (with or without pay) within the guidelines of the department.
       Manual of Operations:  An administrative directive by the Fire
       Chief  establishing  the  practices  and  procedures  of   the
       department.  Same as the Operations Manual.
       Member:   Any  employee  regularly or temporarily appointed to
       the Fire Department to perform the duties of  a  regular  Fire
       Fighter,  under  whatever designation they may describe in any
       salary or departmental ordinance  providing  compensation  for
       the Fire Department.  The term "member" includes officers.
       Memo:    A   method   of  written  communication  utilizing  a
       transitory notice issued for the guidance and  information  of
       members of the department.
       Memorandum   of  Understanding  (M.O.U.):   Agreement  between
       representatives of executive management of the  City  and  the
       representatives    of   appropriate   employee   organizations
       concerning hours, wages, and working conditions of members  of
       the Charlottesville Fire Department.
       Meritorious  Act:   One  that  is  worthy  of  commendation or
       possesses merit and is deserving of reward or recognition.
       Objective:   A  specific statement of desired achievement and/
       or performance which is directly measurable in scope and  time
       Officer-In-Charge:   An  individual  in  charge  of  the  fire
       suppression forces assigned to a particular fire station.
       Officers:  Officers of the Fire Department.  Order of rank:
       Fire Chief, Deputy Fire Chief, Fire Battalion Chief, Fire
       Battalion Captain, and Fire Captain.
       On-Duty:   A  condition  of  employment  wherein  a  member is
       actively engaged in a function of the department.
       Operations Manual:  Same as Manual of Operations.
       Oral   Reprimand:    An  official  oral  notification  by  the
       department manager to the employee that  there  is  cause  for
       dissatisfaction  with  his/her  performance,  and that further
       disciplinary measures may be taken, if not corrected.
       Paramedic:   Classification of rank.  A Fire Department member
       holding current  Charlottesville  certification  as  a  Mobile
       Intensive  Care  Paramedic  responsible  for emergency medical
       care within current City Guidelines.
       Personnel:  Same as "Member."
       Pre-Fire  Plan:   A  plan  of  operations  containing  current
       strategic information  and  procedures  for  fire  suppression
       operations in a given occupancy or complex.
       Pre-Fire   Plan   Inspection:   An  inspection  made  by  Fire
       Department members to study potential fire fighting and rescue
       problems  at  a  given  occupancy  and to formulate a pre-fire
       Pumper:   A  piece  of  automotive fire apparatus meeting NFPA
       #1901 Standards and equipped with a pump, water  tank,  and  a
       compliment of hose, tools, and equipment (same as engine).
       Quarters:  Any department building or place wherein members or
       companies are assigned.
       Regular  Response  Assignment:   Pre-determined  assignment of
       companies relative to alarm responses.
       Relief  Person:   One  who  is  asked  to  act in the official
       capacity of another who is on a day-off or otherwise absent.
       Senior:   Rank  (first),  length  of service in rank (second),
       length of service in department (third).
       Seniority:   Measured  by  continuous length of service in the
       Senior  Officer:  One who has served longer in the same office
       position than another, or one who has achieved a higher rank.
       Shift:    A  period  of  twenty-four  (24)  consecutive  hours
       commencing at 0700 and ending at 0700 the following day;
       One  of the three (3) groups of assigned twenty-four (24) hour
       personnel which are on duty on a rotational basis.
       One  of  five  (5)  overlapping  eight and one-half (8.5) duty
       periods to which Dispatchers are assigned.
       Special Drill:  A special assignment for departmental service.
       Special  Duty:   When  a  member  is  assigned  to  perform  a
       particular service of a  non-routine  nature,  when  regularly
       Special  Notice:  A transitory notice issued by the Fire Chief
       or other authoritative source for the guidance and information
       of members of the department.
       Special  Order:   An  administrative  directive  of  temporary
       nature affecting practices and procedures  of  the  department
       and  shall  be  effective  until  canceled  or included in the
       Operations Manual.
       Station   Journal:    A  legal  record  of  daily  events  and
       activities (visitors, fire calls,  etc.)  kept  in  the  Alarm
       Still  Alarm:   Generally, an alarm for a less severe incident
       initially requiring only a single engine response.
       Subordinates:   A  member  who  stands  in order of rank below
       Superior:  A member who stands in rank above another.
       Superior  Officer:   An  officer  who  stands in order of rank
       above another officer.
       Tour:   A  string  of  twenty-four  (24)  hour shifts normally
       worked by members of the same platoon.  A tour encompasses the
       regular  cycle  of  twenty-four  (24) hours on and twenty-four
       (24) hours off until three (3)  successive  shifts  have  been
       A  string  of  five  (5)  eight and one-half (8.5) hour shifts
       worked by each member of the  Communications  Division.   Each
       tour consists of five (5) consecutive days followed by two (2)
       days off.
       Truck:   A  piece  of  aerial  apparatus  equipped with ground
       ladders and standard ladder company equipment.
       Truck Company:  Same as "Ladder Company."
       Uniform  Members:   Those members of the department authorized
       by the Fire Chief to wear the Fire Department Uniform.
       Unit:  One piece of apparatus or one company.
       Written Reprimand:  An official notification in writing by the
       Department Manager to the employee that  there  is  cause  for
       dissatisfaction  with  his?her  performance,  and that further
       disciplinary measures may be taken, if not corrected.
       Work  Shift:   For  all  department  positions,  except  those
       designated  by  the  Fire  Chief,  the  work  shift  shall  be
       twenty-four  (24) hours for Suppression personnel or eight and
       one-half (8.5) hours for Dispatchers.

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