Role Structure in the British Fire Service

Insignia worn in the British Fire and Rescue Service

At the turn of the century the Fire Brigade was a branch of the the Police Force (thus fire bobby) and the rank structure was that of police. When the Fire Service was made independent of the police a new rank structure and markings was designed for the uniform which was revamped in 1960′s. Now there are numerous styles used but the insignia remains constant. There are basically two uniforms worn by a firefighters, his working or undress uniform and his fire tunic.

Originally all uniforms had epaulettes and this is were the rank marking were worn. The rank markings are made of chrome metal or embroidery on navy blue material. They now can be worn on the epaulettes or the collar. They consist of 12.5mm and 3mm bars, large and small impellers [they are not pips] and laurel wreaths, these are used in different configurations.

The original fire tunic was based on a lancer uniform with epaulettes and the rank marking based on cavalry insignia. It consisted of 12.5mm bars, horseshoes, straps and different thickness of chain mail. In the 1960′s this was changed and the undress uniform insignia was used on fire tunics. When the latest type of tunic was introduced it had no epaulettes consequently cloth ranks markings were used so you did not need to puncture the water proof material. [This was also because of health and safety considerations]. Fire and Rescue Services now fix the rank markings to the collar of their uniforms except were formal undress uniforms are used and then they use the epaulettes.

Present day ranks structure has been superceded by a role based structure which means the marking you see worn by fire officers has been modified.

Firefighter
Crew Manager
Watch Manager
Station Manager
Group Manager
Area Manager
Brigade Manager
 

Role Abbrev Responsibilities
Firefighter Ff Check Role Map
Role Collar Markings 

 

NONE

Helmet.
New Helmet FFYellow Helmet no markings

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Role Abbrev Responsibilities
Crew Manager CM Check Role Map
Role Collar Markings
CM Rank Markings
Helmet.
New Helmet CMYellow Helmet two 12.5mm black bands

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Role Abbrev Responsibilities
Watch Manager WM Check Role Map
Role Collar Markings
 WM Rank Markings
Helmet.
New Helmet WMWhite Helmet with black comb 12.5mm black band

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Role Abbrev Responsibilities
Station Manager SM Check Role Map
Role Collar Markings
SM  Rank Markings
Helmet.
New Helmet SMWhite Helmet with black comb 19mm black band

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Role Abbrev Responsibilities
Group Manager GM Check Role Map
Role Collar Markings
GM  Rank Markings
Helmet.
New Helmet GMWhite Helmet with black comb 19mm & 12.5mm black bands

 

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Role Abbrev Responsibilities
Area Manager AM Check Role Map
Role Collar Markings
AM  Rank Markings
Helmet.
New Helmet AMWhite Helmet with black comb two 19mm black bands

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Role Abbrev Responsibilities
Brigade Manager BM
Role Collar Markings
BM  Rank MarkingsBrigade Manager 

BM  Rank MarkingsDeputy Brigade Manager

BM  Rank MarkingsAssistant Brigade Manager

Helmet. 

New Helmet BM

White Helmet with black comb 38mm black band

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The above information is in accordance with Dear Chief Officers Letter no5 of 2004, Item C (DCOL 5/2004 Item C) and the images were supplied by Bruce Wilson.

 

The Old Fire Service Rank Markings.

Firefighter
Leading FireFighter
Sub Officer
Station Officer
Assistant Divisional Officer
Divisional Officer
Senior Divisional Officer
Assistant Chief Fire Officer
Deputy Chief Fire Officer
Chief Fire Officer

 

Rank Abbrev Responsibilities
Firefighter Ff General station Duties
Rank Markings
Firefighter markings
Helmet.
fire fighters HelmetYellow Helmet no markings

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Rank Abbrev Responsibilities
Leading Firefighter LFf Officer in charge of an appliance
Rank Markings
Lff Rank Markings
Helmet.
Lff HelmetYellow Helmet 12mm black band

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Rank Abbrev Responsibilities
Sub Officer SubO Officer in charge of a watch or Deputy Officer in charge of a watch
Rank Markings
SubO Rank Markings
Helmet.
SubO HelmetYellow Helmet two 12mm black bands

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Rank Abbrev Responsibilities
Station Officer StnO Officer in charge of a watch or Station Commander
Rank Markings
Helmet.
StnO HelmetWhite Helmet with black comb 12mm black band

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Rank Abbrev Responsibilities
Assistant Divisional Officer ADO Station Commander or Staff Duties
Rank Markings
ADO Rank Markings
Helmet.
ADO HelmetWhite Helmet with black comb 18mm black band

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Rank Abbrev Responsibilities
Divisional Officer (Grades I II III) DO Command Officers
Rank Markings
Divisional Officer Rank Markings
Helmet.
Divisional Officers HelmetWhite Helmet with black comb 18mm & 12mm black bands

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Rank Abbrev Responsibilities
Senior Divisional Officer SDO Commander, Functional and Division
Rank Markings
Senior Divisional Officers Markings
Helmet.
Senior Divisional Officers HelmetWhite Helmet with black comb 18mm 12mm black bands

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Rank Abbrev Responsibilities
Assistant Chief Fire Officer ACFO Assistant to the CFO
Rank Markings
Assistant Chief Fire Officers Markings
Helmet.
Assistant Chief Fire Officers HelmetWhite Helmet with black comb two 18mm black bands

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Rank Abbrev Responsibilities
Deputy Chief Fire Officer DCFO Assistant to the CFO and deputize in his absence
Rank Markings
Deputy Chief Fire Officers Markings
Helmet.
Deputy Chief Fire Officers HelmetWhite Helmet with black comb two 18mm black bands

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Rank Abbrev Responsibilities
Chief Fire Officer CFO General Brigade Manager
Rank Markings
Chief Fire Officers Markings
Helmet.
Chief Fire Officers HelmetWhite Helmet with black comb 40mm black band

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