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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, a working or undress uniform and a 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Present day ranks structure has been superceded by a role based structure which means the marking you see worn by fire officers has been modified.
|Role||Abbreviation||Responsibilities||Role collar markings||Helmet|
|Firefighter||Ff||Check role map||None||Yellow helmet, no markings
|Crew Manager||CM||Check role map||Yellow helmet, two 12.5mm black bands
|Watch Manager||WM||Check role map||White helmet with black comb 12.5mm black band
|Station Manager||SM||Check role map||White Helmet with black comb 19mm black band
|Group Manager||GM||Check role map||White Helmet with black comb 19mm & 12.5mm black bands
|Area Manager||AM||Check role map||White Helmet with black comb two 19mm black bands
|Brigade Manager||BM||Check role map||Brigade manager||White Helmet with black comb 38mm black band
|Deputy brigade manager|
|Assistant brigade manager|
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.
Assistant Divisional Officer
Senior Divisional Officer
Assistant Chief Fire Officer
Deputy Chief Fire Officer
Chief Fire Officer
|Firefighter||Ff||General station Duties||Yellow helmet, no markings
|Leading firefighter||Lff||Officer in charge of an appliance||Yellow helmet, 12mm black band
|Sub officer||SubO||Officer in charge of a watch or deputy officer in charge of a watch||Yellow helmet, two 12mm black bands
|Station Officer||StnO||Officer in charge of a watch or station commander||White helmet with black comb 12mm black band
|Assistant Divisional Officer||ADO||Station commander or staff duties||White helmet with black comb 18mm black band
|Divisional Officer (Grades I II III)||DO||Command Officers||White helmet with black comb 18mm & 12mm black bands
|Senior Divisional Officer||SDO||Commander, Functional and Division||White Helmet with black comb 18mm & 12mm black bands
|Assistant Chief Fire Officer||ACFO||Assistant to the CFO||White helmet with black comb two 18mm black bands
|Deputy Chief Fire Officer||DCFO||Assistant to the CFO and deputize in his absence||White helmet with black comb two 18mm black bands
|Chief Fire Officer||CFO||General Brigade Manager||White helmet with black comb 40mm black band
Categories:Miscellaneous Fire Safety Issues
March 28, 2011[Last updated: February 15, 2021]