Firefighters compete for promoted positions in the department.
A Fire Officer or Lieutenant oversees a crew at each station. On emergency calls, the Lieutenant will take command of the scene until a Chief Officer arrives. The officer has many different responsibilities, but ultimately, is responsible for the actions and safety of the crew.
Apparatus Engineer (AE) is another promoted position. This is the driver/operator of the engine or ladder. They need to be thoroughly familiar with the equipment, function and operation of all apparatus. Every morning, the AE checks the vehicle for proper operations. Everything from the light bulbs to the engine oil is checked and documented. At an emergency scene, the AE operates the pumps or the aerial ladders. Later in the day, the AE is the one who washes the rig (ever seen a dirty fire truck?) and if the rookie (least senior firefighter) is smart, they'll help too!
Paramedics are some of the busiest folks on the department. An MFD ambulance might respond on 22 calls in a 24 hour period. Did you know that Madison had one of the first paramedic ambulances in the country? After being selected for paramedic training, these firefighters must complete 6 months of intensive medical training before they are allowed to work on one of Madison's ambulances. Paramedics are well versed in pre-hospital medicine and respond to a wide variety of calls – anything ranging from cardiac arrest and automobile accidents to less complicated requests for service, like a nosebleed or broken arm. Madison Fire Department paramedics receive the highest level of training available in the emergency medical services field.
The City of Madison Fire Department Training Unit consists of four training officers who work as drillmasters under the supervision of Division Chief Lance Langer, Training Manager for the Department.
The Training Manager is responsible for planning, coordinating, and directing all training activities for the department. This is a massive effort as it includes driver training, officer development training, and various specialized training modules, such as handling of hazardous materials emergencies.
Training responsibilities also include the training of all new personnel. The City of Madison Fire Department´s Training Center is located at 1750 Pearson Street and is shared in conjunction with the Madison Area Technical College (MATC) Fire Education Center.