I am a newly promoted battalion chief with the the Jackson Township Fire Department, so I thought I would use this opportunity to explain to the residents we serve what the role of a battalion chief is, and what duties and responsibilities my job entails.

A battalion chief is the rank and title of a subordinate fire chief or commanding officer in the firefighting-command structure.

Fire personnel have three, 24-hour shifts that work one, two and three units at the Jackson Township Fire Department. Each shift starts at 8 a.m. and works until 8 a.m. the next morning, and is assigned a battalion chief who is in charge of more than 20-unit personnel for that shift and performing tasks such as scheduling, approving time sheets and a variety of other administrative duties.

Battalion chiefs play an important role in the fire service; they work hand-in-hand with police departments and any other agency that would be involved in any kind of large-scale incident. Battalion chiefs respond to several different types of calls where they assume the important role of incident commander. A few examples of these calls are house fires, fire alarms, motor-vehicle accidents and domestic-violence calls.

An example of what a battalion chief does on these calls is setting up a designated command post on the outside of a house.

The battalion chief will make a decision based on the conditions of the house on whether or not to send crews into the house to attack the fire or attack the fire from the outside. These are vital life-safety decisions that have to be made for the safety of residents and crews fighting the fire.

If the crews go inside for a fire attack, the battalion chief will communicate with the crews inside over a walkie-talkie, and the crews inside will tell the battalion chief the conditions inside the structure. The battalion chief will then make a decision on whether or not to continue the current firefighting tactics based on the conditions of the outside and inside of a structure.

That was just one example of what a battalion chief does. The service that first responders provide is very dynamic and unpredictable, creating the need for a higher level of supervision for everyone's safety.

Residents can always stop by for a tour or more information if they are interested in learning more about the position of the battalion chief or any other position at the Jackson Township Fire Department.

More information about a career in firefighting is available at com.ohio.gov/fire. We welcome the public and take pride in serving the residents in the community.

Jason Burley, a battalion chief with the Jackson Township Fire Department, can be reached at 614-875-5588.