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The Incident Commander can fill the role of the Safety Officer with the exception of a Level II or III Hazardous Materials incident. In Toledo I was blessed because Chief Bell had the foresight to create a permanent position of safety officer. These were Lieutenants that were specially trained as safety officers. They worked the 24 hour platoon system and responded to all fires, extrications and specialty runs. How does your department fill the position and is it working for you.

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Skip,
My Assistant Chief fills the Safety Officer's spot, in our department. Both Chiefs live in the city, so we are fortunate to have both bosses on most working alarms. We also get Chiefs with our auto-aid companies, that can fill the safety officer slot if needed. Even though the A/C fills the regular slot, we have help coming that we can put into place quickly, if he is unavailable or has to assume the IC role. This has worked well for us, since I came on the job.

Jeff
In our area, the 2nd due Chief is the Safety Officer. With every FD in our area running at and below minumum, the Chiefs have agreed to respond to neighboring cities automatically to assist in Command.
We assign a safety officer at some, but not all incidents. We always have a safety officer at training. This is only due to some minor injuries that occured. We do not have one person assigned to the position. Being a combination department, we never know who will respond, so the position is assigned on-scene. We don't always assign the position to an officer. If we have an experienced firefighter, who is willing to fill the spot, he is assigned. Just like RIT, many guys don't want to go to a fire and not "play". It is a work in progress.
Two of my Three departments dont have a Safety Officer and one gets assigned on scene if one is needed per the IC. On my third department we have a Safety Officer and that is job at every scene he is at. Because we are a vol fire dept he isnt always able to respond to our fires so when he isnt there the IC assigns one. Our SO is a past chief and has experience in safety so it works out great when he is around.

Our Safety officers are past Chiefs / Former officers , with training in ICS 100,200,700,300, FF1 , hazmat , NYS Safety Officer Training, Basic EMS, ladder Ops.

they handle all safety reports , report directly to the IC/ Chief officer on calls, Investagate all accidents and injuries HAve the Authority to stop  and training if the training is being done unsafely

In our area, the 2nd due Chief Officer assumes the role of Safety Officer and yes, it works for us fine.  It is at the discretion of the Incident Commander to assign a Safety Officer or not.  Usually for every house fire, rescue, or extrication a Safety Officer is assigned.

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