How to Address a Firefighter

Fire Fighter?  Retired Firefighter?

How would you address a county or municipal fire fighter?  What about retired firefighters?

Would you follow the same rules as one would with active duty and retired armed services personnel since many public safety organizations follow a similar rank structure as our armed services? Do I mention the fire department? E.g. Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD).

Would it be proper to use?
LAFD Captain Robert Esposito, (Retired)
—-—-—-—-– ALR

Dear ALR,  How to Address a Firefighter

Current firefighters are formally addressed by rank. Municipal fire departments have different ranks, but captain, lieutenant, and firefighter are common.

—-Official envelope:
—-—-(Rank) (Full Name), (Postnominal for Department)
—-—-Which looks like
—-—-—-Lieutenant Brian Sullivan, FDNY

—-Salutation: How to Address a Firefighter
—-(Rank)(Surname)
——–Which looks like
————Lieutenant Sullivan

Retired Firefighters: If a firefighter wants to continue using his/her rank in retirement, it is at his/her preference.

In speaking to many departments, they tell me that sometimes high retired officials do use their ranks in the context of ‘being a retired officer’ (e.g., at a retired officer’s meeting) … and they may use is socially among friends and family. The ranks they tend use in retirement include the ranks noted above under current firefighters, but also chief.

If they take a job when retired, they don’t use their rank in a civilian work situation. This is the same as the armed services which prohibit retired personnel from using ranks or ratings at another job. You can’t have a retired Chief selling fire equipment back to his department and wanting to be addressed by rank!

—-Official envelope:
—-—-Captain Robert Esposito, LAPD Retired
—-—-—-or
—-—-Captain Robert Esposito, LAPD Ret.

Neither the post-nominal for the department (NYFD, LAFD, CFD, etc.) nor the ‘Retired’ is noted on social correspondence.  These patterns are the same as in the U.S. Armed services. For more on this see Use of Rank by Retired Personnel.

– Robert Hickey How to Address a Firefighter

Not Finding Your Question Answered?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  After checking the list and reading the posts, if you don’t see your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, I will post the question & answer – always changing the names and specifics.

— Robert Hickey

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