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Posted on: March 20, 2023

Inside Billings Fire Department's Officer Development Program: Six train to become captains


The City of BIllings would like to congratulate the newest Captain-Qualified members of the Billings Fire Department!

Steve Noe, Lee Weis, Levi Bogunovich, Taig O’Donnell, Ole Hedstrom, and Peter Sulser recently completed the four-week-long Officer Development Program.

When a fire crew arrives at the scene of an incident, it’s easy to spot the captain because they’re riding in the front passenger seat.


It’s their job to make decisions and direct their crew, so you’ll see them on the radio sharing information with dispatchers, and incoming Fire/EMS units.

The Billings Fire Department has a total of 30 full-time captains.

The newest six plus an additional 8 are Hi-C Captains  (Hi-C meaning Higher Classification), and step into the role of captain when they’re needed.  They’ll become full-fledged captains when a position opens, usually due to a retirement in the department. 

IMG_3807Hi-C Captain Taig O'Donnell uses a radio to communicate to the batallion chief. 

When they’re not called to an emergency, Captains oversee that everything runs smoothly at the fire station, assist with training/public education and facilitate their crew’s needs.

Each of the new Hi-C captains went through comprehensive training, including a day of hands-on scenarios which included a three-vehicle crash, a gas leak, structure fire, wildland fire, and others.

IMG_3830Hi-C Captain Lee Weis talks on a radio during a gas leak scenario. 

Captains also do an initial assessment of a fire scene so they can share that information when Deputy Fire Marshalls arrive to investigate.

See what the department does to get them prepared for that portion of training here: 

Congratulations and thank you to our newest Hi-C captains of Billings Fire Department!

IMG_3882Hi-C Captain Peter Sulser talks on the radio during a day of scenario training.


Captains are easy to spot when they arrive on scene because they are sitting in the front passenger seat, "the captain's seat." 


Hi-C Captain Ole Hedstrom during the final week of Officer Development Training. 

IMG_3905Hi-C Captain Levi Bogunovich steps off of Truck 1.


Hi-C Captain Peter Sulser arrives at a dumpster fire scenario and relays information about the scene over the radio. 


Hi-C Captain Steve Noe smiles for the camera before heading off to the next scenario during ODP training.