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When addressing police or jail staff, a lot of times you address them as "[Rank] [Last Name]", such as "Sgt. Smith" or "Lt. Reynolds". If you don't know their rank though, you can resort to "Officer [Last Name]". (Again, I'm just referring to police and jail guards there, not military.)

What's the equivalent for firefighters? They have military-style ranks, but what if you don't know a firefighter's rank?

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    If you mistakenly refer to a military sergeant as "officer" you'll get a stern "I'm not an officer, I work for a living" response.
    – Barmar
    Nov 10, 2017 at 19:48
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    I think you can refer to them as "Fireman Jones".
    – Barmar
    Nov 10, 2017 at 19:49

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If I were speaking to the firefighter, I would probably address him or her as Sergeant (?) Jones, with a rising inflection on Sergeant. Then it is up to the firefighter to correct me. Actually, ma'am, I'm the fire captain. Or, Actually, ma'am, I'm a Fire Officer. No one will be insulted at being called a sergeant, unless of course he is wearing insignia of a higher rank.

If I were writing about a particular firefighter, I would write: I do not know his rank, but Fire Officer Jones bravely saved my cat, and I am grateful beyond words.

According to The Wall Street Guide to Essential Business St [sic] police or fire should preface the rank if necessary to be clear. ... police Sgt... or ...fire Lt....

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    This might work where firefighters use military-style ranks. You'd come across as rather odd using sergeant in the UK where ranks go firefighter, leading firefighter, sub officer,station officer...
    – Chris H
    Nov 11, 2017 at 7:32

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