Bradley began his firefighting career in 1948 with the Bessemer Fire Department after serving in the Navy during World War II. He worked for the Birmingham Fire Department from 1951 until 1973. He then worked as a fire inspector for an insurance company. In 1976 he was named Hoover's chief, and he held that position for 32 years, until his retirement on February 1, 2009.
The Hoover Fire Department grew from one station with 16 firefighters to nine stations with about 170 firefighters while Bradley was chief. In 2004, the main fire station was renamed in his honor.
- Walton, Val (January 6, 2009) "Hoover fire chief Tom Bradley to retire." Birmingham News