Fire captain

In most American and Canadian fire services, a captain ranks above a lieutenant and below a Battalion Chief, and therefore two grades above a regular firefighter. This varies, though, between departments In the Los Angeles County Fire Department, for example, engineer is the next lowest rank below captain.

Captain is a rank in various fire services.

A captain is typically in charge of a fire company, a group of firefighters who are assigned to the same fire apparatus.[1] The captain is responsible for the welfare and performance of the company's personnel and the maintenance of the apparatus. In a single-apparatus fire station, the captain will also be the overall manager of the station. Fire departments will typically arrange the shifts so that a captain can be present at most emergencies.[2] Besides those who work at fire stations, captains are employed in other roles such as managing training.

The rank of captain does not always have a direct equivalent in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries outside of Canada.[3] These fire services are more often organized around a "watch". Whereas a company is a group of firefighters who work different shifts on the same apparatus, a watch is a group of firefighters who work the same shift on more than one apparatus. Like a captain in American and Canadian fire departments, the watch manager will be two grades above a regular firefighter.

In the New Zealand Fire Service in the early 1980s, a captain was in charge of a station. The NZFS has now moved to senior station officer and station officer as station management ranks. The person in charge of a fire brigade is the chief fire officer, and captain is no longer used.


  1. "Fire/EMS Merger: An Examination of Cultural Differences". Fire Engineering. 1998-09-01. Retrieved 2018-09-28.
  2. "What Are the Firefighter Ranks?". Fire Rescue 1. September 26, 2016. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  3. "Role Structure in the British Fire Service". Fire Safety Advice Centre. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
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