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Captain is a rank in various fire services.

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.

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 is also the overall manager of the station. Fire departments 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 is 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.