Fire captain

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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. This varies, though, between departments – in the Boston Fire Department, the captain is the officer in overall charge of a fire company. In the Los Angeles County Fire Department, for example, engineer is the next lowest rank below captain. A captain is in charge of a specific fire station or specific fire company. In the San Francisco Fire Department, for example, a captain is in charge of an Engine company, Truck company or Rescue Squad company. In paid departments, as opposed to volunteer departments, there may be a captain for each shift at each station. In these cases, the senior captain is responsible for the station overall. The captain is in charge of maintaining the station, ensuring that the crew is ready to respond, checking out the apparatus, and overseeing its readiness. The crew looks to the captain for leadership and guidance in both extreme life-threatening circumstances and during times of relaxation. He sets the overall attitude of the crew in relationship to the department and the general public. The head of the training division is often a captain, or there may be multiple captains reporting to a battalion chief of training. Additionally, captains may be assigned over other areas, such as hazardous material (Hazmat) response or Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

Captain is also approximately equivalent to the rank of Station Officer in the United Kingdom and some other Commonwealth countries.

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.