It doesn’t matter if he is called the foreman, lieutenant, captain, or the chief; regardless of the title,, the ranking fire officer at the scene of an emergency has a tremendous burden of responsibility. It is a burden that cannot be easily shared with anyone else. No emergency condition or complication is so severe, no situation so traumatic, that it relives the fire officer of the task of issuing the right orders to control the emergency. It is simplyexpected of him. His decisions often mean the difference between life and crippling injury or death. Sometimes the life an officer holds in his hands is that of a total stranger. Other times the lives are those of his own men. his decisions can also be measured in dollars and cents, in terms of property that is either saved or damaged or destroyed.
Ronny J. Coleman, Management of Fire Service Operations, (1978), Breton Publishers, ISBN: 0-87872-129-0