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What Is a Navy Firefighter?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A navy firefighter is an individual who has chosen and been accepted into the firefighting duty as his or her naval career rating, which is the navy's term for job. While all naval personnel are typically taught basic firefighting skills in navy boot camp, those who become navy firefighters are taught expanded and extensive firefighting, first aid and rescue training throughout their careers. To be prepared to deal with emergency situations, a navy firefighter is educated in the use of water and chemical firefighting as well as the inherent hazards in using both in the wrong application.

Fire is one of the most dangerous conditions on any ship, and the ability to combat and stop the fire is critical in any waterborne military craft. On a military vessel, a fire can easily start and spread throughout the entirety of the ship via ammunition stores, fuel tanks and fuel-burning machinery stored on and below decks. A navy firefighter must be prepared to suffer both burns and wounds stemming from on-board explosions in the event of any shipboard fire. The potential for deadly explosions is not limited to ships at sea, as ships docked and taking on or unloading stores are also prone to explosions and fires.

As a navy firefighter, an individual may be assigned to any area of operations that pertains to the naval forces. This can include both surface ships and submarines, as well as land and air stations. This is also one of the motivating factors behind the very diverse firefighting training given to navy firefighters. The task of containing and extinguishing an aircraft fire, shipboard fire or land-based structure fire are all equally prone to occurring at any time. Occasionally, the naval firefighter will be called upon to serve in the role of fire marshal and determine the cause of a given fire.

Due to the everyday operations of a naval ship, firefighting training is often some of the most intensive training of any firefighting training available anywhere. On any given day, a naval fire could involve aircraft fuel, diesel fuel and munitions. All of these fire types will typically be occurring at the same time on board a ship. First-aid is a very important role in a firefighter's job, and this is often multiplied exponentially in the job of a navy firefighter. Lifesaving measures as well as advanced first aid are major components in the training to become a navy firefighter.

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