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What Is an Air Force Firefighter?

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  • Written By: Amy Rodriguez
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2016
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A U.S. Air Force firefighter contains wildfires on military property, primarily Air Force structures and runways. In addition, this military specialty also includes search and rescue tactical response for domestic and international emergencies. Emergency response is not solely for fire suppression; an Air Force firefighter may be called upon to fight a biological or chemical danger as well.

The United States military has many Air Force bases throughout the world. These bases are normally comprised of numerous buildings and multiple runways for incoming and outgoing aircraft. Each base must have a firefighting force, preventing damage from natural wildfires and offensive military strikes, such as bombings. An Air Force firefighter must be on constant alert, ready to respond at all hours.

Another Air Force firefighter duty is search and rescue, especially after a damaging fire. Rubble and debris from a structural fire is highly unstable, making search efforts for a trapped person difficult and dangerous. These firefighters are specially trained to locate people with safety as a top priority.

An Air Force firefighter may even help United States' allies during an emergency. Natural disasters and military strikes create chaos within international communities. Firefighters may aid in search and rescue operations, as well as participate in training local emergency responders. This training can include firefighting science and safe rescue techniques. Some firefighting crews engage the trainees in developing escape routes, either by land, sea, or sky.

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Repairing and strengthening United States' and allied facilities is an additional duty of the Air Force firefighter. Water mains must be in good working order; some firefighters may inspect and repair water pipes for ample water access. Firefighting facilities housing the responders and all the necessary equipment must be organized specifically for a rapid response. Firefighters cannot be hindered by misplaced or lost equipment during an emergency.

Military combat has evolved to include chemical and biological warfare. In response, firefighters are specially trained to deal with these types of weapons. The firefighter will learn the components of the main chemical and biological weapons and how to extinguish the threat. Specialized firefighting suits must be worn to protect the person from inhaling the dangerous chemicals and any associated smoke.

This firefighting specialty is typically a first responder to a disaster area. As a result, an Air Force firefighter may be required to administer basic first aid to other military officers that are in need. The firefighter must remain with the injured person until medical personnel arrive at the scene.

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