What Are the Different Types of Military Firefighters?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Images By: Maimento, Ingus Evertovskis, Commander, U.s. 7Th Fleet
  • Last Modified Date: 01 April 2020
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There are several types of military firefighters, with several kinds found in each branch of the different services. Different types of firefighters are included among the ranks on many military bases, from the typical structure firefighters to ordinance and aircraft crash firefighters. The navy has several types of military firefighters on board different types of ships. Navy aircraft carriers require not only firefighters specialized in saving the ship, but firefighters specialized in flight deck accidents and a team equipped and trained to fight fires below decks in the nuclear reactor of a propulsion unit.

Most military bases are filled with all of the different fire threats of a large city. Military firefighters must be capable of fighting not only a house or structure fire, but a downed aircraft, forest fire or a wide array of other fires. With many fires being the result of exploded munitions, the dangers facing military firefighters include not only the fire itself, but the unexploded devices that lie in and around the actual burning fire. The type of military base and the actions common there typically dictate what types of firefighting units are stationed.


Many air force bases, like naval bases and ships, require the need of several types of military firefighters. They include the most basic firefighter to the most extensively trained firefighter capable of extinguishing plane crash fires as well as those fires that involve unexploded munitions and bulk fuels. These firefighters must be trained in the use of both water and chemical firefighting techniques in order to be successful in all types of fires. The exotic materials used in the construction of aircraft create often difficult-to-extinguish fires that can also lead to unsafe fumes and burn risks to the firefighters.

All members of a ship's crew are trained in basic firefighting techniques. This is due to the tremendous danger fire poses to any ship. There are, however, dedicated firefighters aboard every ship concerned primarily with the task of extinguishing fires. Modern military ships have another danger that concerns the firefighters: the atomic powered reactor. Often, knowing what not to cover with water is as important as knowing what to cover with water when fighting a fire on board a nuclear-powered vessel. These navy-type military firefighters are commonly cross-educated in nuclear propulsion in order to recognize and be able to repair some problems within the reactor room that might otherwise jeopardize the entire ship if left untreated.


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