An army firefighter is a soldier who has chosen the job of firefighter as his or her military occupation. Trained in battle tactics and weapons handling during basic training, the army firefighter receives firefighting training after basic training and continues to be trained throughout his or her military career. Military bases are susceptible to fires due to the use of exploding ordinance on firing ranges as well as from the daily operations of a military base that is often equal to or larger than the size of the closest civilian town. The dangers of fighting a fire on a military installation are commonly increased for the army firefighter as compared to that of a civilian firefighter.
Some of the dangers facing the army firefighter are frequent aircraft landing and departing, as aircraft are often armed with explosives, as well as the presence of ammunition in nearly every building on base. Many of the fire response sites for the army firefighter are difficult to reach. Remote campsites are often accessible only by tank track or helicopter, leaving the firefighter with a battle just to reach the fire. Training for the firefighter is above and beyond that of the typical army soldier as the requirements of a firefighter surpass those of the average soldier.
Along with firefighter training, the army soldier is first and foremost a combat soldier and must undergo training to remain fresh and sharp. Marksmanship, physical agility and tactics are trained, practiced and exercised on a frequent basis, leaving little opportunity for free time. Vehicle maintenance and cleaning are also left to the army firefighter and can take up much of the typical leisure time of the soldier. In addition to maintaining a constant state of readiness to combat any type of fire, the army firefighter is also tasked with making public presentations on fire safety and awareness and visiting schools on base to speak with students about fire safety.
The firefighters are first responders for most accidents and other emergency calls on the installation and frequently serve a specific area outside of the military base's walls to assist the local civilian fire services. The army firefighter is a front line soldier on the battlefield as well as at the scenes of fires, natural disasters and public education demonstrations. Typically trained in first-aid procedures, the army firefighters can be valuable lifesavers on the scene of a fire, traffic accident or on the front lines of a battlefield.