Military Career: Firefighters
Military bases have their own fire departments. Military firefighting units are responsible for protecting lives and property on base from fire. Firefighters put out, control, and help prevent fires in buildings, aircraft, and aboard ships.
What They Do
Firefighters in the military perform some or all of the following duties:
- Operate pumps, hoses, and extinguishers
- Force entry into aircraft, vehicles, and buildings in order to fight fires and rescue personnel
- Drive firefighting trucks and emergency rescue vehicles
- Give first aid to injured personnel
- Inspect aircraft, buildings, and equipment for fire hazards
- Teach fire protection procedures
- Repair firefighting equipment and fill fire extinguishers
Branches of the Military
Helpful school subjects include health and general science. Helpful attributes include:
- Ability to remain calm under stress
- Ability to think and act decisively
- Willingness to risk injury to help others
Job training consists of 7 to 11 weeks of classroom training, including practice in fighting fires. Further training occurs on the job. Course content typically includes:
- Types of fires
- Firefighting equipment operations
- Firefighting procedures
- First aid procedures
- Rescue procedures
Good vision without glasses and a clear speaking voice are required to enter some specialties in this occupation. Firefighters have to climb ladders and stairs. They must also be able to lift and carry injured personnel.
Firefighters work indoors and outdoors while fighting fires. They are exposed to the smoke, heat, and flames of the fires they fight.
Civilian firefighters work for city and county fire departments, other government agencies, and industrial firms. They perform duties similar to those performed by military firefighters, including rescue and salvage work.
Below is a list of similar civilian occupations:
The services have about 8,000 firefighters. Each year, they need new firefighters due to changes in personnel and the demands of the field. After training, new firefighters perform work under close supervision. With experience, they work more independently and may supervise others. Eventually, they may become chiefs of base fire departments or similar units.
Source: U.S. Department of Defense, Washington D.C.