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Training and Education

The Heat Is On

Aircraft Firefighting Shipboard Team Trainer Course

The sweat is dripping down their faces as temperatures reach up to 300 degrees. The adrenaline is rushing and it feels like their hearts are going to beat out of their chests.

The Aircraft Firefighting Shipboard Team Trainer Course at Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit, in Pensacola, Florida, prepares Sailors for the real-life situations they may encounter on the ship.

The course gives Sailors a refresher on fire safety and teaches them how to work together as a team, said Damage Controlman 1st Class Adam High, a course instructor.

It's vital for them to come down and get this training. It's imperative that they know what to do. It has to be automatic for them to react." - DC1 Adam High

Ships' crews run drills to simulate certain scenarios, however, when Sailors come to the course they face live firefighting.

There's an aircraft on the training site that is engulfed in flames. The Sailors must dress out in their proximity suits, or "spacesuits", put on their self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), grab a hose and spray water on the flames. In addition to putting out fires, Sailors also practice rescuing aircrew members from the burning aircraft.
Collage of Pensacola Firefighting.

They also use the P-25 mobile firefighting unit to help extinguish the fire. The P-25 can shoot 750 gallons of firefighting agent. Two P-25s are required to be on the flight deck during flight operations.

"Safety is always the number one priority," said High. "We tell them from day one that everything is about safety."

Most Sailors who come to the course are on ships going through overhauls, extensive yard periods, or preparing to deploy. Sailors can take the skills they learn at this course back to their ships and teach others through drills and training.

Training is a constant thing in the Navy. It is what keeps Sailors mission ready and the Navy the finest warfighting force that it is.

"It's all about coming together, working together, and knowing each person's job," said High. "That's exactly what we tell them: each one teach one."