Navy Reserve Ratings Run Toward Worldwide Fires
Story by CPO Brian Morales on 05/01/2019
ANNAPOLIS, Md.– On a ship, every Sailor is expected to be able to fight fires while underway. On land, five Reserve detachments train to support shore-based fire stations world-wide for Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC).
Twenty-one Navy Reservists earned the title “firefighter” after completing 360 hours of training in Fire and Emergency Services (F&ES) Academy at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Annapolis, on April 19.
“We’re here to mark a very significant accomplishment,” said Capt. Moira E. McCarthy, commanding officer of Navy Reserve CNIC. “While your graduation marks the end of one thing, it really marks the beginning of another. These Sailors, these fire fighters began a process of preparation. This process of preparation which really has only one role and that is to make these Sailors ready for an emergency during an actual disasterAnd these Sailors are getting a lot and they’re going to do some extremely important job. “
Naval District Washington’s F&ES team instructed an eight-week training course, which normally takes 16 weeks, at NSA Annapolis and Naval Air Station Patuxent River. The firefighting students received firsthand training in: Fire Fighting 1, personal protective equipment and basic gear knowledge; Fire Fighting 2, practical live firefighting; Hazardous Material Awareness; Hazardous Material Operations, mitigation of hazardous material; and Airport Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF), airfield and aircraft familiarization.
Since graduating from the academy, these students will join the more than 110 F&ES Reserve Sailors that augment fire stations on installations around the world and earned the Navy Enlisted Classification Code D13A, shore base airport and aircraft firefighter.
“Even if you’re not an ABH (aviation boatswain’s mate [handling]), if you’re in(on) the ship, you get a good amount of shipboard firefighting training,’ said Hospital Corpsman (HM) 3rd Class Mark Sumabat, a former active duty ABH from Manila, Philippians who cross-rated to HM in the Reserves. “When I went back to the Reserves, I was assigned to a firefighting unit. Regardless of your rating in the Navy, you train for the billet.”
The Navy’s shore base airport and aircraft firefighter qualification is normally awarded to personnel in the ABH rating, only on active duty but has been available to primary non-ABH personnel assigned to Navy Reserve CNIC F&ES since 2015.
“Honestly, being a firefighter and being a corpsman, kind of goes hand and hand,” said Sumabat. “(They) kind of compliments each other because I believe the corpsman training, right now, the first part would be EMT [emergency medical technician] basic and being a firefighter, it also requires you to at least get your EMT basic certification to work in the ambulance, and to be able to handle patients.”
“The AB’ (aviation boatswain’s mate) experience I had helped with this course because we talked about firefighting on the flight deck and all that,” said Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class Samantha Him, from Jacksonville, N.C., referring to her prior experience of aircraft fire fighting on active duty. “But I had to also erase it blank. Not apply it here because it’s different firefighting techniques and learning that process here.”
The Reserve F&ES program was created in 2007 with 60 Sailors and only two detachments; A in Fort Dix, N.J. and B in San Diego. Since then, three more detachments were formed to provide worldwide installation support; C in Jacksonville, Fla., D in Norfolk and detachment Europe-Africa Southwest Asia in Fort Worth, Texas.
Fire stations on Navy installations are primarily manned by a civilian workforce, with a small contingent of active-duty Sailors. The F&ES Reserve Sailors are fully trained and equipped to provide support when and where needed – especially in the case of a natural or manmade disaster.
has grown to over 110 Sailors.
The Navy Installations Command team is comprised of approximately 3,500 Reservists spanning a wide range of units around the world. These reservists help augment the Navy Installations Command team of active duty Sailors and civilians that are responsible for the operations, maintenance, and quality of life programs to support the Navy’s fleet, Sailors, and their families. The Reserve force’s flexibility, responsiveness, and ability to serve across a wide spectrum of operations clearly enhances the Navy total force.