Im 20 years old. Just about to finish up my FS degree, and Im pro board ff1/2 certified. Im looking towards the future now and I'm pretty well stuck on the navy's DC job. I know it will not transfer over to civilian careers but thats what the degree I have is for Im just looking for an adventure! so I guess my only question is how much Fire service stuff will I be doing? Im told there is alot of general maintance involved w/ the job so what is the ratio of maintance to firefighter related work? also what will I be doing when Im not at sea? also any other exciting jobs in the navy that you could recommend? Thanks for your input in advance.
I spent twenty years as an engineer (but not a DCman) in the Navy and held every Shipboard firefighting qualification available to me. Most ships don't catch fire that often because good housekeeping is an absolute must, so I would say the ratio of maintenance to FF is probably 85% maintenance and 15% actual FF, to include drills and other training. In twenty years, 10 of it on ships, I probably only had 20 fires and most of them class "c" with two major class "b" fires. Maintenance is never ending. Everything that's used for firefighting is inspected at regular intervals just like in the civilian world. As a junior DC, you'll be doing a lot of it. It's repetative and not exciting stuff. Everybody onboard ship gets some basic firefighting. As the Navy's professional firefighters, DCs train the rest of the crew. Senior DCmen plan and evaluate drill scenarios to ensure the crew can recover from damage.
I assume when you ask "not at sea" you mean when you're not stationed aboard ship. It's called shore duty. Well you could potentially teach advanced FF, be a drill instructor, be on a mobile inspection team once you get senior enough, recruiting duty than there are jobs that are not career specific, like running barracks at a Navy base. The only thing that I was able to transfer directly over was my Instructor certification. The Navy's school (at least when I went through it exceeded what NFPA and the state of TX requires, so I got Instructor I. But that was it. Let me know if you have anymore questions. Good Luck.
how much Fire service stuff will I be doing?
Depends on how you look at it, there is a big difference from shipboard FF and that of a civilian dept. In the Navy, there is no "defensive" operations, you either mitigate the emergency or it is a long swim to the shallow end. The fire service is vast and entails much, of which the Navy has it's own version and you can still apply experiences either way. Meaning what you learn in the Navy can be applied in the civilian realm and vice versa.
Im told there is alot of general maintance involved w/ the job so what is the ratio of maintance to firefighter related work?
Ton of maintainence, but then again it is mostly FF related. DC take care of the repair lockers and maintain and service the equipment from them, from SCBAs, cutting torches, thermal imagers, flooding equipment, portable pumps and so forth. They make sure the lockers are equipped and ready for emergencies. DC are also in charge of maintaining and servicing the fixed firefighting suppression systems, from HALON (or other clean agent), AFFF, hood systems in the galley, CO2 flooding systems to sprinklers. You learn the systems and for me, I can look at a system and understand it quickly because of my Navy training.
also what will I be doing when Im not at sea?
In port, you still do maintainence and service on equipment, that never ends. At sea you will be a part of an "AT Sea Fire Party" which responds to emergencies at sea before the ship would go to general quarters. In port you are part of an in port duty section and respond to emergencies in port. You will also be training other sailors in FF and damage control.
Make no mistake, the military is not everything you are told it will be. There are pros and cons and it is what you make of it. Despite your job, you will still do a lot of cleaning, lots of it, you do mess cranking where you are assigned to the messdecks for sometime. You do working parties, you do cleaning, you will be painting, you do cleaning, and so forth. You may get to see some great places, I was on a small ship and a carrier, I would take a small ship anyday. I've been to Europe several times and been places I never would have it it wasn't for the Navy.
also any other exciting jobs in the navy that you could recommend?
Here's the kicker. Right now the military is NOT hurting for recruits and as such there are people who are qualified but have no job yet. Meaning if you really wanted DC, it may not be available for you to get into and depending upon your attitude a recruiter may not work with you. Meaning if you go in wanting to be DC and only DC, the recruiter may just show you the door. Now, the nice thing is there are many jobs that are also interesting and some of which may help you out moreso on the outside. Electricy, electronic, mechanics and so forth are also good skills to know and could lead to a good PT job if one got in a career fire dept, or one could do such a job outside and be a volunteer. I found the engineering ratings more interesting, from diesel mechanics, electricians, hull techs, (welders/plumbing...they also work right alongside DC). Either way, determine what your intrests are and what you would like to do. The nice thing is pretty much anyone can get on the fire parties and still do DC work and any job still qualifies for veteran points for most career departments.