Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) practice firefighting during a general quarters drill.

Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) practice firefighting during a general quarters drill.

Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower conduct a firefighting exercise during a general quarters drill aboard the carrier. “Ike” is in the Arabian Sea, deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, security cooperation efforts and support missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Luis Fiallos)

Firefighting is a vital task aboard naval vessels. A fire at sea can quickly turn into a disaster in the confined space of a ship and with the munitions and flammable materials stored in military vessels.

A sister ship of the Eisenhower, the USS Nimitz, learned this lesson the hard way in 1981 and has provided a case study in the importance of shipboard firefighting. After the crash of an EA-6B on the deck of the Nimitz in May 1981, the Navy took on an extensive research program to address “deficiencies in shipboard firefighting proceduresand systems and to identify potential areas for improvement,” according to a report. This led to changes in training, equipment, and response practices.

Interested in learning how to become a Navy Firefighter? Click here.