Seattle Fire Dept. trains with U.S. Navy on shipboard fires

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SILVERDALE, Wash. – Navy Region Northwest Fire and Emergency Services (NRNW F&ES) has joined forces with the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) to train on shipboard firefighting. The partnership extends to Navy vessels undergoing maintenance in Seattle. The agreement allows for SFD’s regional response to support the resources assigned to Navy installations throughout the Puget Sound. The Navy currently maintains 43 partnership agreements with other fire departments in the greater Puget Sound area.

In October, the Navy hosted a major shipboard fire drill on board the USS Houston (SSN 713), a Los Angeles class attack submarine at Naval Base Kitsap – Bangor. SFD sent their Marine Emergency Response Team (MERT), the largest organized team within Puget Sound, to the drill. The MERT operates four NIMS Type 1 Fire Boats, each with a pump capacity of more than 5,000 gallons per minute. Under the Memorandum of Agreement with the United States Coast Guard, SFD is designated the primary MERT within Puget Sound.  In December, the Navy invited Seattle Fire onboard the USS Gridley (DDG 101), an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, for still more joint training.

“This has been a great opportunity to grow our partnership with the Navy,” said Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins. “It provides our MERT members the ability to drill on unique platforms and train with other organizations focused on combating shipboard fires.”

January 25 the Navy again sponsored firefighting training onboard the USS Stennis (CVN-74), a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. This was a standard fire drill with shipboard forces and NRNW F&ES. “Everyone onboard ship has firefighting duties,” said Kurt Waeschle, NRNW F&ES Chief. The Stennis, with 6,500 officers and crew (with embarked airwing) has 200 full-time firefighters assigned to duty when she is underway.

Fire departments are a band of brothers, Waeschle explained. “We all rely upon one another,” he said. “Just like any team, we must train together before the big game. It’s too late to begin working together come kickoff.”

NRNW F&ES currently has 193 firefighters in the Puget Sound area including a staff of 55 firefighters available daily. The firefighters have three ladder trucks, seven fire engines, and one crash truck available per shift.

NRNW F&ES currently has active partnerships with Seattle FD, Kitsap County, City of Bremerton, Poulsbo Fire, Fairchild Air Force Base, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Jefferson County, Island County, Snohomish County, and many others. NRNW F&ES was involved with 497 mutual aid responses off installation last year, which accounts for nearly 25

For more information about the U.S. Navy Region Northwest, please call (360) 396-1630, or visit:


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