7 Ways Industrial Firefighters Differ from Regular Ones

7 Ways Industrial Firefighters Differ from Regular Ones


When it comes to firefighting, there are various specialisations within the field. One such specialisation is industrial firefighting, which sets it apart from regular firefighting in several ways. Industrial firefighters are trained to handle emergencies specific to industrial settings, such as manufacturing plants, refineries, and chemical facilities. Their role involves not only extinguishing fires but also mitigating hazardous materials incidents and conducting rescue operations in complex environments.


Unlike regular firefighters who primarily respond to emergencies in residential areas or public spaces, industrial firefighters focus on protecting workers and property within industrial facilities. They undergo specialised training that equips them with the knowledge of handling unique hazards present in these environments. From dealing with flammable chemicals and explosive materials to understanding intricate machinery systems, their expertise extends beyond traditional fire suppression techniques.


Another key difference lies in the resources available to industrial firefighters. In addition to standard firefighting equipment like hoses and extinguishers, they often have access to specialised tools such as foam generators for combating chemical fires or high-capacity water pumps for tackling large-scale incidents. This ensures that they can effectively address the specific challenges posed by industrial emergencies.

Overall, while both regular and industrial firefighters share a common goal of protecting lives and property from fire hazards, the specialised knowledge, training, and resources possessed by industrial firefighters give them an edge when it comes to managing emergencies within complex industrial settings.


What is an Industrial Firefighter?

An industrial firefighter is a highly skilled professional who specialises in firefighting and emergency response within industrial settings. Unlike regular firefighters who primarily respond to residential and commercial fires, industrial firefighters are trained to handle the unique challenges and hazards found in industries such as manufacturing plants, chemical facilities, oil refineries, and power generation plants.

Industrial firefighters undergo extensive training to develop the necessary skills and knowledge required for their specialised role. 


They are equipped with advanced firefighting techniques, specialised equipment, and a thorough understanding of industry-specific safety protocols. Their main objective is to prevent fires from occurring or escalating within industrial facilities and to effectively respond if a fire does break out.


Here are some key characteristics that differentiate an industrial firefighter from a regular one:

  1. Specialised Training: Industrial firefighters receive specific training tailored towards handling hazardous materials, working in confined spaces, dealing with high-pressure systems, understanding complex machinery operations, and implementing effective emergency response plans.
  2. Knowledge of Industry Regulations: Industrial firefighters must possess a detailed understanding of relevant industry regulations pertaining to fire prevention measures, safety protocols for handling hazardous substances, evacuation procedures, and environmental compliance standards.
  3. Risk Assessment Skills: Industrial environments can present various risks such as chemical spills, explosions, structural collapses, or electrical incidents. Industrial firefighters are trained to assess potential hazards proactively so they can mitigate risks before emergencies occur.
  4. Collaboration with On-Site Personnel: Industrial firefighters work closely with on-site personnel such as plant operators and maintenance teams to ensure that firefighting efforts align with operational needs while minimising disruptions.
  5. Advanced Equipment Usage: In addition to traditional firefighting gear like helmets and protective clothing, industrial firefighters utilise specialised equipment such as thermal imaging cameras for detecting hidden fires or gas detection devices for monitoring air quality during emergencies.
  6. Emergency Planning Expertise: Industrial firefighters play a crucial role in developing comprehensive emergency response plans specific to industrial settings. This includes conducting drills, training employees on evacuation procedures, and coordinating with local emergency services.
  7. Continuous Learning: Given the evolving nature of industrial hazards and safety protocols, industrial firefighters engage in ongoing professional development to stay updated on the latest firefighting techniques, equipment advancements, and regulatory changes.
There are several ways to be come an industrial firefighter. If you are in the United States or are looking to break out overseas, the NFPA based courses (NFPA 1081 Advanced and Interior) run by TEEX (Texas A&M Engineering Extension) are a great place to start.  
Within Australia, working towards a Certificate III in Emergency Response and Rescue through an RTO such as Baseline Training and getting industry experience in a gas or coal mine can start the process of becoming an industrial firefighter. 
Reach out to Kevin Waterman on my Contact Me page if you would like to know more about industrial firefighting or to hire an industrial firefighting consultant.