Davan Scott has been intrigued with being a firefighter ever since he was a kid. He also shares a strong passion for ships and everything nautical. “Small Navy ships used to visit Duluth on their Great Lakes cruises. I never missed a chance to get onboard,“ he said. “On one tour, I discovered an educational display that had firefighting gear set up. Finding out that you could be a firefighter on a ship blew my mind!”
As an adult, he has achieved his dream of firefighting on land and sea, combining his interests to enjoy an exciting dual-track career in the Navy and with the Duluth Fire Department. He now serves as the Commanding Officer of Twin Ports Division. He has also been a firefighter with Duluth Fire Department for nearly three years.
“I was hired when the All-Hazard Fire Response boat was in its planning phases. I was fortunate enough to be selected as one of the pilots to captain the boat. Being a sailor, I’m right at home on the water and enjoy every opportunity I can get aboard Marine 19. This boat is a major improvement to the DFD response capabilities and a needed one for the world’s largest freshwater harbor.”
While serving in the Navy on active duty, he was a damage controlman, also known as a shipboard fire fighter. Scott was deployed twice and participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, anti-piracy operations in Africa and Operation Unified Response for the Haiti earthquake. He returned to Duluth and Twin Ports Division in 2010, where he continues to drill one weekend per month. Scott will take his boards in May 2020 for a Public Affairs Officer position in Minneapolis.
Scott earned his Firefighting A.A.S. degree at LSC in 2013. He appreciated the LSC program for its hands-on, practical approach. “I recommend LSC’s fire school. All of my instructors were current and retired Duluth firefighters with extensive experience and knowledge. Since the instructors work in the business, they are passionate about what they do.”
When considering a firefighter career, Scott said to make sure upfront it’s what you want to do. “The fire service isn’t one of those jobs that you can easily try and then move on to something else if it’s not for you,” he said. “Most people find this out pretty fast in the training.” He noted that dealing with confined spaces/equipment, heavy objects, heights, physical exertion, dangerous environments, fire, sometimes graphic medical emergencies, medical skillsets, tools, operating under stress, lack of sleep and time away from home are just some of the factors that go into this job.
He encourages individuals who are interested in firefighting to get experience by earning an EMT, first responder, Fire I or II, or any other relatable credential. “Once you get EMT-qualified, work medical standby gigs or try and get hired on an ambulance service to gain experience. This will help develop your skills as a medical provider as most fire responses are medical.”
Finally, Scott says to never give up on your dreams and goals, no matter what twists and turns life may throw at you. He was a Navy SEAL candidate in his first year of active duty service in 2006, BUD/s Class 261, and had physically prepared beforehand for two years straight. “During the SEAL indoctrination process, I developed shin splints that turned into significant tip/fib stress fractures in both legs. Due to this, I was medically disqualified from the SEAL program,” he said. “I was devastated.”
Scott had to wait to receive new orders to a ship in the Naval fleet. “I was still required to condition and exercise all day, every day with the spec ops guys, until my orders came, even though I knew I was no longer able to continue in the SEAL process. During those two months I learned a lot about myself. By working with SEALS, SWCC, DIVERS, and other members of the Navy special operations community, I realized that through all of that, I never quit. I endured more physical punishment than some people ever will their entire lives, but I never quit.”
“This prepared me for the Duluth Fire Department hiring process. I told myself that I wouldn’t quit applying until I was hired, no many times it could take. Fortunately, I did not need to institute this mantra for too long, the hard work paid off! My advice for anyone applying to the fire department of their choice is to stay on it and never give up. LSC’s Firefighting program is a great way to give yourself that competitive edge.”