Recruit Training

Once offered a position, all candidates must successfully complete our in-house, paid recruit training program. Upon successful completion of recruit school, firefighter recruits are assigned to an Operations Division company to complete their probationary year. Upon satisfactory completion of a probationary firefighter's first year, they receive Firefighter II certification and permanent appointment as a Firefighter.

The Seattle Fire Department's recruit training program is nationally recognized. Seattle was the first fire department in Washington state to receive accreditation for its firefighter training program in a national accreditation system.

In addition to comprehensive classroom instruction, the program includes training in firefighting techniques and equipment use. The Seattle Recruit School is known as a hands-on, drill-intensive training program. Recruits are evaluated daily and must successfully complete all training elements in order to graduate.

This physically and mentally intense 15.5-week program consists of approximately 700 hours of training. Candidates who are able to meet the challenge of Seattle's Recruit Training program, will earn Firefighter I Certification, as well as training in Technical Rescue, Hazardous Materials and Driver/Pump Operator.

Preparing for Recruit Training

Before recruit training begins, an orientation night is offered by the Seattle Fire Department for both the new firefighter recruit and their primary partner to learn more about the training program and what to expect, as well as ideas on how to prepare for this intensive time.

There are times that the demands on the recruit may impact family members and/or partners. The department offers recruits a number of resources and support systems during this time.

Advice from the Recruit Coordinator

Candidates are evaluated throughout recruit school in the areas of safety, manipulative skills, motivation and cognitive performance. To succeed in the Seattle Fire Department's intense recruit training program, the following preparations are recommended:

  • Physical: Engage in advanced strength and endurance training. You will need endurance beyond what the baseline CPAT can measure in order to perform required drills and lists of skills multiple times without rest.
  • Manipulative: Familiarize yourself with the equipment you will be using. For instance, you should know how to start a Stihl chainsaw. You would benefit from having experience with power tools.
  • Home Life: Make sure your family is prepared for your time during recruit school. You will have very little time or energy for anything except recruit school during the program.
  • General Experience: You can gain some familiarization with the tools and equipment of the fire service as well as some hands-on experience through a volunteer department.

View the Recruit Class 104 interview video.

Recruit Study Resources

View and download the IAFF First Responder Operations Participant Guide.

The primary text used in recruit school is the IFSTA Essentials of Fire Fighting and Fire Department Operations, 7th Edition. This text is used nationally for Firefighter I & II certification.

Below is the Basic Skills Manual published in-house by our Training Division. This material covers equipment and some manipulative skills used in the Seattle Fire Department.

See sample skill sheets utilized in Seattle's recruit training program below.