Recruit Training

Once offered a position, all candidates must successfully complete Seattle Fire Department Recruit Training which is held in the Joint Training Facility in Seattle. Previous experience and certification does not change this requirement.

This physically and mentally intense 15.5-wek program consists of approximately 700 hours of training. Candidates who are able to meet the challenges of Recruit Training will earn IFSAC Firefighter I Certification, as well as training in Operations Level Rescue, Hazardous Materials, and basic Emergency Vehicle Operation.

Seattle Fire Department Recruit Training is nationally recognized, and Seattle was the first fire department in Washington state to receive accreditation for its firefighter training program in a national accreditation system.

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

Upon successful completion of Recruit School, Recruits become Probationary Firefighters and are assigned to Operations Division Engine and Ladder companies to complete their probationary year. Upon satisfactory completion of a Probationary Firefighter's first year, they receive Firefighter II certification and regular appointment as a Firefighter.

Preparing for Recruit Training

Before training begins, an orientation is offered by the Seattle Fire Department for both the new 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, ropes, ladders, and other fire service equipment.
  • Home Life: Make sure your family is prepared for your time in training. 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 or the Seattle Fire Department Cadet Program.

View the Recruit Class 104 interview video.

Recruit Study Resources

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 SFD Recruit Training below. Note: skill sheets and drills are updated regularly. These are provided for familiarization only.

View and download the IAFF First Responder Operations Participant Guide.