Resources for Current and Future Candidates

Fire Prep Program

Program Overview

The Fire Prep program is intended to prepare job seekers and Seattle Fire Department (SFD) applicants for a career in the fire service. Through participation in Fire Prep, job seekers and SFD applicants should obtain a realistic understanding of the physical requirements of SFD Recruit School and gain the opportunity to develop their basic firefighter skills and knowledge. Participants will also receive online resources on strength and conditioning and firefighter-related content. These resources are ideal for those who want to prepare for SFD Recruit School.

Fire Prep is a nine-week program that focuses on adult learners with limited available time. The program begins with an orientation day (week one) and is followed by eight consecutive, in-person sessions. Orientation day consists of a fitness assessment that provides participants with tangible results to identify specific fitness areas that may need improvement. All in-person sessions will be held on Saturdays at the Joint Training Facility (JTF). All participants must attend orientation day to participate in this program. Participants who do not attend orientation day will have the option to complete this program online only.

Disclaimer: Participation in this program does not guarantee placement in recruit school, but it is designed for those interested in the fire service to have a better understanding of the nature of work, physical requirements and skill sets of a firefighter.


  • This is a voluntary program; therefore, attendance is not mandatory, but it is strongly encouraged to get the most out of the material taught and to maximize your potential for success in SFD Recruit School.
  • Attendance clause: Participants who are attending in-person will be automatically transitioned to the online only program when: (a) more than two sessions are missed; (b) when two consecutive sessions are missed; and/or (c) participants do not demonstrate safety procedures that are taught during in-person sessions.
  • The curriculum for in-person training will build off of material covered in the previous weeks. Participants who regularly miss sessions will fall behind. Time to re-teach past material is not available. Experienced Seattle firefighters will instruct the live sessions and guide the development of each participant.
  • Online content will be administered on a weekly basis to supplement the in-person learning (see details below).
  • For questions or more information, please review the FAQ section below or email

Who is Eligible to Participate?

Those on the current hiring register, any resident or non-resident of the City of Seattle, and any job seeker who is interested in a career in the fire service.

Online Content

Strength & Conditioning: All participants will have access to a strength training program and be assigned to a coach to help guide the development of their physical fitness. This portion of the program is not mandatory but is a free resource that should be taken advantage of. If participants have their own training program, they are still eligible to use their assigned coach as a guide to modify their training routine or to provide feedback on lifting technique. The Fire Prep program uses the Teambuildr mobile app to administer strength training plans.

Firefighter-Related Content: Each week an email will be sent out that contains a assigned readings from the Basic Skills Manual (BSM), as well as PDF documents or video demonstrations of a firefighter-related skill/concept. These documents/resources should be reviewed to improve the participant’s understanding for foundational concepts and skills.

Testimonies from Past Fire Prep Participants

"You may think you're ready for drill school but once you've attended Fire Prep, it's a whole different story."

“The program is absolutely essential to prepare for SFD Recruit School and giving you a brief introduction the career of a firefighter. SFD Fire Prep gave me a glimpse of the areas I needed to improve on for my physical fitness and a general idea of what I am embarking on pursuing a career in the Fire Service. Giving up a 8 Saturdays for two months was well worth it.”

“I have my fire certifications and have been through multiple firefighter academies. I also have experience as a career firefighter. Fire Prep provided an incredibly high level of training that matches the recruit schools I’ve been through. This program is extremely well run, and I believe anyone who attends it will have an increased chance of success upon going into a firefighter recruit school, whether it be Seattle’s or another. It’s clear that the Health & Fitness coordinator, as well as the skills instructors are knowledgeable, professional, and want everyone to be successful. It was awesome to see the coordinator and the instructors bunking up and being involved with the training we were doing. This program is fun, safe, and enlightening. It is challenging, it will give you an idea of what you’ll need to work on to be mentally, physically, and technically proficient as a recruit. I would highly recommend anyone attend if they are interested in firefighting.”

“I came into this program with zero experience in the fire service. A friend of mine is Firefighter and told me that I'd be good at this career. This summer, another Firefighter friend of mine told me about the SFD Fire Prep program and that I should consider this career. So, I signed up to test the waters. I figured, what's a couple of Saturdays? I'll learn if I like this or not AND I'll get to do some cool stuff. So, why not? Now at the end of Fire Prep, I'm amazed at how much I've grown these last two months. I love how every Saturday has pushed me physically and mentally. As a former collegiate athlete, this was both a humbling and confidence-building experience. I've been humbled by how difficult everything is (who knew a ladder was so heavy?). I've grown in my confidence as my skills have built on each other (yes, I'm stronger and now I can throw that heavy ladder and so much more!). If you've always dreamed of being a firefighter, this program is for you. If you are about to start SFD Recruit School, this program is for you. If you are like me and you just want to see if you want this career, this program is for you! Thank you for everything, SFD!”

“Very proud of SFD to recognize they needed a Fire Prep program to better prepare their future recruits. I’m extremely honored to be able to have participated in it. There is great diversity among the instructors, and they all really show to be aligned with SFD’s Vision. Simply put in two words: Invaluable Program.”

"I am so grateful for the experience. I came in after working out on my own, realizing I was not where I needed to be yet. I was taught the importance of a structured work out plan and proper lifting mechanics. It is still a process, but I now feel I am on my way in the right path."

"I really think this program was a big wakeup call for me and showed me just how demanding academy will be. I learned some really great skills I can take forward with me and it gave me a good list of things to work on personally before I get into the academy. As someone who has no experience in the fire service, I believe this program is extremely beneficial just to get muscle memory for things I have never tried or used before. I think this will make the mental part of academy a little bit more manageable too."

“The eight-week fire prep program for the Seattle fire department is exceptionally well-structured, offering an essential gut check for aspiring firefighters. The hands-on experience with throwing ladders, moving hoses, and using fire equipment ensures participants are more prepared for the rigors of drill school. The program is not only comprehensive but also engaging, making it an excellent foundation for those looking to serve their community. Highly recommended!”

"I currently have found the prep program to be invaluable to my success in preparing for drill school, especially with no prior experience. Although I have not yet participated in a class, I expect to be proven correct when I do. Being the first to participate I can see how its value will grow with each group that goes through it's also an excellent sandbox for leaning into the person that you explained yourself as being, essentially a place where you can explore and lean into your practice and belief in the SFD’s leadership principles."

"Fire Prep itself was all the information I would want before I started the academy. I appreciate the intensity of the firefighters and when we did mess up, the intensity turned off. I felt that it kept me engaged and helped me learn effectively. The information about hydration, recovery, and all the workouts are really valuable. I especially liked the email that was sent out about meals to make. Step by step guide on how to make the meals."


Q: Will participating in the Fire Prep program be a factor in the hiring process?

A: No. Participation in the Fire Prep Program is optional and will not affect you during the hiring process. Participation in the Fire Prep program is encouraged as it may better prepare you for SFD Recruit School and/or a career in the Fire Service.However, SFD Human Resources will be notified of participants who do not return SFD-owned gear by the deadline (approximately one month after the program ends).

Q: Do I have to attend orientation day? Can I start the program on a later date? Can I start the program online and move to the in-person group (or vice versa) at any time during the program?

A: Yes. You must attend Orientation Day as this day is the only time to complete the Fitness Assessment which will help determine your placement in the program. Participants will not be allowed to join the Fire Prep Program after Orientation Day.

Participants on the "online only" path cannot transfer over to the in-person group. These individuals will remain online throughout the entire duration of the program.

Participants in the in-person group will be transfered to the online only group for the following reasons: (1) if the participant requests this option, (2) if the participant scores poorly on the fitness assessment (Orientation Day), (3) if the participant is no longer able to attend in-person sessions for any reason, or (4) if the participant misses more than two sessions or two consecutive sessions.

Q: What happens if I miss one day due to prior commitments?

A: Missing one or two sessions due to prior commitments will be permitted. However, if you know that you will miss more than two sessions before registering for this program, we recommend enrolling in the online only program. The information on this website is being made available so that participants may plan and prioritize attendance of the next Fire Prep program.

Q: I want to join the program, but I am not in the area. Could I participate virtually?

A: Yes. When registration opens, send an email to; please do not register via Eventbrite, as this will take up an in-person spot. Keep in mind that the resources you would have access to is the content that supplements in-person learning. You will also have access to a fitness coach/firefighter to help guide your strength training routine and provide mentorship on preparing for a career within the fire service.

Q: I tried to register, but it says "full." What do I do next? Is there a waitlist?

A: As mentioned previously, this is a popular program and will fill up quickly as space is limited. If you are unable to register for in-person or online participation, please email to request placement on the waitlist. Be sure to indicate what type of participation you would like to do in-person or online. Only 20 individuals will be placed on the waitlist. In some cases, space becomes available just before Orientation Day. When this happens, members on the waitlist will be notified if they would still like to participate. This is done on a first come, first serve basis.

Program Schedule

The following information will be updated throughout the year. Please check this segment regularly for updates. Last update: 12/13/2023.

Spring 2024 - Fire Prep Program Registration: February 26 - March 8, 2024

  • Registration details will be emailed on Feb. 12, 2024.
  • If you're interested in this program, email and ask to be added to our mailing list.
  • When registration opens, be sure to complete the process as soon as possible. This is a popular program and registration will fill up quickly. In the past, this program has filled up within 48 hours of opening registration.
  • Priority Registration will be given to applicants who have completed their packets for the RC121 class. Priority Registration begins on Feb. 20, 2024.

Spring 2024 - Orientation Day Details

  • Participants must sign and return a waiver to participate (this will be provided via email after registration via Eventbrite)
  • Date: Saturday, March 23, 2024
  • Time: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
  • Location: 9401 Myers Way S., Seattle, WA 98108 (Joint Training Facility)

Orientation Day - Fitness Assessment

A physical fitness assessment will take place on Orientation Day. This assessment will allow participants to measure specific qualities of fitness and identify areas that need improvement. This assessment will measure (1) movement quality, (2) core strength, (3) lower body strength) and (4) aerobic capacity. The assessment consists of the following events:

  • Lower Body Strength: Isometric Mid-Thigh Pull
  • Upper Body Endurance: Hand Release Push Up
  • Aerobic Capacity: Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test (level one)
  • 28’ Ground Ladder Low Shoulder Carry
  • 35’ Ladder Extension (two attempts)
  • Victim Drag
  • Tower Climb w/2.5” Hose Bundle

A debrief will take place after all events are completed. This debrief will highlight important cutoff scores and physical fitness considerations for each event.

It is important to highlight that participants who perform poorly with several of these events will be asked to complete the Fire Prep program online only. In this case, it would be best for that individual to prioritize the Health and Human Performance resources that this program has to offer (i.e. strength training program).

Spring 2024 - Program Calendar

Date and Time
Content Covered
Orientation Day
March 23, 2023
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Program Introduction & Overview
Instructor Introductions
Program Expectations & Policies
Fitness Assessment
Gear Issue
Week 1
March 30, 2024
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Engine – Introduction to Engine Basics
Ladder – Basic Ladders, Lesson 1
Fitness – Lifting Techniques (Lower Body)
Week 2
April 6, 2024
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Engine – Hose Handling and Hose Deployment, Lesson 1
Ladder – Basic Ladders, Lesson 2
Fitness – Lifting Techniques (Upper Body) 
Week 3
April 13, 2024
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Engine – Hose Handling and Hose Deployment, Lesson 2
Ladder – Intro to Power Tools and Advanced Ladders, Lesson 1
Fitness – Olympic Weightlifting Techniques, Metabolic Conditioning Concepts
Week 4
April 20, 2024
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Engine – Hose Handling and Hose Deployment, Lesson 3
Ladder – Intro to Power Tools and Advanced Ladders, Lesson 2
Fitness – Olympic Weightlifting Techniques, Load Carriage Performance
Week 5
April 27, 2024
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Engine – Hydrant, Hose Handling, Hose Deployment, Hose Loading
Ladder – Ladders, Power Tools, Basic Search
Mini-Evolutions: A set of drills that bring together the basic skills that have been taught to this point. This allows participants to understand the physical demands of the job while also being exposed to the cognitive demand of completing several tasks in succession.
Week 6
May 4, 2024
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Engine – Hydrant, Hose Handling, Hose Deployment, Hose Loading
Ladder – Ladders, Power Tools, Basic Search
Mini-Evolutions: A set of drills that bring together the basic skills that have been taught to this point. This allows participants to understand the physical demands of the job while also being exposed to the cognitive demand of completing several tasks in succession.
Week 7
May 11, 2024
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Engine – Hydrant, Hose Handling, Hose Deployment, Hose Loading
Ladder – Ladders, Power Tools, Force Entry
Mini-Evolutions: A set of drills that bring together the basic skills that have been taught to this point. This allows participants to understand the physical demands of the job while also being exposed to the cognitive demand of completing several tasks in succession.
Week 8
May 18, 2024
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Engine – Hydrant, Hose Handling, Hose Deployment, Hose Loading
Ladder – Ladders, Power Tools, Force Entry
Mini-Evolutions: A set of drills that bring together the basic skills that have been taught to this point. This allows participants to understand the physical demands of the job while also being exposed to the cognitive demand of completing several tasks in succession.

Hiring Events in King County

Future Women in EMS/Fire Workshop: April 20 and 21, 2024. This workshop is designed for women in King County, age 18 or older, who are interested in pursuing a career in Emergency Medical Services or serving their community as a Firefighter or a paramedic. The workshop is free, and participants are selected through an application process. Visit here to apply.

Other Resources

Applicant Handout

You are encouraged to review the handout created by the Fire Exams unit: Firefighter Applicant Workshop Handout

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.

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: SFD Basic Skills Manual

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

You are also encouraged to view and download the following materials from the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF): First Responder Operations Participant Guide

Additional resource materials are available through the International Fire Service Training Association: IFSTA Website


For questions about the Fire Prep program, please email For questions about the hiring process, please email

Fire Department

Harold Scoggins, Fire Chief
Address: 301 2nd Ave S, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: 301 2nd Ave S, Seattle, WA, 98104
Phone: (206) 386-1400
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The Seattle Fire Department (SFD) has 33 fire stations located throughout the City. SFD deploys engine companies, ladder companies, and aid and medic units to mitigate loss of life and property resulting from fires, medical emergencies, and other disasters.