What We Look For

Firefighter Recruits Lined UpQualifications

The following knowledge, skills, and abilities are considered to be critical to successful performance in this classification:

Knowledge of:

  • Mechanical and spatial relationships and operations, and some knowledge of the building trades.
  • Principles, practices, and techniques of modern firefighting work.
  • The Incident Management System according to National Incident Management System standards.
  • Rules, regulations, and procedures of the department, pertinent federal and state laws, and City ordinances.
  • Recent developments, current literature, and other sources of information regarding firefighting methods and techniques.
  • Geography of the City including important buildings; major traffic arterials; maps, plans, diagrams; location of hydrants.
  • Operation and maintenance of the various types of apparatus and equipment used by the fire department.

Skills and abilities:

  • Cope with situations firmly, courteously, tactfully, and with respect for the rights of all citizens.
  • Provide high-quality customer service when serving the public.
  • Work effectively as a team member.
  • Perform assigned tasks with integrity, ingenuity, and inventiveness.
  • Learn about the principles, practices, and techniques of firefighting.
  • Work safely and in compliance with federal and state laws, and City policies, laws, and standards.
  • Work within a command structure requiring adherence to orders.
  • Exercise judgment and remain calm in stressful and/or demanding situations.
  • Maintain a work environment free of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
  • Work independently when appropriate.
  • Be discreet and maintain a high degree of confidentiality, accountability, responsibility, and accuracy.
  • Use departmental computers and related software applications.
  • Work effectively in a hazardous and/or unpleasant environment.
  • Understand and follow complex oral and written instructions.
  • Utilize deductive reasoning to make critical decisions.
  • Maintain composure and self-control under adverse conditions.
  • Maintain physical ability required to perform demanding tasks and to perform effectively in critical emergency situations.
  • Support diversity and multi-cultural understanding in the workplace and the community.


(1) Requires high school diploma or equivalency.

(2) Attainment of the age of 21 years by closing date.

(3) U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Resident status.

(4) Excellent physical condition.

(5) Ability and willingness to successfully complete the mandated course of instruction at the Washington State Fire Academy and subsequent department field training programs.

(6) Ability and willingness to obtain Washington State Department of Social and Health Services certification as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) within two (2) years of employment and maintain such certification for the duration of employment.

(7) Submission to a thorough background check; psychological, physical, and medical check; employment reference check;and verification of all applicable certifications.

(8) Attainment of Department standards of physical condition.

(9) Possession of, or ability to obtain within 30 days of hire, a Washington State Driver License and maintain such license for the duration of employment.

Firefighters Training on Putting Out a Fire Physical Demands & Working Conditions

While not an all-inclusive list, the following examples are meant to illustrate some of the extreme physical demands and working conditions inherent in the role of a firefighter.

Physical Demands

  1. Pick up and advance charged fire hoses.
  2. Force entry with axe/battering ram.
  3. Rescue/extricate victim(s).
  4. Perform CPR; apply bandages.
  5. Climb stairs with equipment weighing approximately 50 pounds.
  6. Strip and vent roofs, breach walls, overhaul burned buildings.
  7. Lift and climb/descend ladders (with victims).
  8. Visually determine fire status/hazards; assess patient conditions.
  9. Hear calls for help; identify fire noise, etc.
  10. Walk on roof tops under adverse conditions.
  11. Operate power tools and extrication equipment, and tie knots.
  12. Stoop, crawl, crouch, and kneel in confined spaces.
  13. Reach, twist, balance, grapple, bend, and lift under emergency conditions.
  14. Run, dodge, jump, and maneuver with equipment.
  15. All of the above may be performed wearing heavy and restrictive protective clothing/gear.

The physical demands of a firefighter are characterized by strength, endurance, coordination, agility and dexterity.

Working Conditions

  1. Work in extreme temperatures both day and night; in rain, snow, and ice.
  2. Exposure to fumes, gases, noxious odors, dust, and poor ventilation.
  3. Work in closely confined spaces.
  4. Work around potential hazards: fire, explosives, chemicals, electrical shock, structural hazards, fast-moving vehicles, etc.
  5. Intense exposure to water and/other liquids.
  6. Exposure to blood, serious injuries, and death.
  7. Exposure to a wide range of highly emotional and traumatic events.
  8. Exposure to noise and vibration from tools, equipment, machinery, etc.
  9. Work at heights (e.g., on ladders, roof tops, etc).
  10. Work within restrictions of personal safety equipment (e.g., breathing apparatus, steel-tip boots, hearing and eye protection, firefighting turn-out clothing, and hazardous materials gear).

A firefighter must perform physically demanding work, requiring judgment, under adverse working conditions.