Fire Employment

Firefighter pulling roll of hose from truck

Working for OFD

The Olympia Fire Department is an all-career department with 100 members total. The department deploys four engines, one ladder truck, two medic units and a battalion unit. The engines and truck are staffed with two firefighters and an officer, while the medic units are staffed with two firefighter/paramedics. At minimum staffing, there is a full complement of 20 members on duty.

OFD covers approximately 25 square miles and in 2020, responded to 12,754 calls for service.

Duties and work hours

Firefighting is one of the most rewarding jobs on earth and the proudest tradition of Community Service. Fire Recruit is an entry level position leading toward a professional firefighting career. Upon successful completion of the Fire Academy, recruits are assigned to the Operations Division where they will, as part of a team, deliver quality customer service to the community.

Firefighters are involved in fire suppression operations. However, this is only one aspect of the job. The Olympia Fire Department also provides Emergency Medical Service (EMS). Eighty percent of the calls firefighters respond to are for emergency medical care. The calls include motor vehicle accidents, heart attacks, strokes, home accidents, and other medical and trauma related incidents.

Operations members work a 24 hour shift, 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m., with 48 hours off. Firefighters normally work 8 shifts every 27 days, with one 24 hour Kelly Day off.

  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Community Education
  • Public Service Work
  • Building Inspections
  • Personal Development
  • Station and Apparatus Maintenance

Entry level firefighter selection process

Olympia Fire Department’s hiring process is governed by City of Olympia Civil Service Rules. The City uses a continuous testing process in partnership with Public Safety Testing.

  1. Applicants must apply and take the written exam and Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) through the Public Safety Testing website.
  2. Top scoring candidates are invited to a suitability assessment.
  3. Those who pass are invited to oral interviews.
  4. Oral interview and written exam scores are combined to rank candidates on the hiring register.
  5. Candidates on the register will be subject to a background investigation, chief’s interview, and psychological and medical exams.

  • 18 years of age
  • US Citizen
  • High School Graduate or GED
  • WA driver’s license if appointed
  • Ability to read and speak the English language
  • EMT certification within one year of appointment

About the CPAT

The CPAT was developed to allow departments to obtain pools of trainable candidates who are physically able to perform essential job tasks at fire scenes. It consists of the following sequence of events requiring you to progress along a predetermined path from event to event in a continuous manner:

For this event, you must wear two 12.5-pound weights on your shoulders to simulate the weight of a high-rise pack. Prior to the initiations of the timed CPAT, there is a 20-second warm-up on the StepMill at a set stepping rate of 50 steps per minute. During this warm-up period, you are permitted to dismount, grasp the rail or hold the wall to establish balance and cadence. If you fall or dismount the StepMill during the 20-second warm-up period, you must remount the StepMill and restart the entire 20-second warm-up period. You are allowed to restart the warm-up period twice. The timing of the test begins at the end of this warm-up period when the proctor calls the word "START". There is no break in time between the warm-up period and the actual timing of the test. For the test, you must walk on the StepMill at a set stepping rate of 60 steps per minute for three minutes. This concludes the event. The two 12.5 pound weights are removed from your shoulders. Walk 85 feet within the established walkway to the next event.

For this event, you must grasp a hoseline nozzle attached to 200 feet of 1 3/4-inch hose. Place the hoseline over your shoulder or across your chest, not exceeding the 8-foot mark. You are permitted to run during the hose drag. Drag the hose 75 feet to a pre-positioned drum, make a ninety-degree turn around the drum, and continue an additional 25 feet. Stop within the marked 5-foot by 7-foot box, drop to at least one knee and pull the hoseline until the hoseline 50-foot mark crosses the finish line. During the hose pull, you must keep at least one knee in contact with the ground and knee(s) must remain within the marked boundary lines. This concludes the event. Walk 85 feet within the established walkway to the next event.

For this event, you must remove the two saws from the tool cabinet, one at a time, and place them on the ground and adjust your grip. Upon return to the tool cabinet, place the saws on the ground, pick up each saw one at a time, and replace the saw in the designated space in the cabinet. This concludes the event. Walk 85 feet within the established walkway to the next event.

For this event, you must walk to the top rung of the 24-foot aluminum extension ladder, lift the unhinged end from the ground, and walk it up until it is stationary against the wall. This must be done in a hand over hand fashion, using each rung until the ladder is stationary against the wall. You must not use the ladder rails to raise the ladder. Immediately proceed to the pre-positioned and secured 24-foot aluminum extension ladder, stand with both feet within the marked box of 36 inches x 36 inches, and extend the fly section hand over hand until it hits the stop. Then, lower the fly section hand over hand in a controlled fashion to the starting position. This concludes the event. Walk 85 feet within the established walkway to the next event.

For this event, you must use a 10-pound sledgehammer to strike the measuring device in the target area until the buzzer is activated. During this event, you must keep your feet outside the toe-box at all times. After the buzzer is activated, place the sledgehammer on the ground. This concludes the event. Walk 85 feet within the established walkway to the next event.

For this event, you must crawl through a tunnel maze that is approximately 3 feet high, 4 feet wide and 64 feet in length with two ninety-degree turns. At a number of locations in the tunnel, you must navigate around, over and under obstacles. In addition, at two locations, you must crawl through a narrowed space where the dimensions of the tunnel are reduced. Your movement is monitored through the maze. If for any reason, you choose to end the event, call or rap sharply on the wall or ceiling and you will be assisted out of the maze. Upon exit from the maze, the event is concluded. Walk 85 feet within the established walkway to the next event.

For this event, you must grasp a 165-pound mannequin by the handle(s) on the shoulder(s) of the harness (either one or both handles are permitted), drag it 35 feet to a pre-positioned drum, make a 180 degree turn around the drum, and continue an additional 35 feet to the finish line. You are not permitted to grasp or rest on the drum. It is permissible for the mannequin to touch the drum. You are permitted to drop and release the mannequin and adjust your grip. The entire mannequin must be dragged until it crosses the marked finish line. This concludes the event. Walk 85 feet within the established walkway to the next event.

For this event, you must remove the pike pole from the bracket, stand within the boundary established by the equipment frame, and place the tip of the pole on the painted area of the hinged door in the ceiling. Fully push up the 60-pound hinged door in the ceiling with the pike pole three times. Then, hook the pike pole to the 80-pound ceiling device and pull the pole down five times. Each set consists of three pushes and five pulls. Repeat the set four times. You are permitted to stop and, if needed, adjust your grip. Releasing your grip or allowing the pike pole handle to slip, without the pike pole falling to the ground, does not result in a warning or constitute a failure. You are permitted to re-establish your grip and resume the event. If you do not successfully complete a repetition, the proctor calls out "MISS" and you must push or pull the apparatus again to complete the repetition. This event and the total test time ends when you complete the final pull stroke repetition or as indicated by a proctor who calls out "TIME."

This is a pass/fail test based on a validated maximum total time of 10 minutes and 20 seconds. In these events, you wear a 50-pound vest to simulate the weight of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and firefighter protective clothing. An additional 25 pounds, using two 12.5-pound weights that simulate a high-rise pack, is added to your shoulders for the stair climb event.

Throughout all events, you must wear long pants, a hard hat with chinstrap, work gloves and footwear with no open heel or toe. Watches and loose or restrictive jewelry are not permitted.


Contact the Recruitment Officer at 360.753.8348 or