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Thank you for your interest in participating in the Thurston County Fire Protection District 8 volunteer program. The following is a step-by-step outline of the examination process. Carefully read this information and keep for future reference of dates, times, locations, etc.

Important Dates:  South Bay Fire Department selects new recruits twice a year. Application deadlines are October 1st and April 1st each year.

Application Deadline:

  • October 1st - Academy starts in February and graduates in June

  • April 1st - Academy starts in August and graduates in December

 You will be contacted in early October or early April to schedule an interview.

Application Procedures:

  1. Prior to completing the application, read the duties and functions of the position to ensure you meet the qualifications.

  2. Complete all items in the checklist below, then submit electronically, in person, or mail.


Example of Duties: Drives or rides a fire vehicle in response to fire alarms; places equipment; lays and connects hose; operates high-capacity pumps and directs water streams; raises and climbs ladders; uses fire extinguishers; and uses self-contained breathing apparatus. Participates in training drills, attends schools and department classes on firefighting, hydraulics, first aid, fire equipment and apparatus and safety education classes.

Essential functions of the position of Volunteer firefighter include the ability to:

  • Physically perform all activities and tasks related to firefighting activities.

  • Maintain minimum medical standards required for the safe operation of equipment and performance of emergency and life-saving tasks.

  • Maintain mental alertness to perform all activities and tasks related to firefighter activities, including the capability to exercise reasonable and prudent judgement.

  • Drive an emergency vehicle and operate emergency medical and firefighting equipment in a safe manner.

  • Physically navigate rapidly, without jeopardizing the safety of others or self, on any conceivable surface, including but not limited to: slippery, uneven terrain, various building levels (roofs/stairs), high volume traffic areas and intersections.

  • Climb ladders, perform duties at heights of 110 feet or more, and lift, move and/or carry a minimum of 180 lbs.

  • Operate a variety of mechanical, motorized and hydraulic equipment and small tools, requiring, but not limited to: finger dexterity, ability to grasp, reach, push/pull, extend/flex, and operate foot control.

  • Maintain capability to perform a wide variety of physical tasks, including: climbing, running, lifting, carry or control heavy objects, bend, stoop, crouch, squat and crawl, and twist/turn.

  • Endure performing duties in restrictive clothing and breathing apparatus, and in workspaces that are cramped, exposed to extreme temperatures, and contain a variety of toxins.

  • Read, memorize, and interpret geographical and technical information (in written and verbal form).

  • Constantly communicate verbally to a wide variety of people in stressful, emergency and life-threatening situations, including operation of emergency two-way radio.

  • Manage stress associated with emergency services and maintain composure in emergency situations.

  • Effectively perform normal daily living functions in a dormitory, residence environment.

  • Learn, understand, and execute basic and algebraic calculations.


  • Ability to learn and apply technical information pertaining to fire fighting and emergency medical services.

  • Ability to cope with emergency situations calmly and effectively and to react quickly to secure accurate precise information on the location, extent and nature of fires and emergency aid requests.

  • Ability to acquire and maintain State, Federal and local certifications as required.

  • Ability to analyze situations quickly and objectively and to determine proper courses of action, based upon training.

  • Ability to understand and carry out verbal and written instructions.

  • Ability to sustain heavy physical labor during periods of intense activity in emergency situations.

  • Ability to work at varying heights above grade.

  • Ability to acquire skill in first aid practices and in the use and maintenance of fire equipment/apparatus.

  • Ability to work effectively as a team member.

  • Ability to work within a para-military organization and respond readily to command instructions.

  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with co-workers, supervisors, and the general public.


Special Requirements: Minimum age of eighteen (18) and have a High School Diploma or equivalent. Possession of a valid Washington State motor vehicle operator’s license is required for appointment. All candidates must be an U. S. Citizen or a registered permanent resident alien with authorization to work in the United States.

Time Expectation: Initial training will include attending the firefighter academy or emergency medical technician course. Each course is scheduled two weeknights a week and on average eight weekend days during the four-month duration. After graduation, volunteers are placed on a shift rotation. The rotation is every nine days. When your shift lands on a weekday, you will pull a 12-hour night shift (6pm to 6am); when it lands on a weekend day you will pull a 24 hour shift (6am to 6am).


Volunteer Firefighter/EMT Application Steps


   1. Sign up for Accuplacer  (English Placement Next Generation Reading) aptitude test at South Puget Sound                         Community College.  

       Retain copy of test results. Must score 250 or better. 
       Cost: $25.

   2. Complete and pass CPAT (Candidate Physical Ability Test).

       There are 2 agencies that offer CPAT testing: Public Safety Testing or National Testing Network.

       Retain copy of test results.
       Cost: $139-155.


   3.  Get a copy of your Driver’s License Abstract (Washington Department of Licensing)

         Cost: $15


   4.  Copy of your WA State Driver’s License


   5.  Complete South Bay Fire Department Volunteer FF/EMT Application, 
        -Which includes a signed Release of Information for your Background check. 
        -Submit all the above (1-5) documents to by the cut off dates: October 1st, or

          April 1st.


   6.  We will contact you to set up an interview.

        -Call South Bay Fire Department (360) 491-5320 if you have not received a call by the 10th of the month (April or                 October).

   7.  After the interview, we will process Background checks.

   8.  Selections will be made, and conditional offers of membership presented.

   9.  If selected, complete department Orientation.

 10.  Complete health screening, vaccinations, and drug testing (includes marijuana).

        Department covers cost.

 11.  Department assigns each new recruit a mentor. Work with your mentor to practice and prepare for academy.

 12.  Attend Academy.

Academy is held: 

  • February-June for October applicants.

  • August-December for April applicants.

*Upon graduation (and certification) you will receive a nominal stipend of $500. Thank you for your initial financial investment and academic efforts!

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