Kent-based Puget Sound Fire expects to hire as many as 31 firefighters in 2022 as seven recruits wrap up training this month and the rest later this year.
The current recruits graduate from the recruit firefighter academy on Jan. 20 and will report to their shift the week of Jan. 24, according to a Jan. 3 email from Puget Sound Fire spokesman Pat Pawlak.
“The recruit firefighter academy is 20 weeks long and includes fire suppression training as well as Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training and certification,” Pawlak said.
The recruits will help replace the eight to 12 firefighters expected to retire this year. Puget Sound Fire is budgeted for 234 positions and has 216 filled.
“Regardless, daily minimum staffing is maintained through the use of overtime when necessary,” Pawlak said. “Puget Sound Fire also has a number of uniformed day-shift positions, all of which are fully staffed.”
Pawlak said the agency is set up to hire 31 firefighters in 2022.
Nineteen recruits recently started the academy. Their first step was to become familiar with their gear.
The South King County Fire Training Consortium runs the 20-week Recruit Fire Academy, according to the Puget Sound Fire website. The consortium is comprised of 13 partner agencies that came together for unified training that leads to consistency in operations and reduces costs. The training facility is at 20811 84th Ave. S., in Kent.
The Recruit Fire Academy teaches agencies’ newest hires all the required skills needed to serve their communities as firefighters. This includes using a self-contained breathing apparatus, fire hose operations, search and rescue, ladder use, technical rescue, vehicle extrication and much more.
Recruits also spend five weeks of rigorous Emergency Medical Technician training before graduating the academy. Recruit firefighters graduate from the academy and report to their home agencies ready to ride on a fire engine as a probationary firefighter.
Puget Sound Fire serves Kent, Covington, SeaTac and Maple Valley.
The other agencies in the consortium include the Tukwila Fire Department, Renton Regional Fire Authority, Fire District 20 (Skyway), Fire District 2 (Burien/Normandy Park/North Highline), Valley Regional Fire Authority, Fire District 28 (Enumclaw), Vashon Island Fire and Rescue, King County International Airport/Boeing Field Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Division, Mountain View Fire and Rescue, Eastside Fire and Rescue, Snoqualmie Fire Department and South King Fire and Rescue.