About the CPAT

The Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) consists of eight separate events. The CPAT is a sequence of physical events requiring you to progress along a predetermined path from event to event in a continuous manner. The test was developed to allow fire departments to obtain trainable candidates who are physically able to perform essential job tasks at fire scenes.

The CPAT is a pass/fail test based on a maximum total time of 10 minutes and 20 seconds.

During the test you will wear a 50-pound (22.68-kg) vest to simulate the weight of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and fire fighter protective clothing. An additional 25 pounds (11.34 kg), using two 12.5-pound (5.67-kg) weights that simulate a high-rise pack (hose bundle), is added to your shoulders for the stair climb event.

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

All props were designed to obtain the necessary information regarding your physical ability. The tools and equipment were chosen to provide the highest level of consistency, safety and validity in measuring your physical abilities.

The course layout may vary at each fire department’s test area. The events and distances between events are always the same. The events are placed in a sequence that best simulates fire scene events while allowing an 85-foot (25.91-m) walk between events.

To ensure the highest level of safety and to prevent exhaustion, no running is allowed between events. Walking allows you approximately 20 seconds to recover and regroup before each event. If you run between events, you will receive one warning. A second infraction constitutes a disqualification, the test time is concluded and you fail the test.


The CPAT Events

Stair Climb

The purpose of this even is to simulate the critical tasks of climbing stairs in full protective clothing while carrying a high-rise pack (hose bundle) and climbing stairs in full protective clothing carrying fire fighter equipment.

During this event, you will be required to wear two 12.5-pound (5.67-kg) weights on the shoulders to simulate the weight of a high-rise pack (hose bundle). Prior to the initiation of the timed CPAT, you will have a 20- second warm-up on the StepMill at a set stepping rate of 50 steps per minute (Level 3). 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 step off the StepMill during the 20-second warm-up period, you are required to remount the StepMill and restart the entire 20-second warm-up period. You are allowed to restart the warm-up period twice. There is no break in time between the warm-up period and the actual timing of the test. The timing of the test begins at the end of this warm-up period when the proctor calls out “START.” For the test, you are required to walk on the StepMill at a set stepping rate of 60 steps per minute (Level 4) for 3 minutes. This concludes the event. The two 12.5-pound (5.67-kg) weights are removed from your shoulders. You will then walk 85 feet (25.91 m) within the established walkway to the next event.


Hose Drag

This event is designed to simulate the critical tasks of dragging an uncharged hoseline from the fire apparatus to the fire occupancy and pulling an uncharged hoseline around obstacles while remaining stationary.

During this event, you will need to grasp an automatic nozzle attached to 200 feet (60 m) of 1 3/4-inch (44-mm) hose. You will place the hoseline over your shoulder or across your chest, not exceeding the 8-foot (2.44-m) mark. You are permitted to run during the hose drag. You will drag the hose 75 feet (22.86 m) to a prepositioned drum, make a 90° turn around the drum and continues an additional 25 feet (7.62 m). You will then then stop within the marked 5-foot x 7-foot (1.52 m x 2.13m) box, drop to at least one knee and pull the hoseline until the hoseline’s 50-foot (15.24-m) mark is across 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. You then walk 85 feet (25.91 m) within the established walkway to the next event.


Equipment Carry

This event is designed to simulate the critical tasks of removing power tools from a fire apparatus, carrying them to the emergency scene and returning the equipment to the fire apparatus.

During this event, you will need to remove the two saws from the tool cabinet, one at a time, and place them on the ground. You will then pick up both saws, one in each hand, and carry them while walking 75 feet (22.86 m) around the drum, then back to the starting point. You are permitted to place the saw(s) on the ground and adjust the grip. Upon return to the tool cabinet, you will place both saws on the ground, then pick up each saw one at a time, and replace the saw in the designated space in the cabinet. This concludes the event. You will then walk 85 feet (25.91 m) within the established walkway to the next event.


Ladder Raise and Extension

This event is designed to simulate the critical tasks of placing a ground ladder at a fire structure and extending the ladder to the roof or window.

During this event, you will walk to the top rung of the 24-foot (7.32-m) aluminum extension ladder, lift the first rung at 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. You will immediately proceed to the pre-positioned and secured 24-foot (7.32- m) aluminum extension ladder, stand with both feet within the marked box of 36 inches x 36 inches (91.44 cm x 91.44 cm) and extend the fly section hand over hand until it hits the stop. You then lower the fly section hand over hand in a controlled fashion to the starting position. This concludes the event. You will then walk 85 feet (25.91 m) within the established walkway to the next event.


Forcible Entry

This event is designed to simulate the critical tasks of using force to open a locked door or to breach a wall.

During this event, you will use a 10-pound (4.54-kg) sledgehammer and strike the measuring device in the target area until the buzzer signal is activated. Your feet must remain outside the toe-box. After the buzzer is activated, you will need to place the sledgehammer on the ground. This concludes the event. You will then walk 85 feet (25.91 m) within the established walkway to the next event.


Search

This event is designed to simulate the critical task of searching for a fire victim with limited visibility in an unpredictable area.

During this event, you will need to crawl on your hands and knees through a tunnel maze that is approximately 3 feet (91.44 cm) high, 4 feet (121.92 cm) wide and 64 feet (19.51 m) in length with two 90° turns. At a number of locations in the tunnel, you will navigate around, over and under obstacles. In addition, at two locations, you will crawl through a narrowed space where the dimensions of the tunnel are reduced. The movement is monitored/listened to as you advance through the maze. If for any reason, you choose to end the event, you will call out or rap sharply on the wall or ceiling and you will then be assisted out. Upon exit from the maze, the event is concluded. You will walk 85 feet (25.91 m) within the established walkway to the next event.


Rescue

This event is designed to simulate the critical task of removing a victim or injured partner from a fire scene.

During this event, you will grasp a 165-pound (74.84- kg) mannequin by the handle(s) on the shoulder(s) of the harness (either one or both handles are permitted), drags it 35 feet (10.67 m) to a pre-positioned drum, make a 180° turn around the drum, and continue an additional 35 feet (10.67 m) to the finish line. You will not be permitted to grasp or rest on the drum. It is permissible for the mannequin to touch the drum. You are permitted to lower the mannequin to the ground to adjust your grip. The entire mannequin must be dragged past the marked finish line. This concludes the event. You will then walk 85 feet (25.91 m) within the established walkway to the next event.


Ceiling Breach and Pull

This event is designed to simulate the critical task of breaching and pulling down a ceiling to check for fire extension.

During this event, you will 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. You will fully push up the 60-lb hinged door in the ceiling with the pike pole three times. You will then hook the pike pole to the 80-lb ceiling device and pull the pole down five times. Each set consists of three pushes and five pulls. You will repeat the set four times. You are permitted to stop and, if needed, adjust the grip. Releasing the grip or slipping from pike pole handle, without the pike pole falling to ground, does not result in a warning or constitute a failure. You may re-establish the grip and resume the event. If the you do not successfully complete a repetition (i.e. complete the up and down motion), the proctor calls out “MISS” and you must push or pull the apparatus again to complete the repetition. The event and the total test time ends when you complete the final pull stroke repetition as indicated by the proctor who calls out “TIME”.


Prepare for the CPAT

JobTestPrep provides the different events to prepare you for the CPAT. We are currently working on a practice test specifically for the CPAT, that will contain warm-ups, exercises and ways to simulate part of the exam to prepare you for the test.


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