In order to become a firefighter, you must meet all requirements needed including the firefighter physical ability test or also known as CPAT (Candidate Physical Ability Test) that has been specially engineered and approved by the IAFF (International Association of Fire Fighters). From this test, the fire department will review your physical condition and abilities as one of potential firefighter candidates, therefore, it’s really important for you to not just pass but do really well this exam.
However, based on our researches, not all fire departments conduct real CPAT test, because it comes back to the department itself. They have to meet all requirements for the test set by IAFF which include preparation time and training for all potential candidates. We strongly suggest you to take these opportunities seriously, it can be said firefighter physical ability test would be your hardest and toughest physical test you’ve even taken. Good thing about completing CPAT test would be most fire departments will accept your validated CPAT testing completion form although it is taken by other fire departments. In this way, you only need to take one test a year in order to use the completion form to apply to several fire departments.
From this point, you probably wonder, what will you actually do during firefighter physical ability test? You might think that you can prepare yourself before taking this exam by doing routine exercises such as weight lifting, push-ups, etc. Well, those exercises help, however, firefighter physical ability test will put your body to test for twisting, bending, running while carrying heavy weights, and many more.
There are 8-Firefighter Physical Ability Test that you need to complete where during these tests, all firefighter candidates must wear firefighter equipment such as helmet, gloves, long pants, shoes with no open toes, and also a 50 pound vest to simulate the weight of their self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). Firefighter physical ability test requires you to progress from event to event from a predetermined path. Each station is separated by 85ft and in order to minimize exhaustion, you are not allowed to run between each event.
Here are simple explanations regarding the 8-Firefighter Physical Ability Test:
1. Hose drag
This event tests your ability to carry a 200ft. hose on your shoulder and drag the 75ft. hose around a barrier. You will be tested in making turn and pulling the hose efficiently until the finish line.
2. Hose or equipment carry
You need to be able to lift and carry equipment (e.g. saws) or fire hose weighing around 50 pounds for a distance of 75ft to 250 ft, you might even asked to climb stairs while carrying the equipment.
3. Ladder Raise and extension
This test will measure your ability to walk to the top of 24 ft. aluminum ladder, walking the ladder and then step by step up to a stationary wall. You need to also be able to lift a ladder from horizontal to vertical position.
4. Stair Climb
In this test, you need to be able to achieve 180 steps in 3 minutes. It’s not going to be easy as you will be given additional weights of 2 x 12.5-pound on your shoulders, which make it 25-pound in total.
5. Search Simulation
During fire, it’s really important for firefighters to search the victims inside a burning building. You need to be able to crawl on hands and knees in a tunnel maze and make 2 of 90-degree turns efficiently. The tunnel will be 4ft. wide x 3ft. high x 64ft. long.
6. Rescue Simulation
As firefighters, it’s one of your main job descriptions to rescue the victims. In this test, you will need to save a 165-pound mannequin by grabbing the handles at the shoulder. You need to be able to drag this mannequin around a barrier and cross the finish line to complete this test.
7. Forcible Entry Simulation
Use a sledgehammer to hit a designated boxed area. The exercise is done when you hear the buzzer sounds.
8. Ceiling Breach and Pull
You will use a pike pole to push hinged door and to pull ceiling device.
In order to conduct Firefighter Physical Ability Test, all props and scenarios are designed to gain essential information regarding you physical ability. Every tool and equipment are carefully set and chosen to provide high level of consistency when evaluating your physical abilities.
To count your time, there are 2 stopwatches used, first as the official stopwatch while the second one is used as a backup. It measures how long you will complete every test, you need to make sure that you are able to finish each test before the time is up, otherwise you fail the test.
CPAT (Candidate Physical Ability Test) or firefighter physical ability test won’t be easy, well, so is the job as firefighter, therefore, we strongly suggest you to focus yourself to prepare for CPAT.