CPAT

Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT)

As prescribed by the Alabama Fire College and Personnel Standards and Education Commission (AFC & PSEC), job-related physical performance requirements shall be used to select candidates. Therefore, the firefighter candidate shall successfully complete the Fire Service Joint Labor Management Wellness/Fitness Initiative Program-Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) or other approved validated physical ability evaluation prior to entering a minimum standards course for Fire Fighter I/II,  Fire Fighter I/II Bridge, and Fire Fighter I Recertification (based on initial FFI requirements).

The physical ability evaluation shall be valid for one (1) year.

The AFC & PSEC requires as proof of successful completion of the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) that the official CPAT form be submitted when a candidate registers for any recruit school within Alabama.

CPAT was developed by IAFF/IAFC Wellness-Fitness Task Force.

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

Requirements

  • In these events, the candidate wears 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 (hose bundle), is added to the shoulders for the stair climb event.
  • Throughout all events, the participant 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.

Evaluation

All props were designed to obtain the necessary information regarding physical ability. The tools and equipment were chosen to provide the highest level of consistency, safety, and validity in measuring the candidate’s physical abilities. A schematic drawing of the CPAT is included in this orientation material; however, the course layout may vary in order to conform to the 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 walk between events. To ensure the highest level of safety and to prevent exhaustion, no running is allowed between events. This walk allows approximately 20 seconds to recover and regroup before each event.

To ensure scoring accuracy, two stopwatches are used to time the CPAT. One stopwatch is designated as the official test time stopwatch, the second is the backup stopwatch. If mechanical failure occurs, the time on the backup stopwatch is used. The stopwatches are set to the pass/fail time and countdown from 10 minutes and 20 seconds. If time elapses prior to the completion of the test, the test is concluded and the participant fails the test.

Sequence of Events

The Fire Service Joint Labor Management Wellness/Fitness Initiative Candidate Physical Ability Test © consists of eight separate events. The CPAT is a sequence of events requiring the candidate to progress along a predetermined path from event to event in a continuous manner. This test was developed to allow fire departments a means for obtaining pools of trainable candidates who are physically able to perform essential job tasks at fire scenes.

Event 1: Stair Climb

Using a StepMill stair-climbing machine, this event is designed to simulate the critical task of climbing stairs in full protective clothing while carrying a high-rise pack (hose bundle) and firefighter equipment. This event challenges aerobic capacity, lower body muscular endurance and the ability to balance.

Participants wear a 12.5-pound weight on each shoulder to simulate the weight of a high-rise pack. Immediately following a 20-second warm-up period at a rate of 50 steps per minute, the timed part of the test starts as indicated by a proctor. There is no break in time between the warm-up period and the actual timing of the test. During the warm-up period, dismounting, grasping the rail, or holding the wall to establish balance and cadence is permitted. The timed part of the test lasts three (3) minutes at a stepping rate of 60 steps per minute.

Failure can occur by falling or dismounting three times during the warm-up period, or by falling or dismounting the StepMill after the timed CPAT begins. During the test, the participant is permitted to touch the wall or handrail for balance only momentarily; if that rule is violated more than twice during the test, failure will result.

Event 2: Hose Drag

This event is designed to simulate the critical tasks of dragging an uncharged hoseline from a fire apparatus to a structure and pulling an uncharged hoseline around obstacles while remaining stationary. This event challenges aerobic capacity, lower body muscular strength and endurance, upper back muscular strength and endurance, grip strength and endurance, and anaerobic endurance.

A hoseline nozzle attached to 200 feet of hose is grasped and placed over the shoulder or across the chest up to eight feet. While walking or running, the participant drags the hose 75 feet to a pre-positioned drum, makes a 90° turn, and continues an additional 25 feet. After stopping within the marked box, the candidate drops to at least one knee and pulls the hoseline until the 50-foot mark crosses the finish line.

During the hose drag, failure results if the participant does not go around the drum or goes outside of the marked path. During the hose pull, a warning is given if at least one knee is not kept in contact with the ground or if the knees go outside the marked boundary line; a second warning constitutes failure.

Event 3: Equipment Carry

This event uses two saws and a tool cabinet replicating a storage cabinet on a fire truck. It is simulates 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. This event challenges aerobic capacity, upper body muscular strength and endurance, lower body muscular endurance, grip endurance, and balance.

The candidate must remove the two saws from the tool cabinet, one at a time, and place them on the ground. Then he/she picks up both saws (one in each hand) and carries them while walking 75 feet around a drum, then back to the starting point. Placing the saw(s) on the ground to adjust a grip is permitted. Upon return to the tool cabinet, the saws are placed on the ground, then picked up one at a time, and replaced in the cabinet.

Dropping either saw on the ground during the carry will result in immediate failure. A warning will be given for running; a second warning constitutes a failure.

Event 4: Ladder Raise and Extension

This event, which uses two 24-foot aluminum extension ladders, is designed to simulate the placement of a ground ladder at a fire structure and extending it to the roof or window. This event challenges aerobic capacity, upper body muscular strength, lower body muscular strength, balance, grip strength, and anaerobic endurance. The participant must walk to the top rung of oneladder, lift the unhinged end from the ground, and walk it up hand over hand until it is stationary against the wall. Then he/she immediately proceeds to the other pre-positioned ladder, stands with both feet within the marked box, extends the fly section hand over hand until it hits the stop, then lowers it back to the starting position.

Immediate failure will result if the ladder is allowed to fall to the ground, if control is not maintained in a hand-over-hand manner, or if the rope halyard slips in an uncontrolled manner. Missing any rung during the raise or allowing one’s feet to extend outside of the boundary results in a warning; a second warning constitutes a failure.

Event 5: Forcible Entry

This event uses a mechanized device that measures cumulative force and a 10-pound sledgehammer. It simulates the critical tasks of using force to open a locked door or to breach a wall. This event challenges aerobic capacity, upper body muscular strength and endurance, lower body muscular strength and endurance, balance, grip strength and endurance, and anaerobic endurance.

For this event, the candidate uses the sledgehammer to strike a measuring device in a target area until the buzzer activates. Feet must be kept outside the toe-box at all times.

Failure results if the participant does not maintain control of the sledgehammer and releases it from both hands while swinging. A warning is given for stepping inside the toe-box; a second warning constitutes a failure.

Event 6: Search

This event uses an enclosed search maze that has obstacles and narrowedspaces. It simulates the critical task of searching for a fire victim with limited visibility in an unpredictable area. This event challenges aerobic capacity, upper body muscular strength and endurance, agility, balance, anaerobic endurance, and kinesthetic awareness.

For this event, the candidate crawls through a tunnel maze that is approximately 3 feet high, 4 feet wide, 64 feet in length, and has two 90° turns and multiple obstacles. In addition, there are two locations where the dimensions of the tunnel are reduced. If at any point the participant chooses to end the event, he/she can call out or rap sharply on the wall or ceiling and will be assisted out of the maze although doing so will result in failure of the event. Failure also will occur if the candidate requests assistance that requires the opening of the escape hatch or opening of the entrance/exit covers.

Event 7: Rescue

This event uses a weighted mannequin equipped with a shoulder harness to simulate the critical task of removing a victim or injured partner from a fire scene. This event challenges aerobic capacity, upper and lower body muscular strength and endurance, grip strength and endurance, and anaerobic endurance.

The participant grasps a 165-pound mannequin by the handle(s) on the shoulder(s) of the harness (either one or both handles are permitted), drags it 35 feet, makes a 180° turn around a pre-positioned drum, and continues an additional 35 feet to the finish line. Grasping or resting on the drum is not permitted, but the mannequin may touch the drum. The candidate is permitted to drop and release the mannequin to adjust his/her grip. The entire mannequin must be dragged across the finish line.

Grasping or resting on the drum at any time results in a warning; a second warning constitutes a failure.

Event 8: Ceiling Breach and Pull

This event uses a mechanized device that measures overhead push and pull forces and a pike pole. The pike pole is a commonly used piece of equipment that consists of a six-foot long pole with a hook and point attached to one end. This event simulates the critical task of breaching and pulling down a ceiling to check for fire extension. It challenges aerobic capacity, upper and lower body muscular strength and endurance, grip strength and endurance, and anaerobic endurance.After removing the pike pole from the bracket, the participant places the tip of the pole on a 60-pound hinged door in the ceiling and pushes it three times while standing within the established boundary. Then, the pike pole is hooked to a 80-pound ceiling device and pulled five times. Each set consists of three pushes and five pulls; the set is repeated four times. A pause for grip adjustment is allowed.

Releasing one’s grip or allowing the pike pole handle to slip does not result in a warning or constitute a failure. The candidate may re-establish his/her grip and resume the event. If a repetition is not successfully completed, the proctor calls out "MISS" and the apparatus must be pushed or pulled again to complete the repetition. This event and the total test time ends when the final pull stroke repetition is completed and the proctor calls "TIME."

A warning is given for dropping the pike pole to the ground or for feet straying outside the boundaries; a second warning of either violation constitute a failure.

Testing Locations

Candidate Physical Ability Test

Anniston Fire Department
(256) 342-2246

Captain Johnnie Phelps
Complete Indoor Testing: 5304 McClellan Blvd, Anniston, Alabama 36206
Email to schedule a testing appointment
Cost: $50
Website

Demopolis Fire Department
(334) 289-1212

Deputy Chief Keith Murray
Indoor Testing Location: 918 South Cedar Ave., Demopolis, Alabama 36732
Every 2nd & 4th Friday @ 8am
Cost: $75
Website

Dothan Fire Department
Fort Payne Fire & Rescue
(256) 996-8495

Scot Westbrook
Website
Upcoming dates:
Saturday February 13 @ 9am
Saturday February 27 @ 9am
Saturday March 13 @ 9am
Saturday March 27 @ 9am

Mobile Fire Department
Montgomery Fire Department
(334) 625-4626

Chief Christopher L. Gosha
Website

Opelika Fire Department
Phenix City Fire Department
Rocky Ridge Fire Department
Slocomb Fire & Rescue
(334) 797-6069

Captain Steve Miller
Facebook Page

Trussville Fire & Rescue

Get started by downloading the CPAT verification form.

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