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Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT)

The entire Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) is completed while wearing a 50 pound (22.68 kilogram) vest to simulate the weight of the Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) and fire fighter protective clothing. An additional 25 pounds (11.34 kg), using two 12.5 pound (5.67 kilogram) weights that simulate a high-rise pack (hose bundle), is added only 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.

The CPAT consists of eight separate events in sequence requiring you to progress along a predetermined path from event to event in a continuous manner.

The CPAT test is a pass/fail event. A failure results if the candidate is unable to complete the test in a validated time of 10 minutes and 20 seconds or less, or if the candidate is unable to complete an event correctly.

Events

  1. Stair Climb
  2. Hose Drag
  3. Equipment Carry
  4. Ladder Raise and Extension
  5. Forcible Entry
  6. Search
  7. Rescue
  8. Ceiling Breach and Pull

Event 1: Stair Climb

Watch the Stair Climb video.

Equipment

This event is completed on a StairMaster StepMill. The StepMill is positioned against a wall with one handrail removed and the other handrail available for the candidate to grasp while mounting and dismounting the StepMill.

Purpose of evaluation

This event is designed to simulate the critical task of climbing stairs in full protective clothing while carrying fire fighter equipment.

Event

During the StepMill event you are required to wear two 12.5 pound (5.67 kilogram) weights on your shoulders to simulate the weight of a high-rise pack (hose bundle). Prior to starting the timed CPAT, you will have a 20 second warm-up on the StepMill at a stepping rate of 50 steps per minute. 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 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 the 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 for 3 minutes.

This concludes the event. The two 12.5 pound (5.67 kilogram) weights are removed from your shoulders and you will walk 85 feet (25.91 metres) within the established walkway to the next event.

Failures

If you fall or dismount the StepMill three times during the warm-up period, you fail the test.

If you fall, grasp any of the test equipment or step off the StepMill after the timed CPAT begins, the test time is concluded and you fail the test.

During the test, you are permitted to touch the wall or handrail for balance only momentarily. However, if the wall or handrail is grasped or touched for an extended period of time or if the wall or handrail is used for weight bearing, you are warned. Only two warnings are given. The third infraction constitutes a failure, the test time is stopped and you fail the test.

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Event 2: Hose Drag

Watch the Hose Drag video.

Equipment

This event uses an uncharged fire hose with a hoseline nozzle. The hoseline is marked at 8 feet (2.24 metres) past the coupling at the nozzle to indicate the maximum amount of hose you are permitted to drape across your shoulder or chest. The hoseline is also marked at 50 feet (15.24 metres) past the coupling at the nozzle to indicate the amount of hoseline that you must pull into a marked boundary box before completing the test.

Purpose of evaluation

The hose drag 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.

Event

During the hose drag event, you grasp an automatic nozzle attached to 200 feet (60 metres) of 1 ¾ inch (44 millimetre) hose. The hoseline is placed over the shoulder or across the chest, not exceeding the 8 foot (2.44 metre) mark. During the hose drag you are permitted to run. You must drag the hose 75 feet (22.86 metres) to a pre-positioned drum, make a ninety degree turn around the drum and continue an additional 25 feet (7.62 metres).

Next, you stop within the marked 5 foot by 7 foot (1.52 metre x 2.13 metre) box, drop to at least one knee and pull the hoseline until the hoseline’s 50 foot (15.24 metre) mark is across the finish line. During the hose pull, you must keep at least one knee in contact with the ground and your knee(s) must remain within the marked boundary lines.

This concludes the event; you then walk 85 feet (25.91 metres) within the established walkway to the next event.

Failures

During the hose drag, if you fail to go around the drum or go outside the marked path, the test time is concluded and you fail the test. 

During the hose pull, you are warned if at least one knee is not kept in contact with the ground. The second infraction constitutes a failure, the test time is concluded and you fail the test.

During the hose pull, you are warned if the knee goes outside the marked boundary line. The second infraction constitutes a failure, the test time is concluded and you fail the test.

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Event 3: Equipment Carry

Watch the Equipment Carry video.

Equipment

This event uses two saws and a tool cabinet replicating a storage cabinet on a fire truck.

Purpose of evaluation

The equipment carry 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.

Event

During the equipment carry event, you remove two saws from the tool cabinet, one at a time, and place them on the ground. Next, you pick up both saws, one in each hand, and carry them while walking 75 feet (22.86 metres) 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 place the saws on the ground, and then picking up each saw one at a time, replace the saw in the designated space in the cabinet.

This concludes the event; you then walk 85 feet (25.91 metres) within the established walkway to the next event.

Failures

If you drop either saw on the ground during the carry, the test time is concluded and you fail the test.

You will receive one warning for running. The second infraction constitutes a failure, the test time is concluded and you fail the test.

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Event 4: Ladder Raise and Extension

Watch the Ladder Raise and Extension video.

Equipment

This event uses two 24 foot (7.32 metre) fire department ladders. For your safety, a retractable lanyard is attached to the ladder that you raise.

Purpose of evaluation

The ladder raise and extension 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.

Event

During the ladder raise and extension event, you walk to the top rung of the 24 foot (7.32 metre) aluminum extension ladder, lift 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.

Next you immediately proceed to the pre-positioned and secured 24 foot (7.32 metre) aluminum extension ladder, stand with both feet within the marked box of 36 inches by 36 inches (91.44 centimetres x 91.44 centimetres) 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 then walk 85 feet (25.91 metres) within the established walkway to the next event.

Failures

If you miss any rung during the raise, one warning is given. The second infraction constitutes a failure, the test time is concluded and you fail the test.

If you allow the ladder to fall to the ground or the safety lanyard is activated because you completely release the grip on the ladder, the test time is concluded and you fail the test.

If during the ladder extension, your feet do not remain within the marked boundary lines, one warning is given. The second infraction constitutes a failure, the test time is concluded and you fail the test.

If you fail to maintain control of the ladder in a hand over hand manner, or let the rope lanyard slip in an uncontrolled manner, your test time is concluded and you fail the test.

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Event 5: Forcible Entry

Watch the Forcible Entry video.

Equipment

This event uses a mechanized device located 39 inches (1 metre) off the ground that measures cumulative force and a 10 pound (4.54 kilogram) sledgehammer.

Purpose of evaluation

The forcible entry event is designed to simulate the critical tasks of using force to open a locked door to breach a wall.

Event

During the forcible entry event, you will use a 10 pound (4.54 kilogram) sledgehammer and strike a measuring device in the target area until a buzzer signal is activated. Your feet must remain outside the toe-box.  After the buzzer is activated, you place the sledgehammer on the ground. 

This concludes the event; you then walk 85 feet (25.91 metres) within the established walkway to the next event.

Failures

If you do not maintain control of the sledgehammer and it releases from both hands while swinging, it constitutes a failure, the test time is concluded and you fail the test.

If you step inside the toe-box, one warning is given. The second infraction constitutes a failure, the test time is concluded and you fail the test.

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Event 6: Search

Watch the Search video.

Equipment

This event uses an enclosed search maze that has obstacles and narrowed spaces.

Purpose of evaluation

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

Event

During the rescue event, you crawl on hands and knees through a tunnel maze that is approximately 3 feet (91.44 centimetres) high, 4 feet (121.92 centimetres) wide and 64 feet (19.51 metres) in length with two ninety degree turns. At a number of locations in the tunnel, you navigate around, over and under obstacles. In addition, at two locations, you crawl through a narrowed space where the dimensions of the tunnel are reduced. Your movement is monitored through the maze. If for any reason, you choose to end the event, call out or rap sharply on the wall or ceiling and you will be assisted out.

Upon exit from the maze, the event is concluded you then walk 85 feet (25.91 metres) within the established walkway to the next event.

Failures

Your request for assistance, requiring the opening of the escape hatch or opening of the entrance/exit covers, constitutes a failure, the test time is concluded and you fail the test.

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Event 7: Rescue

Watch the Rescue video.

Equipment

This event uses a weighted mannequin equipped with a harness with shoulder handles.

Purpose of evaluation

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

Event

During the rescue event, you grasp the 165 pound (74.84 kilogram) mannequin by the handle(s) on the shoulder(s) of the harness (either one or both handles are permitted), drag it 35 feet (10.67 metres) to a pre-positioned drum, make a one hundred and eighty degree turn around the drum, and continue an additional 35 feet (10.67 metres) to the finish line.

You are not permitted to grasp or rest on the drum. It is permissible for the mannequin to touch the drum. You are permitted to drop and release the mannequin and adjust the grip. The entire mannequin must be dragged past the marked finish line.

This concludes the event you then walk 85 feet (25.91 metres) within the established walkway to the next event.

Failures

If you grasp or rest on the drum at any time, one warning is given.  The second infraction constitutes a failure, the test time is concluded and you fail the test.

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Event 8: Ceiling Breach and Pull

Watch the Ceiling Breach and Pull video.

Equipment

This event uses a mechanized device that measures overhead push and pull forces when using a pike pole. The pike pole is a commonly used piece of equipment that consists of a 6-foot long pole with a hook and point attached to one end.

Purpose of evaluation

The ceiling breach and pull is designed to simulate the critical task of breaching and pulling down a ceiling to check for fire extension.

Event

During the ceiling breach and pull event, you 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 then fully push up the hinged door in the ceiling with the pike pole three times.

Next, you hook the pike pole to the ceiling device and pull the pole down five times. Each set consists of three pushes and five pulls, the set is repeated four times. You are permitted to stop and, if needed, adjust the grip. Releasing the grip or slipping from the pike pole handle, without the pike pole falling to the ground, does not result in a warning or constitute a failure. You may re-establish the grip and resume the event. If you do not successfully complete a repetition, 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.”

Failures

One warning is given if you drop the pike pole to the ground. If you drop the pike pole, it must be picked up without proctor assistance and the event is resumed. The second infraction constitutes a failure, the test time is concluded and you fail the test.

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Candidate Physical Ability Test Candidate Orientation Guide.

For a printer friendly version of the CPAT events on this page, download the Candidate Physical Ability Test Candidate Orientation Guide (PDF).