Back in the day most career fire departments had their own firefighter fitness test requirements. Most career fire departments now have candidate physical ability tests (CPAT) administered to prospective candidates. They include eight continuous on a path, exercise drills that must be completed in 10 minutes and 20 seconds and is pass or fail.
During the test, candidates are required to wear a 50 lb. vest. with long pants, shoes with no open toes, hard hat w/chinstrap, and gloves. Wearing jewelry is prohibited. The 50 lb. vest is used to simulate wearing self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).
Each exercise station is separated by 85 ft. and requires the candidate to walk between each station. To ensure safety and minimize exhaustion, running between stations is not allowed.
The Eight Firefighter Fitness-CPAT Exercises:
- Stair Climb – The exercise is conducted on a stepping machine requiring 60 steps for 3 minutes. In addition two – 12.5 lb. weights on the shoulder are required. The exercise is completed and the candidate advances to the next station.
- Hose Drag – The candidate places the end of a 200 ft. hose on their shoulder and drags the hose 75 ft. around a barrier, making a 90 degree turn and dragging it another 25 ft. to a 5 x 7 ft. box, on one or two knees the candidate pulls the hose 150 ft. until the 50 ft. hose mark crosses the finish line. The exercise is completed and the candidate advances to the next station.
- Equipment Carry – Two saws are removed from a cabinet and placed on the ground one at a time. Both saws are then carried and required to walk 75 ft. around a barrier and return to the starting point. Both saws are placed on the ground and returned to the cabinet one at a time. The exercise is completed and the candidate advances to the next station.
- Ladder Raise – The candidate walks to the top rung of a 24 ft. aluminum extension ladder, walking the ladder, rung by rung up to a stationary wall. The candidate must stay positioned in a 3 x 3 ft. box near the wall and raise the ladder until it hits the stop and returns the ladder back to its original position. The exercise is completed and the candidate advances to the next station.
- Forcible Entry – The candidate uses a 10 lb. sledgehammer striking a measuring device while in a designated boxed area until the buzzer sounds. The exercise is completed and the candidate advances to the next station.
- Search – The candidate crawls on hands and knees in a tunnel maze 4 ft. wide,3 ft. high, 64 ft. long with two-90 degree turns. In addition there are two areas with significantly reduced space. The exercise is completed and the candidate advances to the next station.
- Rescue Drag – The candidate grabs the handles at the shoulder of a 165 lb. mannequin and drags the mannequin 35 ft. up around a barrier returning the mannequin 35 ft. back to the finish line. The complete body of the mannequin must cross the finish line. The exercise is completed and the candidate advances to the next station.
- Ceiling Breach and Pull – The candidate uses a pike pole to push up a 60-lb. hinged door three times and then use the pike pole to pull an 80-lb. ceiling device pulling the pike pole downwards five time. The routine is conducted 4 more times for a total of 5 times. The exercise is completed after the last pull and the proctor calls out “Time”.
Two stop watches are used, one used for official time and the other for back-up. Any time greater than 10 minutes 20 seconds is a fail. The firefighter fitness CPAT is challenging. To become a firefighter requires significant training in cardiovascular, strength, flexibility and endurance. Stop by often as we look to provide more information about firefighter fitness to help you become a firefighter.