The Candidate Physical Abilities Test

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What is CPAT?

Firefighting is a physically demanding profession.  The ability to be able to physically perform the rigorous demands of the job is paramount for your personal safety as well as the safety of your crew and the members of our community.  We are committed to the reality that fire does not care if you are a volunteer or career member, you must be able to perform your duties.  Because of this harsh reality, the City of Franklin Division of Fire requires the successful passage of CPAT, a standard which has been in place since 2002.

Preparing for the CPAT
We are going to say it again.  Being a firefighter is one of the most physically demanding jobs a person can have, and our hiring standards reflect situations you are likely to encounter on the job. Candidates who attend the CPAT practice session(s) and who participate in some form of physical training before taking the test have a higher pass rate. 

Our goal is to help you pass this test!  Below you will find a description of the exam.  We own and administer this exam so you can practice with us.  CLICK HERE to download the CPAT Preparation Guide which will assist you in preparing for this test.  Those who prepare in advance for this test do much better than those who do not.

Weights and Clothing
In these events, you wear a 50-pound (22.68-kg) vest to simulate the weight of a 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), are added for the stair climb event. Throughout all events, you must wear long pants, a hard hat with chinstrap, work gloves and footwear with no open heel or toe. Watches and loose or restrictive jewelry are not permitted.

The CPAT consists of eight events designed to simulate some of the more physically demanding tasks of the firefighter. Applicants walk 85 feet between each event and wear a 50-pound vest throughout the timed test. Applicants may experience extreme fatigue, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, and difficulty in breathing. The test includes work in very small, tight, and dark spaces and may include harsh environmental conditions. We strongly suggest that applicants begin preparation for the test in the form of walking, jogging, bicycling, etc.
  • Stair Climb: Wearing two 12.5-pound weights on their shoulders, applicants walk on a StepMill at a set stepping rate of 60 steps per minute for three minutes. The shoulder weights are then removed.
  • Hose Drag: Applicants grasp a hoseline nozzle attached to 200 feet of 1 ¾ inch hose drag it a total of 100 feet. Applicants then drop to one knee and pull 50 feet of hoseline toward them.
  • Equipment Carry: Applicants remove two saws, weighing 32 and 28 pounds, from a tool cabinet, carry them 75 feet, and replace them in the cabinet.
  • Ladder Raise and Extension: Applicants lift up one end of a 24-foot aluminum extension ladder and raise it in hand-over-hand fashion until it is stationary against a wall. Proceeding to a second 24-foot ladder, applicants first extend and then lower the fly section in hand-over-hand fashion.
  • Forcible Entry: Applicants use a 10-pound sledgehammer to strike a measuring device repeatedly until a buzzer is activated.
  • Search: Applicants crawl through a tunnel maze that is approximately three feet high, four feet wide, and 64 feet long. Throughout the maze, applicants navigate around, over, and under obstacles.
  • Rescue: Applicants grasp a 165-pound mannequin and drag it a total of 70 feet.
  • Ceiling Breach and Pull: Applicants use a pike pole to push open a 60-pound hinged ceiling door three times. Then they use the pike pole to pull open an 80-pound door five times. This sequence is repeated four times. This event concludes the CPAT.

Tools and Equipment
All props are 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.

Sequence and Timing Procedures
The events are placed in a sequence that best stimulates 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, there can be no running between events. This walk allows you approximately 20 seconds to recover and regroup before each event.

To ensure scoring accuracy by eliminating timer failure, 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 a pass/fail time and count down from 10 minutes and 20 seconds. If time elapses before the completion of the test, the test is concluded and you fail the test.

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