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What is CPAT?

The Fire Service Joint Labor Management Wellness/Fitness Initiative Candidate Physical Ability Test © (CPAT) was developed to test firefighter candidates on their ability to perform simulated tasks consistent with the duties of a firefighter. It is designed to ensure that candidates possess the physical ability to complete critical tasks effectively and safely.

The CPAT is a standardized test that consists of a sequence of eight (8) separate critical events completed in a predetermined path from one event to another in a continuous manner. This is a pass/ fail test based on a maximum total time of 10 minutes and 20 seconds.

During the test, candidates wear a 50-pound vest to simulate the weight of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and firefighter protective clothing (“turnouts”). In addition, two 12.5-pound weights are placed on the candidate’s shoulders during the Stair Climb Event only, to simulate carrying a high-rise pack (hose bundle).

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.

The eight (8) events are administered 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.


Before the Test

1) Must present valid identification
2) Will need to sign a number of forms including:

  • Waiver
  • Release form
  • Sign-in form

3) Will be provided an opportunity to review a video detailing the CPAT and the failure points
4) It is the candidate’s responsibility to ask questions if any part of the test events or procedures are not understood


After the Test

At the conclusion of the CPAT, the candidate must sign the CPAT Evaluation Form and complete and sign the Rehabilitation Form.
» NOTE: Failure to complete and sign any of these forms results in failure of the CPAT.

Eight Separate Events

CPAT consists of eight separate 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


How Do I Prepare for the CPAT?

The job of a firefighter is one of the most physically demanding jobs in North America and requires high levels of aerobic endurance, muscular strength and muscular endurance. The Candidate Physical Ability Test consists of eight (8) critical physical tasks designed to simulate the job duties of a firefighter on the fire-ground. This test is physically demanding and requires that one be physically fit to be successful.

A CPAT Candidate Preparation Guide is available for all candidates who wish to prepare themselves for this test. Every candidate should begin preparing in advance for this physical test.


CPAT Orientation & Practice

Candidates who are referred to participate in the CPAT phase of the hiring process will have an opportunity to attend a CPAT orientation eight weeks prior to the actual test date. During this orientation, candidates will receive the CPAT Orientation Guide and will be shown the CPAT Orientation Video. Candidates will also be given time to practice test tasks and receive valuable physical training tips from Division of Fire Peer Fitness Trainers.

Candidates who are invited are required to participate in two orientations and two practice sessions. It is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED for all candidates who receive an invitation to plan on taking the CPAT test.

It is recognized that some individuals may be capable of passing CPAT without participation in these programs. These individuals may excuse themselves from this mandatory condition upon the receipt by the Fire Department of a written and signed waiver acknowledging that the Fire Department made available these programs on an equal basis to all candidates and that the candidate knowingly and voluntarily waived participation in the orientation and practice sessions.
» NOTE: The Firefighter CPAT is very strenuous. If you have had a recent illness, injury, surgery, or are on medication, consult with your healthcare provider to determine if you should participate in the CPAT.


More detailed information about the CPAT is available through the links below:

CPAT Orientation Guide »
Candidate Preparation Guide »