CPAT Entrance Exam
The CPAT is a test that firefighting aspirants have to take, in order to qualify for admission in professional firefighting academies, in the United States of America. This firefighting aptitude test is developed by the Task Force and conducted by the California Fire Fighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee. The CFFJAC CPAT is conducted in Orange, Livermore and Sacramento, and it is quite a tough examination that is of international standards. It is meant for those with a robust health and athletically-oriented lifestyle.
An Overview of the CPAT
The examination has eight events comprising activities that simulate the tasks that professional firefighters may have to perform, while on duty. Test-takers have to wear a 50 lbs. vest for the entire test, to simulate the weight of the firefighting costume that professional firefighters wear. These events are summarized as below:
Stair Climb- This event requires the candidate to climb up a given set of stairs, at a rate of 60/min. carrying a total weight of 75 lbs. on his/her body.
Hose Drag- This event requires the candidate to drag a long hosepipe behind him/her, while running, for a distance of 75 feet. On reaching the destination, this examinee has to drag the hosepipe across the finishing boundary line, while taking care to follow the instructions given by his/her proctor, strictly.
Equipment Carry- This event involves carrying a set of given equipments, by the candidate, for a distance of 75 ft., and keeping them back in the place from where they were picked up. Professional firefighters have to take out power tools from firefighting apparatus, use them, and place them back in the firefighting apparatus. The Equipment Carry CPAT activity is designed for testing the ability of a candidate to simulate the above mentioned task of the professional firefighters, impeccably.
Ladder Raise/ Extension- This activity involves, lifting a 24 feet ladder from a horizontal position and placing it in vertical position, and in the next step, extending it with the help of a rope.
Forcible Entry- This event involves a candidate's hitting a target, with a 10 lbs. sledge hammer till a buzzer buzzes. Often, firefighters have to break open doors and walls in order to rescue lives trapped behind them. This activity tests a candidate’s ability to perform such tasks efficiently.
Search- This event is based on the goal of searching for fire victims in dark places. The test activity, for this event, requires the candidate to pass through a dark "tunnel (a passage made for testing purposes)", without disturbing any of the objects that he/she may encounter within it.
Rescue- This activity, requires the candidate to carry a dummy firefighting victim, for a specified distance, on a predetermined path.
Ceiling Breach and Pull- This activity is aimed at testing the extension of fire to a location, and is performed by opening a "ceiling (a structure resembling a ceiling made for test purposes)", with a pike pole, in the test.
Duration- The total duration of all the test activities is 10 minutes 20 seconds. The candidates have to complete all the activities within this time duration; otherwise, they will be disqualified in this test.
Scoring- This is a pass/fail test. Taking part in all the events of the test is mandatory. Thus, a candidate has to pass in each and every event of this test, in order to pass this test. As the events are organized in a sequence, failure in one test, will lead to the conclusion of the test for the concerned candidate.
Here is a checklist of things that one has to do in order to appear for the test:
- Check your suitability for the test by collecting information in detail about a career in firefighting and the test.
- Register for the examination at the official web page (https://www.cffjac.org/go/jac/cpat/registration/?display=login&returnURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cffjac.org%2Fgo%2Fjac%2Fcpat%2Fregistration%2F)
- Decide upon a test date, taking care to keep sufficient time for preparation in hand.
- Prepare well for the test by attending the official Orientation and Practice sessions, and taking coaching from a good preparation center.
- Keep in touch with your testing center for information updates on this examination.
Firefighting is a competitive, well-paying and adventurous career, in which a person, with the courage of risking his/her own life for saving the life of another, is suited.
A firefighter should be available for work in very short notice periods, and should be willing to go to any location under short notice, as required by the firefighting organization for which he/she works.
Persons, who are willing to embrace challenges in life, are the ones who are fit for a career in firefighting. Hence, they should be the ones taking the test.
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