Nature And Usefulness Of The CPAT

Utility of Taking the CPAT

The CPAT, which is also known as the Candidate Physical Ability Test, is a performance-based test conducted at various centers across the USA to help fire departments in the recruitment of firefighters. The test is based on performance of eight specific tasks that have to be carried out by the candidate in a given sequence. The total time allotted for all the tasks is 10 minutes and 20 seconds. While performing these tasks, a candidate needs to wear a vest that weighs 50 pounds. Each of these eight tasks is physically demanding and exhausting. The events include stair climb, ladder extension, hose drag and ceiling breach etc. Thus, all candidates need extensive and long-term practice for each event. This article discusses the importance and utility of taking the test; however, before that, there are some other aspects of the test that must be explored.

The Eight Events of the CPAT

Following are the eight events that are tested in the test:

  1. Stair Climb: In this event, the candidate needs to climb a flight of stairs while wearing a vest (that weighs 50 pounds) and carrying an extra weight of 25 pounds.
  2. Hose Drag: In this event, the candidate needs to hold a water hose pope from its front nozzle and then drag it for 75 feet.
  3. Equipment Carry: In this event, the candidate has to pick two heavy chainsaws. Holding the chainsaws in the hands, he or she needs to run 75 feet towards a point and back.
  4. Ladder Raise and Extension: In this event, the candidate is required to hold and uplift a ladder upwards and join it with another ladder.
  5. Forcible Entry: In this event, the candidate is needed to enter a forcible entry station.
  6. Search: This event of the test requires you to look for and find a missing item or an injured victim in a room that will be full of smoke.
  7. Rescue: In this event, the candidate has to walk for 85 feet and then lift a mannequin before dragging it for 35 feet.
  8. Ceiling Breach or Pull: This event evaluates the ability to break open the ceiling and check for possible property damage in the upper floor.

Finding a Test Location

There are various testing centers across the country. A candidate can visit the link to check all the available locations for this test along with their respective test schedules. One can find a list of states on this link; out of the given list of states, a candidate needs to click on the state where he or she wishes to appear for the examination. A list of centers will be displayed, from which he or she can select his or her preference and move on with the test registration process.

Registration and Orientation Details

In order to register for the test, a candidate can visit the link He or she can enter the details of the account or create a new account if not created already. The fee for the test is 150$ including the fee for two orientation sessions. The payment for the fee has to be made by using MasterCard or Visa card only.

Importance of the CPAT Exam

  1. For the Candidates

    The test is very important for all the candidates who wish to pursue a career in firefighting. Each candidate is given an opportunity to undergo orientations and practice sessions. Additionally, before the test, each candidate is shown a review of the common failure points so that the candidates take care of those while performing the test. Following are the benefits of taking the test:

    • The greatest benefit for the candidates is that they get a fair idea of how they stand with respect to the physical standards required by the fire departments.
    • They are able to evaluate their own fitness levels and are able to determine whether they have a chance of being employed in the fire department or not.
    • The exam also gives them an opportunity to practice and work hard towards achieving perfect physical agility and strength.

  2. For the Fire Department

    The main aims behind developing the test are as follows:

    • The department needs to select candidates from a large pool of applicants. The candidates have to be selected on the basis of whether they have the physical ability to be trained as fire fighters in the future or not.
    • If they are deemed physically fit, then they are called for a simple written test and an interview. After clearing these stages of selection, the candidates are given an extensive training for becoming a firefighter.
    • Yet another aim of this test is to select those candidates for the firefighting departments who carry the potential to saves lives of others by putting their own lives in danger.

Hence, it can be concluded that the test is very important for any firefighting candidate as well for the fire department that is looking for new recruits. The reason it is important is because it tests the main skill required in firefighting and rescue operations – physical agility and strength. If a candidate is not strong enough to carry out the eight tasks in the test in the given period, then he or she cannot be expected to carry out rescue or firefighting operations with ease and efficiency. Hence, it is recommended that if any one wishes to join the firefighting department of his or her own state, then he or she must carry out extensive physical training and practice to develop the minimum level of fitness required for the test.

Terms and Conditions

Information published in is provided for informational and educational purpose alone for deserving students, researchers and academicians. Though our volunteers take great amount of pain and spend significant time in validating the veracity of the information or study material presented here, we cannot be held liable for any incidental mistakes. All rights reserved. No information or study material in this web site can be reproduced or transmitted in any form, without our prior consent. However the study materials and web pages can be linked from your web site or web page for

  • Research

  • Education

  • Academic purposes

No permission is required to link any of the web page with educational information available in this web site from your web site or web page