Information Regarding The CPAT

How to Become a Firefighter

The CPAT stands for the Candidate Physical Ability Test. It is an indoor test that evaluates candidates for the job of a firefighter. This evaluation is carried out by firefighting professionals who subject them to various physical tasks so that they can demonstrate their level of physical fitness. For more information, you can visit the official website of the test at This test is specifically held for residents of all states in the USA. In this article, the structure of the test is discussed in detail.

Test Structure and Tasks

The firefighting test is administered by the CFFJAC (California Fire Fighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee). It measures the physical capabilities of firefighting recruits and candidates in eight areas that will be specific to their job. These areas are listed below:

  1. Stair Climb: This skill is needed when the firefighters have to travel to various floors of a building for firefighting and rescue operations.

  2. Hose Drag: This skill is needed when the firefighters need to fight the fire with the help of a water canon or a water hose pipe.

  3. Equipment Carry: This skill is required when the firefighters have to drag or carry heavy firefighting equipment across several distances in order to fight the fire.

  4. Ladder Raise: This skill is especially needed when the evacuation is done externally through windows.

  5. Forcible Entry: This skill needs to be shown in case the entry and exit passages are blocked and a forced entry needs to be made.

  6. Search: This skill is used when the firefighters have to search for missing items or injured persons.

  7. Rescue Drag: This skill is needed in case an injured victim has to be pulled out to safety.

  8. Ceiling Breach and Pull: This skill has to be demonstrated when the entry passages are blocked and the only way to enter the area is to breach the ceiling and pull out the survivors.

There is no fixed time limit for individual events in the exam; however, the total time allowed for completing all eight events is 10 minutes 20 seconds.

Orientation and Training

For a modest amount of fee, the firefighting recruits and candidates can undergo an orientation and also participate in a rigorous run test that covers these eight basic physical firefighting skills. By paying an extra fee, you may also use the firefighting equipment on a scheduled practice day and acquaint yourself with these tasks prior to the testing day.

There are some international standards defined for the firefighting test.

  • These standards mention that each candidate or recruit has a right to obtain two orientation sessions within a time period of eight weeks before taking the actual test.
  • The pre-test program also offers each recruit or candidate to perform two practice runs that will be timed.
  • In a situation where you decide to forego the practice runs, you need to sign a waiver document in which you will be acknowledging that you have yourself denied the pre-test program.

Registration and Eligibility Requirements

There are two conditions that you need to meet to appear for the physical test:

  1. You need to be at least 18 years of age.
  2. You must hold a valid government identification proof with a photo.

The fee for taking the two orientations and the test is 150$. For each timed practice run, you need to pay 25$ extra. There are two ways by which you can register for the test: online registration (by visiting the link ) and registration by mail.

For preparing this part of the test, you need to go through the Prep guide that is freely downloadable at the official website at the link

Hence, it can be concluded that the recruits and candidates are assessed on the basis of the physical skills and abilities that they are able to demonstrate on test day. The eight skills in which they have to show their strengths, are very important in a firefighter's job. In any firefighting or rescue operations, most of these skills are needed. Hence, you need to practice and workout keeping the test structure and skill levels in mind in order to pass the test with flying colors.

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