The Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) consists of eight separate events. CPAT is a sequence of events requiring you to progress along a predetermined path from event to event in a continuous manner. The events include: Stair Climb, Hose Drag, Equipment Carry, Ladder Raise and Extension, Forcible Entry, Search, Rescue and Ceiling Breach and Pull. This test was developed to allow fire departments to obtain pools of trainable candidates who are physically able to perform essential job tasks on the fire scene. This is a pass/fail test based on a validated maximum total time of 10 minutes and 20 seconds.
During the events, you wear a 50-pound vest to simulate the weight of a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and firefighter protective clothing, a helmet and gloves. An additional 25 pounds, using two 12.5 pound weights which simulate a high-rise pack (hose bundle), is added to your shoulders for the stair climb event only. Throughout all events, you must wear long pants, footwear with no open heel or toe, a provided hard hat with chinstrap, and provided work gloves. Watches and loose or restrictive jewelry are not permitted.
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. A schematic drawing of the CPAT course is included in the orientation material. The events and distances between events are always the same.
The events are placed 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 intentionally allows you approximately 20 seconds to recover and regroup before each event.
The history of Candidate Physical Ability Testing in Kentucky has shown that preparation is the key to success. CPAT is extremely demanding - CPAT tests your strength, agility, balance and ability to follow directions while under physical and emotional stress. Many have made the error in believing they can pass without proper preparation. The Kentucky Fire Commission is required to offer detailed orientations and two practice tests prior to the administration of CPAT. The orientations include the review of all materials within the Candidate Guide booklet. More importantly, the orientations give the candidate the opportunity to perform a self-evaluation by physically reviewing and using the same equipment used in the testing process. The Practice Tests allow candidates to run the test course under timed conditions. Attending the orientations and practice tests is highly recommended. All testing is dependent on date availability. Upon successful completion of CPAT an official Kentucky Fire Commission CPAT Certification photo ID card will be issued. If this card is lost or stolen there is a $25.00 re-issue fee. Please contact Rick Larkins with questions and inquiries about the program.