The Candidate Physical Ability Test, or CPAT, is a standardized test created by the International Association of Fire Fighters and the International Association of Fire Chiefs to assist fire departments with the recruitment of candidates who are physically capable of performing the essential tasks of a firefighter. The CPAT is acknowledged as a reliable indicator of an individual's ability to function at the scene of a fire.
The CPAT requires firefighter candidates to engage in the following activities:
- Stair Climb (climbing stairs while carrying an additional 25 pound simulated hose pack)
- Hose Drag (stretching uncharged hoselines, advancing lines)
- Equipment Carry (removing and carrying equipment from fire apparatus to fireground)
- Ladder Raise & Extension (placing a ground ladder at the fire scene and extending the ladder to the roof or a window)
- Forcible Entry (penetrating a locked door, breaching a wall)
- Search (crawling through dark unpredictable areas to search for victims)
- Rescue (removing victim or partner from a fire building)
- Ceiling Breach & Pull (locating fire and checking for fire extension)
All of these exercises must be completed in less than 10 minutes and 20 seconds. Candidates wear a hard hat, gloves and a weighted vest to simulate the weight of firefighting equipment throughout the test. Candidate success is measured on a pass/fail basis.
Naperville administers the CPAT at 1200 W. Ogden Avenue, Naperville, IL 60563.
To ensure that all candidates have an equal opportunity to succeed, the CPAT includes an orientation and mentoring process that begins eight weeks prior to the test. This process involves an explanation of the test and its physical demands, recommendations of training and conditioning drills, and an opportunity to preview and practice the exercises.
The CPAT is a legally defensible and legitimate tool for assessing eligibility for employment. In addition to being endorsed by the IAFF and IAFC, the test meets validity criteria established by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of Labor.