Fire Fighter Physical Test - Candidate Physical Abilities Test (CPAT)

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about the cpat

The CPAT is designed to simulate the physical tasks of Fire Fighting. The demands of the CPAT test the candidates aerobic and anaerobic capacity, strength, endurance and mobility.

The Candidate Physical Abilities Test consists of 8 sections:

  1. Stair Climb
  2. Hose Drag
  3. Equipment Carry
  4. Ladder Raise/Extension
  5. Forcible Entry
  6. Search
  7. Rescue
  8. Ceiling Breach/Pull

Candidates are required to complete the test within 10 minutes and 20 seconds. Inability to do so results in a failure of the CPAT.

Throughout the test Candidates wear a 50-pound weighted vest, simulating the weight of the Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (CBSA) and the rest of their protective gear.

Below is a description of each section of the CPAT test in more detail. Though this is a standardized test, testing personnel, equipment, and course layout may differ between testing facilities. This being said, the distances between stations and the stations themselves remain unchanged.


Section 1: Stair Climb

This section starts with a 20-seconds warm up on the Stairmill. After the 20-second warm up, 25-pounds of weight is added to the participants shoulders. The testing potion starts when the the testing staff says 'Start', and consists walking for 3 minutes on a Stairmill, while wearing an additional 25-pound in addition to the standard 50-pound weighted vest, at a cadence of 60 steps per minute.


Section 2: Hose Drag

Participants drag a 200-foot hoseline 75 feet and around a barrel, making a 90-degree turn. The participant then continues and additional 25 feet until they come to the Pulling station of the event, at which point they will drop to at least one knee and pull the hoseline 50-feet. 


section 3: Equipment Carry

During the Equipment Carry section participants will remove two Power Saws from an equipment shelf, removing them one at a time, and then proceed to carry them 75 feet to a turning point and then back to the starting position. Each saw weighs approximately 25 pounds.


Section 4: Ladder Raise and Extension

During this section, participants will raise a 24-foot aluminum extension ladder until it is still against the wall. Participants will then extend a second later by pulling on the rope fly until it has reached full extension, and then lower it back down in a controlled manner.


Section 5: Forcible Entry

Participants use a 10-pound sledgehammer and strike a horizontal target until the buzzer is activated.


Section 6: Search

This event requires participants to navigate through a 64-foot tunnel maze (dimensions: approx 4-ft x 3-ft). The maze consists of two 90-degree turn and multiple over/under obstacles and some narrow-space crawls.


Section 7: Rescue

Participants are required to drag a 165-pound mannequin, grasping the mannequin by handles on the harness, 35-feet and 180-degrees around a barrel. They then drag the mannequin for an additional 35 feet and entirely across the finish line.


Section 8: Ceiling Breach and Pull

Participants will use a pike pole to raise a 60-pound hinged door 3 times and pull down an 80-pound hinged door 5 times. The participant will repeat this sequence for four sets.

Once the participant has completed section 8 they have finished the test and their time is recorded.

Fit to Fight: Fire Fighter Training Program

The Fit to Fight Program is a step by step guide to training for the CPAT and your career as a Fire Fighter.

Program consists of 26 different exercises to help you build the skills and strength needed for a successful career.

Along with exercise tutorials are Plug-and-Play workout templates, exercise theory and recommended tools to train from home.

Start your Dream Career