The International Association of Fire Fighters and the International Association of Fire Chiefs have jointly created a standardized test that assists fire departments throughout North America recruit candidates who are physically capable of performing essential job tasks. This test - the CPAT - is acknowledged as a reliable indicator of an individual’s ability to function at the fire scene.
The CPAT was developed after years of research and input from an international committee comprised of IAFF and IAFC members. The test requires firefighter candidates to engage in the following activities:
All of these exercises must be completed in less than 10 minutes and 20 seconds. Candidate success is measured on a pass/fail basis. Throughout the CPAT, candidates wear a hard hat, gloves, and a 50-pound vest to simulate the weight of a self-contained breathing apparatus and firefighter protective clothing.
To ensure that all candidates have an equal opportunity to succeed, the CPAT includes a Pre-Test Preparation Program that begins eight weeks prior to the test. This process involves an explanation of the test (PDF) and its physical demands, recommendations of training and conditioning drills (PDF), and an opportunity to preview and practice the test.
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.