Occupational Assessment (CPAT)

Candidate Physical Ability Test Overview:

This candidate physical ability test (CPAT) consists of eight separate events. The CPAT is a sequence of events requiring you to progress along a predetermined path from event to event in a continuous manner. This test was developed to allow fire departments to obtain pools of trainable candidates who are physically able to perform essential job tasks at fire scenes.

Practical Orientation:

The practical orientation gives candidates the opportunity to physically attempt all of the 8 events and receive hands-on feedback from our experienced proctors. This allows candidates to identify and strengthen any weaknesses within the CPAT course.

CPAT Orientation sessions will be regularly offered to familiarize candidates with the course. Sessions are offered during any open testing weekend and can be arranged by any department or individual candidates. The cost of the practical orientation is $120 and upon successful completion, the candidate will NOT receive a CPAT certification. Please email us to reserve a CPAT Orientation.

Virtual Orientation:

Firefighter Services of Ontario has designed an online virtual orientation of the CPAT test. The purpose of this orientation is to introduce candidates to the CPAT test and help them to better prepare for their test date. Candidates are strongly encouraged to thoroughly review the information contained in this virtual orientation. It is recommended that you take the practical orientation (cost of $120) or virtual orientation prior to your test date so you can physically prepare and become familiar with the CPAT course. Please contact us if you wish to register for the practical orientation.

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the candidate to prepare themselves for the CPAT by reviewing the protocols and orientating themselves with the course via the virtual or practical orientation, or both.

CPAT is a pass/fail test based on a validated maximum total time of 10 minutes and 20 seconds. A failure will be given if any of the events are not completed correctly, or 10 minutes and 20 seconds is exceeded before the test is completed.

All props were 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. The events and distances between events are standardized.

The events are placed in a sequence that best simulates fire scene events while allowing an 85-foot (25.91-m) walk between events. To ensure the highest level of safety and to prevent exhaustion, no running is allowed between events. This walk allows you approximately 20 seconds to recover and regroup before each event.

To ensure scoring accuracy by eliminating timer failure, two stopwatches are used to time the CPAT. One stopwatch is designated as the official test time stopwatch, the second is the backup stopwatch. If mechanical failure occurs, the time on the backup stopwatch is used. The stopwatches are set to the pass/fail time and count down from 10 minutes and 20 seconds. If time elapses prior to the completion of the test, the test is concluded and you fail the test.

Proper Test Attire:

In these events, you wear a 50-pound (22.68-kg) vest to simulate the weight of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and fire fighter protective clothing. An additional 25 pounds (11.34 kg), using two 12.5-pound (5.67-kg) weights that simulate a high-rise pack (hose bundle), is added to your shoulders for the stair climb event.

Throughout all events, you must wear long pants, a hard hat with chin strap, work gloves and footwear with no open heel or toe. Watches and loose or restrictive jewelry are not permitted. The weights, hard hat, and work gloves will be provided.


You can use the above Physical Preparation points as a guide to prepare yourself for the CPAT test. As your fitness improves you should begin to link the various test components. For example, immediately upon finishing the stair climb move directly to the hose drag and then to the equipment carry. Eventually you will be able to simulate all of the task components in the CPAT in a continuous exercise sequence.

These exercises, however, are only designed to assist you with the CPAT. The job of a fire fighter is one of the most physically demanding jobs in North America. There are fitness routines necessary to prepare individuals for careers in the fire service, and it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a consistent fitness routine. Take a look at the IAFF CPAT Candidate Preparation Guide (PDF) for more information on a proper fitness program a fire fighter should follow.

Test Events:

CPAT consists of 8 events, in order:

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

Additional Material:

We’ve provided some additional material for you to review. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view many of these files. We recommend you review this material in order to familiarize yourself with all elements of the test.