Thread: Annual CPAT

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    Default Annual CPAT

    Does anyone require thier full time ff to take an annual CPAT or something along this line and if so how/when was it instituted?

    Thanks,
    Jude Savoie
    Fire CHief
    Carlyss FD

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    CPAT (Candidate Physical Ability Test) was not meant to be an annual evaluation of firefighters even though I know of one department that has used it that way. We have what is supposed to be an annual physical agility test, which is nothing compared to CPAT, but it has not been done over the last several years.

    Are you trying to set something up? You can Google and find info on several larger departments annual tests.

    Good luck.
    "...When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you." Isaiah 43:2

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    Fairfax County FRD mandates an annual work performance evaluation for it's employees. It consists of a circuit of job related tasks in full PPE while on air, with a time limit.

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    Who said the CPAT was not meant to be an every year test? Remember if was a watered down version of the Combat Challenge, which was designed to be an every year test. I can say that I have experienced the CPAT, but I can talk about the Combat Challenge.
    Stephen J Bourassa
    Latham FD (NY)
    member since 1969
    challenge competitor since 1993

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    When our agency adopted the CPAT several years ago, we were specifically told that the CPAT was for candidates only, and could not being used for routine yearly testing. There was talk of an IPAT (incumbent) test, but nothing ever came of it.

    I don't know of any departments in our area using CPAT for incumbent members, most are using some modified version of the combat challenge.
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    The IAFF and IAFC who developed CPAT said it wasn't designed to be used as an annual test. I'm not sure where you heard it was designed after the combat challenge but it was not.
    "...When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you." Isaiah 43:2

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    Thanks for the replys. I am looking for something annually and like the idea of a circuit test.

    I do have a question though, why would the CPAT not be intended to use annually. If it is not a "fair" test then why are we using it at all?

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    If it were just as simple as being able to use common sense, I agree with most everyone here that CPAT would be good for an annual test. But since it was developed and validated to determine whether a "candidate" would capable of becoming a firefighter it isn't a "legally defensible" yearly test. COMPLICATED and crazy I know but that is what departments that have tried to use CPAT have run into. You can read more about the CPAT at:

    http://www.iaff.org/HS/CPAT/cpat_index.html
    "...When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you." Isaiah 43:2

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    Quote Originally Posted by hefightsfire99 View Post
    The IAFF and IAFC who developed CPAT said it wasn't designed to be used as an annual test. I'm not sure where you heard it was designed after the combat challenge but it was not.
    The CPAT was developed after the NFPA introduced 1583 as a recommendation, with it being modeled after the combat challenge. The challenge was 1st designed to be a legally defensible test to be given annually and was sold as a product that way. It then became a game and has grown ever since. A time of 7:00 of less was a passing, much like the 10:20 of the CPAT. While the CPAT uses a vest and shoulder weights, they don't give a real life feel. SCBA weight is to the rear, a high rise pack is to one side,and I don't climb stairs w/o one hand on the rail.

    I believe competing in the challenge is a great way to maintain a level fitness to have a long career in the fire service.
    Stephen J Bourassa
    Latham FD (NY)
    member since 1969
    challenge competitor since 1993

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    The IAFF and IAFC have teamed up with 10 of North America’s leading fire departments and unions through the Fire Service Joint Labor Management Wellness/Fitness Initiative to develop the IAFF/IAFC Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT). The participating departments on the Task Force are:

    Austin, TX / IAFF Local 975
    Los Angeles Co., CA / IAFF Local 1014
    Calgary, ALB / IAFF Local 255
    Metro Dade Co., FL / IAFF Local 1403
    Charlotte, NC / IAFF Local 660
    New York City, NY / IAFF Local 94/854
    Fairfax Co., VA / IAFF Local 2068
    Phoenix, AZ / IAFF Local 493
    Indianapolis, IN / IAFF Local 416
    Seattle, WA / IAFF Local 27

    The Task Force successfully developed the Fire Service Joint Labor-Management Wellness-Fitness Initiative in 1997 to address the need for a holistic and non-punitive approach to wellness and fitness in the fire service. The Task Force then discovered that municipalities were hiring people who would not be physically capable of a successful career in the fire service. The Task Force, therefore, unanimously agreed to develop a physical ability test for pre-employment testing of candidates. The Task Force has developed and validated the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT), resulting in a consistent test for hiring of candidate fire fighters.

    Developing the CPAT
    The Task Force directed the Technical Committee to develop a performance test for the ten jurisdictions that measures the critical skills of fire fighter candidates. Committee members reviewed six of the ten jurisdictions job analysis and job task surveys. They also reviewed each of the ten jurisdiction’s current candidate performance tests and job descriptions.

    Additionally, a complete equipment and demographics survey was also completed by the ten jurisdictions. The equipment survey provided types and weights of all fire fighter protective clothing, protective equipment, fire department equipment and fire department tools. It also assessed the average weight of fire fighters in each jurisdiction as well as the average weight of emergency room and hospital admitted patients. Demographic profiles of each jurisdiction were also developed.

    Using the data collected, the Committee then derived a list of 31 tasks to investigate. They developed survey questions directly related to these 31 tasks. The critical and physical task skills that all fire fighters should possess were validated (through questionnaires) by 1,000 fire fighters from the ten departments. Selection of the 1,000 fire fighters was random and anonymous, but consistent with the race and gender diversity of the specific department. The completed results of the surveys resulted in the development a series of physical ability tests that were selected based on the results of the data indicating the physicality and criticality of the tasks performed by fire fighters.

    Props for each event were built and modified to obtain the necessary information regarding candidate’s ability. The props were then placed in a sequence that would best simulate their use in a fire scene. The Technical Committee chose to move the candidates along a predetermined path from event to event in a continuous manner requiring a mandatory walk between events.

    Because of the test set up, individual event times would be an ineffective measure of a candidate’s ability, so an overall test time needs to be established. Numerous individuals were run through the test including: technical staff members, incumbent fire fighters, lay people and a recruit class.

    The overall consensus found the test to be a good predictor of an applicant’s ability to perform basic fire fighting tasks. The Technical Committee was confident that the ability test would provide the fire service with a physically competent recruit. There was also unanimous agreement that the test equaled or was superior to current test run by each of the ten jurisdictions.

    These tests were filmed at different speeds and presented to supervisors in the 10 jurisdictions (captains and battalion chiefs with experience in fire fighter training). At the completion of this process an entry test was finalized and presented to the Task Force for adoption. The Task Force unanimously adopted the full Candidate Physical Ability Test with a pass/fail time of 10 minutes and 20 seconds. The test may only be administered on a pass/fail basis, municipalities may not rank candidates based upon CPAT completion times.
    "...When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you." Isaiah 43:2

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    I had read all that some time back. The question I see is if this is the standard to GET the job, then why is it not the standard to KEEP the job? In NYS they are now required to pass it once and then there is no requirement after that.
    Stephen J Bourassa
    Latham FD (NY)
    member since 1969
    challenge competitor since 1993

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    Default agree

    My thinking is the same as Fitguy and his statement above.

    We just started using the IAFF/IAFC CPAT about 4 years ago. We did do away with the time limit and just require they complete the course without stopping/giving up. I at first was not sure about changing but after research found that most departments have modified in some way or another. We also worked with another department to our north and came up with the same test so we could use each others list for hiring.

    Why not have a test that is administered when hired and annually that is fair to everyone?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fitguy51 View Post
    I had read all that some time back. The question I see is if this is the standard to GET the job, then why is it not the standard to KEEP the job? In NYS they are now required to pass it once and then there is no requirement after that.
    It's the same way here in Alabama. I don't mean to come across as arguing for the sake of arguing. I feel the same way that it should be able to be used that way. It's just that since it wasn't designed to be used for an annual test and you use it that way, you wouldn't be able to do anything if someone didn't pass it. If any actions were taken by a department against a member, they could legally challenged it and win. The IAFF might be able to explain it better, but it simply wasn't set up to be an annual test. I know there was a lot of debate about an incumbent test as was mentioned earlier. As far as I understand the task force still has that on the agenda but has been bogged down in debate.
    Last edited by hefightsfire99; 11-25-2008 at 08:25 PM.
    "...When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you." Isaiah 43:2

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    An annual test is something that is going to have to be put in a contract in my view. This could cost union guys there job and I don't see them agreeing to it, unless the state mandates it. That is the reason that career firefighters have to pass the CPAT within 18 months of hire to keep there jobs. The FD's in my area have them pass it to get hired and then again when they come out of the academy.
    Stephen J Bourassa
    Latham FD (NY)
    member since 1969
    challenge competitor since 1993

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