Hi guys and gals!
I am new to this site but hopefully not for long. I have a question about the CPAT Orientation. What is it exactly? Will I be taking the CPAT on this date? What type of clothing is appropiate for the CPAT Orientation?
I applied with my local fire department and recieved a letter stating that I had to attend a mandatory CPAT Orientation. Im guessing that since it is an Orientation, I will not be taking the physical/agility test on this date. Am I correct in that assumption?
I just want to be ready for it if, infact, it is the actual test....Thanks for any advice!
You are allowed one practice run (on a different day) before you actually go on the real day. I would highly recommend you do this. It is optional.
Originally Posted by HSVFDHopeful
If they have multiple practices, go to every one you can. Familiarity is the best way to come out with a better time. Wear long pants, it's required because of the search and rescue portion. Other than that, stuff you would work out in.
Here's a helpful video (in 4 parts) that expalins the events and how best to train for them:
10:20 is an excessive amount of time for anyone in any semblence of shape to complete the circuit. Still, not knowing what doing each event feels like could easily result in failure.
Event 1: Stair Climb. Add 25 lbs. to the 50 lb. pack you will be wearing throughout the entire CPAT. Do 20 seconds @ 50 steps/min as a warmup then do 3 minutes at a pace of 60 steps/min. Grabbing the railing is a failable offense after a warning so you need to be familiar with the rate and balance of the weight.
Event 2: Hose Drag. The only event you are allowed to run in, so run. Grab the hose, pull it 75' around a barrel and another 25'. Kneel inside a box and pull 50' of hose to you. Once you kneel, don't shift. Getting out of the kneel is a failure.
Event 3: Equipment Carry. Two saws are in a cabinet. Grab one out and set it down. Grab the other one out and set it down. Pick them both up and walk them 75' around a cone and back. Set them down. Pick one up, place it back in the cabinet. Pick the other up and place it back in the cabinet.
Event 4: Ladder Raise and Extension. Lift an extension ladder to a window rung-by rung. Then raise a ladder hand over hand on the rope and lower it the same way.
Event 5: Forcible Entry. Pick up the sledgehammer and smack a target until it buzzes. Takes about 3-5 swings. Easy peasy.
Event 6: Search. Crawl through a blacked out "maze" that gets narrow in different ways. Ours formed a U-shape and you went hands and knees through the first tunnel, turned right and crawled over a bar then slid under one then turn right squeeze right and then be forced to army crawl through the final part.
Event 7: Rescue. Drag a 165 lb. mannequin 35', around a barrel, and back 35'. On asphalt for the practice, it was easiest to pick him up so he didn't drag. On the official CPAT on a gym floor, I just grabbed him with one arm and walked fast. The gym floor offers no resistance and it slides easily.
Event 8: Breach and Pull. Use a pike to lift a weighted trap door 3 times then pull another one down 5 times. Do 4 repetitions of that. Best bet is to grab the pole, lock your grip, and use your weight by squatting to bring the weight down on the pull portion.
During the orientation, they will explain the CPAT to you and probably show you videos, or even perhaps a live demonstration. They give you a certain period of time to "prepare" for the tasks (a month?). Usually, there will be practice sessions before your actual test date. Most places will allow you to waive the waiting period and test earlier if you're ready. I went to a practice session and was sick as a dog. The instructors encouraged me to actually test since there was no drawback if I fail... I'd just come back on my actual test date. So I took the test and even as sick as I was I passed around 9 minutes.
And don't be fooled about the stairmill. Your legs will be like noodles. Don't overdo it until you feel in control again.
Thanks for all the replies guys! I have a friend on a brother department so we are getting together next week and we are going to do a mock cpat test.
Thanks for the information and video links! 10:20 should be plenty of time, I was expecting it to be much less than that.
Thanks again everyone!
Be sure to prepare for it...I have so many people just waltz in and fail.
The stairs at the beginning is 3:20 of your time, that can not be changed, therefore you only have 7 minutes to do the rest.
If you do not have good cardio and reasonable strength in your legs, you will be winded and noddle legged which will slow you down on the rest.
Just prepare, you have plenty of notice.
It's funny you mention that. When I took it a year ago, I walked towards the stairclimber and asked the proctors a couple questions before I started the test. They looked at each other, then looked at me and asked if I did the practice run. I answered "NO" and they just shook their heads. I felt pretty much doomed at that point. I passed it with 20 seconds to spare. Alot of time was wasted trying to interpret instructions as I dragged along. On the way out from the breach and pull, I was highly praised for completing it without practice. Maybe they placed a few bets on me :)
There is a ton of information on the internet related to CPAT. You could even find all of the answers to your questions on this forum with a search.
It is an orientation. The purpose is to learn about the CPAT.
CPAT is a breeze if you are in shape. Most departments dont worry about your time its a pass or fail criteria. Get on a stair master or run your butt off for a while and you will be fine.
Thanks for all of the feedback guys. I have been drinking nothing but water and running like a mad man... in fact, in the last 3 weeks, I have lost 20lbs.
I also will be meeting up with a buddy of mine thursday to do a mock setup CPAT test. I have done alot of research online and all of the videos on youtube helped alot!
I have the same question and haven't gotten a clear answer if someone can please help. I understand the the actual CPAT test needs to be the long pants closed shoe stuff but what about the 1 or 2 orientation. I don't want to show up in workout pants and the dress is business casual. The response I got so far is
"The dress code is strictly enforced for safety. The CPAT dress code for all events is: Long pants (No shorts), t-shirt or sweatshirt, footwear with no open heel or toe, and no loose or restrictive jewelry. Candidates must be in proper CPAT attire before being allowed to participate in any CPAT event."
Question for anyone who knows the answer. I keep hearing the CPAT is a Pass/Fail test, so does this mean that your time does not matter whatsoever and if you pass you pass, fail you fail?
Also is the CPAT always Pass/Fail no matter where you take it with whatever department? Or do some departments use your time on the test?
I have gone through the process in 3 counties. All of them stated that the time on the CPAT does not matter whatsoever. I specifically asked this question to HR and the recruiters. Every time though, they write down your time on the sheet so Im not sure what that's about.
The orientation is good, but a mentoring program is where it's at. Actually, I went through the whole mentoring program in one county which was 2 days a week for 3 hours at a time and I'm pretty sure I would have failed if I didn't go through the mentoring. If it's your first CPAT and you have the ability to jump in a mentoring program, I would highly recommend it.
Short answer: I haven't heard of depts ever using the time (I don't think it's allowed by the CPAT). It's always been a pass/fail thing around here.
Originally Posted by FF173
Long answer: But that being the case keep in mind that people are watching how you do. It's hard to forget a guy that cruises in with minutes to spare and is ready for more, but that also goes the other way too. You don't want to be remembered as the guy that came in at 10:10 and then up-chucked. Sure, both passed, but an impression was left behind. Try and make sure it's a good one.
My first CPAT was an hour drive away, so I didn't attend the orientation or practices, but since I didn't know what to expect I trained my *** off.
When it came time for the test I started on the stairmill, and the proctors were talking about bar-b-queing which I have a passion for. So I struck up a conversation with them while I was on the stairmill. I doubt too many other candidates did that before me. Was I doing anything better than the other candidates that had tested before me? No, but I took this as an opportunity to show them that I had good fitness (wasn't huffing and puffing) and a personality. When I finished the last station I had 2:30 mins left. I was tired and winded, believe me, but one of the proctors asked me if I wanted to arm wrestle, half joking but half serious. I said, "let's go". I found out after that, he was asking candidates all day and I was the only one that took him up on his offer.
Moral of the story is don't just go out there to pass the CPAT, but use this as an opportunity to smoke it. A lot of times you have an opportunity of showing them a lot more about yourself (attitude, fitness, determination, competitiveness) than just a time on a piece of paper. Just my 2 cents.
Good luck! You're heading in the right direction by asking for advice first.
CPAT orientation and practice=wear long pants or sweats. You will be going through the course. Without the above, you be have to observe only. If you get the time in under 10:20, you pass. Over that and you fail I've been a CPAT proctor for over 7 years and I love it when people say its so easy. I've proctored well over 100 tests and countless practices and I've yet to see someone come out of there not winded or sweating. Dont practice on a stair stepper, practice on the stairmill.
Make sure you are in good physical condition. Many departments want more than just a pass or fail. The pass rate is one thing - being in good shape is another....
Originally Posted by jgraham
It’s not uncommon for some agencies to have “scouts” to watch for those at their CPAT who are struggling at the finish line, going to the whip where a photo finish was needed and those who breeze through. It’s not uncommon during an agility to see candidates run out of steam, air and ability. Some fall, get injured and require medical attention. Not pretty.
The agility is certainly another part of the interview process. It would be hard pressed for an agency to turn someone down who had a passing time in this “pass/fail” event but you don’t always know what’s going on behind the scenes.
Many candidates feel if they set some kind of a record it will help in hiring. Not true! It is pass or fail. The secret “Nugget” here is to pace yourself. You don’t have to break the record. If you would have no problem in passing the physical, then, why would you want to try and impress the training staff, the other candidates and tout that you set a new record? In your haste, you might injure yourself or fall down the stairs in the tower . . . and, you don’t even pass. Now, you not only didn’t pass the agility, you’re out of the hiring process. How would you feel?
Are You Ready for the fire Academy?
CPAT officials will tell you Just because you passed the physical agility doesn’t mean you are ready for the fire academy or you will be a good firefighter. Whether you agree or not, the physical agility has been watered down to be politically correct. Departments know this. So, the training division is going to put you through the wringer to make sure you can do the job before you go on line. If you can’t keep up they will wash you out.
Training officers have told me the problem is candidates might be able to complete one evolution but the wheels start coming of the wagon when the have to do the same evolution two, three, four times or more and then move on to another evolution multiple times. Some candidates just haven't built up their endurance before they show up for the academy.
You have to maintain good physical conditioning during your probation and through out your career. It can be hard getting this job. It can become difficult keeping it!
Showing up at the academy is not the time to start getting ready. You need to be in shape and hit the ground running. It’s tough enough getting a job. Keeping it can be a challenge. If you are let go by one department, it is going to be difficult if not impossible to get another department to take a chance on you.