1. #1
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    Default CPAT for a smaller female

    Hi everyone,

    This is my first time posting here. I tried a search, but didn't find anything on this specific topic. Forgive me if this has been covered before.

    I've just signed up for my first fire recruitment test. Woo hoo! However, I have the specific challenge of being a 5'4" female. I weigh about 150 (fairly lean) pounds. I work out 5-6 times per week, lifting weights and running, as well as a few other cardio activities, like running stairs with 60-70 pounds in my backpack to get ready for the step mill event. I'm strong for my size, with many of my lifts being well over my body weight, but I have a naturally slim build and smaller frame. I currently work in an ER, and when I stand next to the fire fighters that are bringing patients in, I usually feel pretty small.

    I've watched Youtube videos and read the material on department web pages about the CPAT, but I have never done one or been physically present on a CPAT course to see it in real life. After my written test there will be a CPAT "orientation", but the test materials don't indicate what that actually entails.

    Based on the description of the CPAT provided by the departments I'm testing for, I should be able to do well on the test. The only event I'm concerned about is the 165 lb dummy drag, since I've never done anything like this before, but considering I can row 200 pounds using just my upper body, I should in theory be able to drag 165 pounds a reasonable distance since I'll be able to use both my upper and lower body for that.

    My CPAT will be May 5th. I may not be able to attend the practice CPAT happening in April, because it conflicts with my EMT course. I'm going to try to make it, but there is a good chance I won't be able to.

    I'm looking on specific advice for how a smaller person like me should approach the CPAT. Are there any additional challenges that I will face due to my height and size that I should prepare for? Any specific training advice for me? I would be particularly interested in hearing from smaller female candidates that have taken the test, but seeing as there may not be a lot of those, any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Its all in the legs. If you have strong legs with endurance you should be fine. The dummy drag is going to tax your legs mainly but also your grip strength. Sounds like you're training properly with the back pack so my only suggestion would be to work on a "farmers walk". Grab a couple 45# plates and the gym and walk around with them. The other thing is at least out west here thre are CPAT's going on all the time so look around and you may be able to find an orientation/practice that doesn't conflict with your schedule. Good luck!

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    Thanks for the suggestion of the "farmers walk". I've never heard of that before, but I just Googled it, and it makes a lot of sense to practice walking around holding extra weight, since it seems the job involves doing exactly that on a regular basis.

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    Same thing try to find someone giving practice cpat

    Do you know any firefighters that might let you come by and go through some of the tests

    Check colleges, fire academeys

    See if you can find private cpat trainers

  5. #5
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    Just like the others said - try to make that practice session or find another one. The CPAT isn't difficult if you are prepared, but since it is your first one, it could throw you for a loop. Not trying to scare you since I don't know your fitness level, but if you go blindly into it without trying any of the equipment, you could easily run out of time. The good news is that you have plenty of time until May to keep preparing and working on technique. Do you go to a gym? The best way to practice the 1st event is to mimic it exactly on the stairstepper. It's great that you're doing stairs, but make sure that you are keeping up the 1 sec per step pace for over 3 min--easier on the machine. I strongly suggest that you buy a 10lb sledgehammer and swing it against a tire - that event can hold women up if they haven't done it before. To be honest, the dummy is mostly mental - you just have to keep going- you obviously workout regularly so I know you can do it. One thing that I did was have one of my friends who weighs about 170, grab onto a bar (the removable extensions from a tricep pulldown, for example), and I pulled him around the gym. One of the most important things to add is some very high intensity training a few days each week. That kind of training will help you tremendously! Look up Crossfit for examples - the CPAT will seem like nothing if you are in shape for that kind of training. Good luck! Let us know how it goes and if you have more questions please ask. (by the way, I'm only 125 lbs )

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    Ashleycw


    This is a full time firefighter do not know how you compare body wise


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ucrdv...e_gdata_player

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    Thank you for the great advice, persevere. I really appreciate it!

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    Thanks for the video, fire5555. I think she's a little taller than I am. It's hard to tell exactly how much weight she is working with in the video, but I can certainly tell she's quite fit.

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    I found this video playlist of a woman training on the CPAT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rTWN...F37329681A17B6

    Thought I would share for anyone who may be interested.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ashleycw View Post
    I found this video playlist of a woman training on the CPAT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rTWN...F37329681A17B6

    Thought I would share for anyone who may be interested.

    If you put your mind to the task, you will do well. Don't let the size of the ladders, sled and hose scare you. It is mind over matter. Give it everything you have.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    Ashley, it sounds like you'll be fine. For the dummy drag, find an old truck tire that weighs at least 200 lbs, put an old out-of-service firehose or webbing thru it, and drag that thing around like it's your best friend.

    You don't say how old you are, but I'll bet you're at least 20 years younger than me, and I'm a 5'2" female who will take the Texas state test this fall. I'm 53 years old. And I'm not worried. (OK, I'm a lifelong athlete and a former top powerlifting competitor...and a pretty solid 180 pounds.)

    On a lighter note, they did have a helluva time fitting me for gear due to my shortness. My bunker pants legs drag the ground even though they're not supposed to, but I'm just happy to be a Firefighter!
    Last edited by HDIron883; 03-04-2012 at 08:06 PM.

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    Ashley-

    All the above tips are great. Two things to make sure of though:

    1. You are training "directionally". IE You'll be dragging the dummy backwards.
    2. You train not just for the overall upper body strength, but train for upper body endurance. For example, Go out and hammer on that tire with a sledge in the same direction you'll be doing it on the CPAT.

    I've got a section on my website that's free that gives you a whole break down on the CPAT course and things to watch out for.

    Best of Luck AND Preparation,

    Paul
    PaulC
    FF/EMTP
    City of Las Vegas Fire & Rescue
    gethiredbyfire.com & The Fire Jobs App

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