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  1. #1
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    Question Physical Agility Test vs Firefighting

    I was wondering if some of you would provide your opinion on a matter for me. I have taken a physical agility test a few times, not the CPAT, and I haven't passed it. I haven't taken it in a few years mostly because I decided to go finish college. Now, I'm a volunteer firefighter and I started riding at a combination-mostly paid department and I kept up with any of the career guys on calls and in work outs. I know I'm a good firefighter and I can do the job, but I couldn't pass the test. The first couple of times I figured well, if I can't pass the test maybe I shouldn't be a firefighter at all. In my mind I should be able to pass the same test as a career person because we're both firefighters. But, I couldn't give it up.

    So, do you think my ability to pass or not pass the test is a true reflection of my fire fighting abilities? I'm about to graduate from college and so I'm about to start taking the tests again, probably including the CPAT this time. Any suggestions on how I can pass the test this time?


  2. #2
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    what parts are you mainly haveing problems with? take those and work on them. yes and no on the physical part. IF you are a good firefighter and not in shape,well your not realy a good firefighter. you need to be in the best shape that you can. you and/or your other "brothers" life may depend on it some day. but that should only make you want to get into shape that much more. not deture you from it.

  3. #3
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    How are you not passing it? Are you tiring out before you finish? Are you taking too long and running out of time? Is it certain evolutions that are messing with you? What are you telling yourself mentally before and during the test? There are a bunch of reasons people fail PT tests. Some more specifics might help others give you some better pointers.

  4. #4
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    One of the most important aspects of being a firefighter is being physically fit. My department has a 40% failure rate on the recruit academy. The number one reason people fail out is due to poor physical conditioning.

    It's pretty simple; set a goal to pass the exam. If you get winded; RUN to build your endurance. If you have difficulty lifting objects; HIT THE WEIGHTS. It's all about desire. How badly do you want it?

    Your question was can you be a good firefighter if you can't pass the test? I would have to say that you may be an OK volunteer firefighter but without passing the agility test you won't even get a chance to prove to YOURSELF that you can be a GREAT firefighter.
    Set a goal, formulate a plan and MAKE IT HAPPEN!

  5. #5
    Forum Member benlewis60's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Your current firefighting abilities don't mean squat. Past experience counts as a 'nice to have' so far as being comfortable with what a hiring department will teach you once you are on the job. Many times I've heard the comment 'we could teach a monkey to do this job' If that is true, then they might as well train the smartest, strongest monkey.

    If you have failed the physical more than once then you obviously aren't putting in the kind of effort that I would consider to be a hallmark of 'good firefighters.' The so called 'good firefighters' are guys who go balls out to get the job done and put in any effort neccessary to do what is required.

    There are thousands of people out there competing with you for jobs in the fire service, departments have the benefit of being able to pick the very best candidates, a choice in large part determined by testing. Suck it up and put every ounce of effort you have into improving your performance on the physical test. Then grab Lepore's book and prepare for the interviews.

    Good Luck

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber DjInferno's Avatar
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    Its a requirement to get the job. Every career guy on here had to do it. I know of several volunteer/POC departments that have implented it as well. What about guys who can't pass the written test but have firefighting experience and can pass the agility test? No offense, but I want the people who are not only intelligent and not only in shape, but who are competent in both next to me at a fire..

    DJ

  7. #7
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    Cool Competency

    Passing a physical test is a test of physical integrity, not a foolproof test but it sets a bar. Responding on a fire is incredibly physically taxing and both you and your crew's lives depend on you physically doing the job without question. Being a "good firefighter" is important but when I need a door breached or ceiling pulled or my *** pulled out when I weight 260# with gear can I depend on you? Or will there be doubt that might effect my confidence to do my job? The other side of the coin is that if you can't meet to demand of the job when it is needed your risk of injury is exponentially higher. Not only am I a FF but a 15 year physical therapist so I speak from experience

  8. #8
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    Default PAT vs. job

    I agree with ogomez (and many others). The CPAT and other PAT tests set the bar. They are the way they are because there is alot of research that goes into not only what the demands of the job are, but what the common injuries are. The problem is, I hate to admit it, thay are just a starting point. They are often watered down (in my opinion) and the job is actaully tougher.

    Let's face it, there are lives on the line here. Yours and others. Strength development takes years. Muscle maturity is reached in the mid to late 20's. But, you can keep getting stronger every month until you are in your mid or late 40's...with proper training... unless you get injured. Time off can be spent in the gym, and should be, without a doubt. NOT doing so is just crazy!

    Drjmlius
    www.fireagility.com

  9. #9
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    Drjmlius
    www.fireagility.com[/QUOTE]


    Hey, I like that website a whole lot, and it's nice that you don't have to pay to get good information.

  10. #10
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    So which would make a more capable firefighter over a 25 year career:
    The candidate that barely made the PAT, after training for a year straight,
    or a candidate that easily passes the test?
    The idea behind scored physicals was that some people have more strength and endurance than others, and in the long run they will have a longer, healthier career.
    Now we have pass/fail test that simply look for the bare minimum ability to do the job.
    I wonder who will last longer?

  11. #11
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    Default Hmmmm

    Some people have a desk job for 8 years before they have the opportunity to change their career. And yes, they may need a year to get in shape after that.

    I think it is unfortunate that anyone (especially a male) would be on this board with a name (be it mispelled or not) that means pain in the abdomin associated with pre-menstral syndrome. Why would anyone even consider such a thing?

    Please allow this board to remain positive and encouraging. In the bigger picture, people do not know everything about everything, and picking up pieces of knowledge from people who know other things is not only open minded but a great movement in the same direction. It's called unity of purpose.

    I hope this finds you all well, and staying strong and injury free.

    Dr. Jen
    www.fireagility.com
    Last edited by Drjmilus; 05-31-2006 at 04:35 AM.

  12. #12
    vivien2005
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    hey! im going to take a physical ability test this month. i agree that i should be able to pass one to be a firefighter, but im worried about the run. every part of the test is graded as pass or fail except for the run. we'll be ranked according to how fast we run.
    i have stamina, im going to finish, but i saw the other applicants ill be competing against and i dont see how i can be expected to run faster or as fast as a 6' person. is it fair that ill be ranked lower than someone just because they are taller and can naturally run faster? how is that a test of someones stamina? would it not be better to make us run longer?
    im worried i wont make it past this phase of the hiring process and no one will even look at my good work history, my EMT certification and that im working on my paramedics license.
    it the physical ability test the same everywhere? thanks...

  13. #13
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    I would suggest you consult your physician and begin a physical training regimen consisting of aerobic and weight training. Working out a few times a week will give you that edge you want over the other candidates. Good luck on future tests.

  14. #14
    vivien2005
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    thanks and, yea, ive been trainin. maybe im just nervous. i take the test on the 25th and ill let ya know how i do...:P
    and oh hey! thanks also for what youre doin in iraq...

    take care,
    vivien

  15. #15
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    Vivien:
    How did your test go? It was a couple of weeks ago now...

    Dr. Jen
    www.fireagility.com

  16. #16
    vivien2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drjmilus View Post
    Vivien:
    How did your test go? It was a couple of weeks ago now...

    Dr. Jen
    www.fireagility.com
    hey! still dont know...i come home everyday and check my mail first thing...im so anxious to hear somethin...i will let ya know soon as i do..and thanks for askin...:P

  17. #17
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    Get with a trainer and increase your body's ability to do physical taks.
    Small story, I am a full time officer with a full time department. I started in the fireservice in 1987 and over the years I put on weight like many others out there. (both strength and fat). Till one day recently I realized that I was getting big and it was effecting my job and life. I was about 265 at 5'10". So with the help of a trainer I changed my diet and begain to work out REGULARLY. that was 14 weeks ago. At the start I could only run/walk 1.9 miles in 30 minutes and stairs would take me down fast, I could only go about 20 or so floors without my legs feeling like jello, and being totally out of breath. Today I can run 3.5 miles in 30 minutes and can do 170 floors in 30 minutes. I've lost 65 lbs and am at 200lbs. Also my heart rate can go from 152 ( 85%) down to 120 in about a minute of rest and just about a minute after that it is under 100.
    I feel great and now notice that I can preform much better on the fireground. I always thought that I could do the job well enough. I was BSing myself I was out of shape and a liability.
    You can do better.
    To increase your running ability try http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml You will be amazed by the progress you can make. If you can do a 5K then you can get through the endurance part of any test.

    Don't forget your diet, a poor diet will derail you faster then anything.
    Good luck

  18. #18
    Forum Member Higby916's Avatar
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    Ahh, someone said it... Diet! Yup, that makes a world of difference for sure. I sat at a desk for 9 years after a short stint selling cars and I had no problem with the physical tests I was taking (one fire and two police). I train steadily though. These tests, and this job is not to be taken lightly when it comes to physical strength, endurance and stamina. You want to be able to pass the tests, but you also want to be sure to be healthy throughout your career. Heart attacks are still the number one cause of death in the fire service. I don't think you want to just squeek by in anything. I find in the fire service you have a lot of people who like to be the best at what they do, not elitests or arseholes about it, just willing to work as hard as possible to be very good at their job. When you consider lives depend on it, the public, your crew and your own, you don't want to be marginally fit, you want to be in top shape.
    I have worked out for at least an hour a day at least 5 times a week for years. I enjoy training, so it isn't a chore for me. As for running, Vivienne, I understand how running longer would be a good test of endurance, but most calls you work really hard for the first few minutes (or more depending on the call) and then things calm down a bit. You want to be able to go hard, not slow and steady. Know what I mean? Training for this is a little different though. Slow steady cardio a few times a week to build a base and intervals and sprints once a week each to build speed and stamina. After your tough cardio, it's important to also cool down for about 15 to 20 minutes, this teaches the body to recover (something that is also very important at work and in these tests).

    I hope you get some good news soon.

  19. #19
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    i took a modified Practice CPAT today did pretty good first one ever. The two things i noticed for me is my mouth got really dry during it. And the pike pole got me a bit at the end and my forearms were killing me. Legs not so much hurting the first few steps off the step box was a bit weird but i felt fine throughout the course It wasnt the time i wanted but i was told after you do it once your time will improve 45 seconds to 1min 30 seconds...Just because you have been through it before.

    Rob

  20. #20
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    Default Eagles Rule...

    If your mouth was dry, you needed to hydrate more before. You can spend 3-4 days hydrating. 8 Glasses a day for 4 days before.

    Forearms... wrist curls... and anterior delts (front raises)... add those....


    Dr. Jen
    www.fireagility.com

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