1. #1
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    Unhappy CFD CPAT troubles

    Hey all. Im a firefighter in a small town called Clemmons, North Carolina. I was trying out for the Charlotte Fire Department, but their CPAT test was a killer. I got to the dummy drag, and almost passed out. That made me really mad, because I got through the practice test two months earlier, just a little over time. I trained for over 3 months, and still failed! Can anyone give me some advice to better train for it? Thanks

    TED

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    Default Agility

    Physical Agility, CPAT, Biddle What Ever

    Often, candidates don't realize that it's not just strength in the physical agility. The "Nugget " is technique, momentum and grip. If you are uncertain or having problems in the physical, take advantage of any college or academy programs to learn the techniques to practice pulling hose, throwing a ladder, dragging a dummy (not you), etc. I witnessed a 5’ 1” fire lad who was 119 pounds blow through the CPAT leaving the staff shaking their heads.

    Most people who fail the CPAT fail the first event (Stair Climb/Stair Stepper), or run out of time during the last event (Ceiling Breach). People who run out of time at the breach and pull lost a few seconds at all the prior event stations because they PAUSED to THINK of how to do the event or PAUSED or SLOWED down to catch their breath.

    Dragging hose or a dummy is starting with a thrust to start up the momentum, taking shorter steps, keeping a low forward center of gravity, using your own weight to keep up the momentum during the pull.

    The dummy from my son's department disappeared from the training center. Two days later a 911 call came in from a pay phone asking for help. When units arrived at the scene, here was the dummy standing up in the phone booth with the phone receiver to his ear. Case closed.

    It’s not uncommon for some agencies to have “scouts” to watch for those at their CPAT who are struggling at the finish line 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.

    You can find more on getting ready for an agility here: http://www.eatstress.com/agility.htm
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    I have taken the CPAT about 4-5 times and I truly think it is one of the easiest test out there. In my opinion the CPAT is a good test in terms of job relation but the 10:20 you get to pass it is too much time. If you are serious about this job then the CPAT should be no problem at all especially for a current firefighter. Think about if you were rescuing a vic or had to be draged out of a building, wouldn't you want a firefighter in good physical condition to help you?

    Im sorry that you didn't pass. The only thing I can suggest is doing a lot of cardio and try to strenthen your legs. Like most of a firefighters responsibilites the CPAT involves a lot of leg strenth and stamina. Good luck in the future.

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    see..now I've taken the CPAT and the Combat Challenge as entrance exams...and i can honestly say that the combat challenge is a piece of cake compared to the CPAT. But i do think you're right, I ran out of endurance at the end. My workouts involved cardio, but mostly leg strength. Well, I have a whole year to pump my endurance up now.

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    Default

    IMHO, one of the most frustrating things about the CPAT is that it is just Pass/Fail.

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    Here's the thing. I'm guessing that you would've had enough strength to do the dummy drag had it been the first event. You ran out of steam. Your training should consist of running, running, and some more running. (By the way, running sucks!) You need to be doing 4 miles a day, 5 days a week. Do this for 3 months and you'll have the cardio to pass the CPAT.

    I also took the CPAT for Charlotte. It's definitely a challenging test, but very passable. I would also agree that the combat challenge is much easier simply because it requires less cardio and more strength. While the CPAT requires some stength, it's all about endurance.

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    4 miles a day 5 days a week?!

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    Quote Originally Posted by nnjfire
    4 miles a day 5 days a week?!
    If he's serious about passing the test, that's what he'll do. I didn't say it was easy, nor is the CPAT. It's a 35 minute work out 5 days a week.

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    so i guess running 2 miles every other day isnt good enough?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nnjfire
    so i guess running 2 miles every other day isnt good enough?
    I've taken the CPAT 2 times (in the last 2 months), and I'm not even a firefighter - so I'm not professional on this matter. I never did 4 miles a day, but if you did, you'd pass. I did two miles every other day or so, but I threw in some sprints during my runs. Go to a track at your local high school or college, sprint for 30 seconds, and jog for a minute. I did that 3 days a week, and conducted my normal weight training 5-6 days a week and was fine for the CPAT. I think somewhere on Capt Bob's website, it talks about having "wind capacity" - so you need to get the sprinting in there to get the anaerobic side of the training.

    Chances are, the track at your local high school has some stairs you can run too. My friends love to do the "hell mile" - take a lap around the track, climb all the bleacher stairs, and continue that for a total of four laps around the track and four bleacher runs.

    I think the key is to train specifically for the CPAT events if you want to pass the CPAT. I kept that in mind during my key weight training exercises. At ASU, they have a 293 staired building basement to roof. Find a building, find a stair mill, find something and climb it!

    Just some ideas. . . hope they help you a bit.
    Better luck next time! Don't sweat it! Use it for fuel to work harder.

    - Kyle

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    Default Cardio up!

    You don’t want any surprises during the physical agility. You need to have practiced hands on with every segment of the agility. Too many candidates think they are in great shape. One who did not take advantage of the practice session told me, “Hey, that 75 pound hose pack was heavy. Humping that hose bundle up the tower, hosting and other manipulative skills, then back down the tower steps made my lungs burn (they were still burning days later) and caused the loss of valuable seconds.” The best way to train for this event is to up the cardio by going up and down bleachers with a backpack with weights or a weighted vest from www.WeightVest.com
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    Quote Originally Posted by nnjfire
    so i guess running 2 miles every other day isnt good enough?
    2 miles a day is great (IF you are passing every agility test you're taking). If not, suck it up and work harder. I believe the individual who started this topic was having trouble with the CPAT. I'm just trying to encourage him to work on the cardio.

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    gotcha..thanks guys. Ive never participated in the cpat. minme should be somewhere around august 25th. Ive been running as much as possible. ive done stairs with the weight vest a few times. and i will be going down for a practice session next week. So i'll see where i stand. i may have to BUST my butt the last two weeks to prepare but we will see.

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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by nnjfire
    gotcha..thanks guys. Ive never participated in the cpat. minme should be somewhere around august 25th. Ive been running as much as possible. ive done stairs with the weight vest a few times. and i will be going down for a practice session next week. So i'll see where i stand. i may have to BUST my butt the last two weeks to prepare but we will see.
    Don't sweat it. It sounds like you've been doing plenty to prepare. Charlotte was my first CPAT as well. Like I said, it's surely a challenging test, but very passable. The practice session will definitely help. I'll admit that I skipped out on CFD's practice sessions because of the 7+ hour drive. Like CaptBob said, the stair machine gets the most people. Once you get off of the stair machine, just keep a steady pace through the rest. Try to walk as fast as possible between stations as that can cut a lot off your time.

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    Thanks for all your replies. I guess I was more focused on strength training than cardio. I worked out three times a week, and each day I did the stairmaster at 60 steps per minute for 20 minutes, then worked out. Im down, but definitely not out. Charlotte will be hiring next year!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TED1435
    Charlotte will be hiring next year!
    Charlotte will be hiring every year, for the next several(+) years.
    Do it because you love it, not because you love being seen doing it.

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    TED,

    You could also try doing weights before your cardio. You might find that you will get the max out of both types of exercise this way. During your weightlifting, try not to take too much time between sets...even if you are doing a circuit type workout. This will also help with your conditioning by elevating your heart rate while lifting weights. If you alternate between muscle groups during your weightlifting...hardly any rest is needed between sets...and this is a good way to simulate the CPAT. Also, you can try and do your sets of a certain weight until failure (complete muscle fatigue)....not just going up to a certain number. That's the most effective way to add muscle strength. Of course, working out with a partner is needed if you are using free weights.

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    I also took the Charlotte CPAT and passed with 48 seconds to spare. I took it last year in NH and ran out of time. I took the time to give an orientation guide and links to the Charlotte Website with descriptions and videos of the CPAT to a personal trainer at my Gym and had him design a program (which included cardio and weight training). This was helpful to prepare for the test and the job in general, I am currently a career guy in MA. Keep working at it and good luck next time.

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    Default Getting ready/Cpat

    I think running is great exercise too, provided that you have healthy joints. Windsprints are good too.
    But:
    I KNOW that training for a specific event is best done by training exactly as you would have to perform in the event. Therefore, I think step mill training with a weight vest is the best training for the CPAT. I suggest training longer than you would have to do just that portion in the event. Train several more minutes... like as many as the entire event will take you.

    Plan on 10 minutes. This will make the even day much easier. You'll really need to work up to this, though. It's tough on your spine, intervertebral disks, and traps if you don't ramp up slowly!

    I have written a new article this month on exactly that. Sing up here, on this web site, for the firehouse.com jobs and careers newsletter. Look in the Jobs/Careers Article section from drop down menu to the left of this
    posting. It comes out once a month, and this article will come out any minute! Later, it will be available in the archives.

    Best luck!

    Dr. Jen
    www.fireagility.com
    Last edited by Drjmilus; 08-05-2006 at 12:33 PM.

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