Candidate physical ability test
A CPAT test is often carried out to gauge the physical capabilities of an individual in hopes of landing one of the few fire department jobs. In the US, the fire service joint labor management fitness initiative was developed in late 1990’s, specifically 1996- 1997 to address the need for a transparent and valid approach to fitness in the fire service department. The heads of the fire departments also recognized that a good number of new recruits were not physically capable to handle fire fighting situations. The task force therefore agreed to develop a physical ability test as a requirement for all fire fighters which has also been validated.
What is the CPAT composed of?
After the validation of the candidate physical ability test, the management directed a technical committee to develop a performance test to measure the skills of fire fighter candidates. The technical committee conducted a survey to determine the most suitable activities to be included in the test. A complete demographics and equipment research was also taken into consideration. The equipment included protective clothing, protective equipment, fire department equipment, and tools for the fire fighters. The main goal of the candidate physical ability test is to identify necessary individuals who are better qualified for a job. The main aim of the test is to develop a fair and valid evaluation tool in the fire fighters section to ensure that all future candidates have the required physical ability to complete emergency tasks efficiently and effectively.
Candidate physical ability tests also touch on mentoring programs other than recruiting. The mentorship programs aim at imposing a candidate with mental fitness which will sharpen his mind when handling critical situations.
Requirements for CPAT
In the United States, there was a set of agreement presented by the US equal employment opportunity commission on the necessary requirements to do a candidate physical ability test. It was noted that every prospective candidate should attend two or more mandatory orientation sessions eight weeks before the actual test f the date. The importance of the orientation is to get the candidates a one on one familiarity with the actual candidate physical ability test apparatus. A candidate is also required to perform two timed practice runs being the least using the actual candidate physical ability test apparatus. The candidate is required to use maximum time to familiarize himself with the apparatus. This should be done 30days prior to the real day of the test.
In case a candidate waives the mentioned program, he is supposed to present the waiver I writing or made on a voluntary basis for the candidate to be eligible to seat for a candidate physical ability test. During the whole period of programs and orientation before the actual date of the candidate physical ability test, trained experts and experienced fire fighting personnel are involved in preparing the candidates with the necessary skills required to pass the test. They mainly device methods of improving the candidate’s physical performance and his mental capabilities.
During the actual day of the candidate physical ability test, the candidate wears a 50lb weight vest. The events that are examined during the test are; climbing stairs with the vest and an additional 25lb weight. The main aim of this test is to evaluate a candidate’s ability to respond fast when in a critical condition carrying the necessary firefighting equipment that would weigh the same. A ladder raise test is also conducted. Here, the candidate is required to place a ground ladder on a window or a roof; he is then required to climb it up within a given duration of time while he is still on the 50lb weight. After climbing, he is then required to come down at a given duration of time of which he must clock to pass the step. A horse drag test is also conducted. A horse in firefighting is the huge water pipe that is used by fire fighters to sprinkle water in burning houses or equipment. The candidate is required to drag the horse for a certain length on the ground at a specified time frame. The candidate will be required to drag it within the specified time for him to pass the test.
The other test would be to remove equipment from a fire fighting station”usually a vehicle” and place it on the ground. This too should be done within a required period of time. The candidate is also tested on his ability to penetrate locked doors. This force entry test is aimed at evaluating the candidate’s rate of response in attending to emergency situations.
A candidate with the necessary equipment is forced to break into locked doors and rooms. A search test is also conducted. A candidate is required to crawl under dark places with the aim of retrieving objects in the dark. When relating this to the real world situation, a candidate is required to save victims in a fire emergency situation and therefore the use of his mental ability to guard his senses will be equally important.
The last of the tests will be the rescue drag and the ceiling pull. The rescue drag involves the candidate dragging a 59kg object from a house to a safe ground. This will be a test of the candidate’s skills in saving a fire victim. Usually in a real fire fighting situation, covering the victim with a blanket is one of the rescue procedures so as to prevent the victim from skin burns. A ceiling pull normally involves the same procedures although the candidate is required to use a ladder to bring down a certain weight from the ceiling to a safe ground. A safety belt is usually used t protect the individual candidate from falling off a ladder.
Administration of CPAT test and its importance
After the completion of tasks such as orientation and the real practice, a candidate physical ability test is conducted to evaluate the individual skills gained during the whole period. The first step is to choose a venue where candidate physical ability test is going to be administered. Choosing of a venue is a very critical task as very many factors are taken into consideration. The test site should be made of a rough unpolished floor that should give fair advantage to the participating members. Polished floors might be very accidental as slippery on heavy weights can lead to muscle injuries. The check in area should be located within the building and should be isolated from the actual candidate physical ability testing area to minimize distractions from either side.
There is the test are which should also be located in the venue. The test area should be large and spacious to allow accommodation of test equipment and to allow the candidate enough space to maximize his task ability. A venue should also accommodate a rehabilitation centre. In a rehab centre, candidates are allowed to rest in a shady area and rehydration drinks provided. The venue should also be an indoor site to ensure that environmental conditions are controlled all round the year. There are general specified requirements for the indoor venue. They include; An open space around 22,000 square feet with a ceiling of about 24 feet. 2,000 Square feet of a well lit and air conditioned classroom with the office space being 500 square feet and same conditions.
Environmental factors are also known to have a high effect on individual’s performance and therefore optimal conditions should be created in the propose venue. As a general rule, candidates should not be tested in extreme environmental conditions with examples of cold temperatures below 7 degrees or hot temperatures above 35 degrees. After this then the candidate testing venue is considered to be fit and optimum. After all these requirements have been put in place, a candidate is required to give his best performance to the CPAT.
The minimum pass scores of candidate physical ability test are 42 in language, 43 in reading and 41 in mathematics/numerical skills. The language section contains 60 grammar questions for spelling and logic. The duration of the language test is 15 minutes. The next section, the reading section, takes 25 minutes to be completed and consists of 30 questions mostly for interpretation and evaluation. The last section is the numerical test section where a candidate is required to attend to 25 questions involving addition, subtraction and multiplication. These tests are not hard and it only takes an individual with a good mentality to tackle them logically. Other requirements for the candidate physical ability test are a national ID or a military ID. An individual is also required to be of 18 years of age and above. A candidate should also be a person of good morals with those having piercings or tattoos required to hide them to protect the image of the employers and also to maintain standards.
Considering the benefits of the candidate physical ability test, I would highly recommend it for improving the physical and mental capabilities of fire fighting candidates incase they were taken to a real fire situation. Should you want to find out more about this subject, feel free to visit http://firerecruitment.ca.