I don't have an issue with the CPAT as long as we aren't throwing new people into it without some training and guidence. It is a good all around judge of physical strength and endurance, but it is also a good way for the uninitiated to get hurt.
I agree with Heather. The CPAT is not easy, and it needs to be trained for to prevent serious injury. I do believe, however, that all firefighters should be trained to a physical level where they can pass the CPAT. It is mostly about endurance, which appears to be lacking in the fire service today. If you are unable to pass a CPAT or similar physical test, you don't need to be on those structure fires, extensive extrication adventures, or other intense situations. It puts you, your patients, and your fellow firefighters at risk. I know there is no immediate fix, but I do believe firefighters nationwide are starting to focus more on their physical wellbeing. Maybe a future goal of passing the CPAT every year will keep us all motivated.
This is a topic that has been weighing on my mind.There are some guys on my dept. that aren't in the best of shape.A couple of them are in their early 20's.We're a volunteer dept. and we do a pretty good amount of training but,I watch some of our members struggle through evolutions.This just makes me nervous.
Last year I brought a thousand pounds of free weights and a power rack to the firehouse in hopes that some firefighers would start working out.I even had a couple of takers for about a month and a half.Regretfully it didn't last.
I'd like for our dept to have some kind of physical test implimented.I for one,would feel a whole lot better knowing that the person behind me or in front of me can perform the task at hand without having a heart attack.
My two cents? As a smaller than average firefighter/EMT, I would vote a medium between having no test and the CPAT. I worked out for a year...but I either wasn't doing something right, or I am just not ever going to gain enough mass to push thru passing a test of that nature. The frustration has been very countermotivational... The most irritating part is that the guys on the department that give the test here are for the most part obese, and i mean morbidly, some of them, and what fairness is there in that...if they can't pass it themselves?
I may not be able to drag a hose in a handful of seconds, but there are other duties I can perform that don't require as much strength...and my size is an asset for attic fires or confined entry...
CPAT done correctly-YES. Done incorrectly- it devalues the original intent for a National Test. IF the program is coordinated correctly with a strong focus on the "required" Practice Tests and Orientations it will be a success. In Western WA we have seen a strong increase in the number of female candidates capable of passing the CPAT once they are given the proper instruction. Focus needs to be on body mechanics. You would not expect a 5'5 female to swing a sledge hammer the same as a 6'4 male. Once the information is delivered and practiced correctly it continues to produce high quality candidates. I would discourage any department from participating in a less than well managed program. The Mentors and Proctors must be well trained and excited to help the candidate.
The IAFF has new guidelines that HAVE to be followed. They are not optional. There has to be Two (2) Orientations and there has to be Two (2) Practice Test opportunities. Sadly it is the programs that are not run correctly that tarnish the name of CPAT. I have watched it work very effectively as a screening tool for entry level candidates. There are many locations online that you can watch the Orientation Video. With all the resources out there, it would be hard for a motivated candidate who did their homework to get caught off guard. The test is more technical than physical. Follow the instructions, don't fail on a technical mistake.
I totally agree. I am currently in the process of modifying the cpat to meet our departments needs. I am customizing it based on a version of the cpat that I have and you are definitely right candidates should be given a while to prepare physically before taking the challenge therefore reducing the possibility of strains, sprains or other injury.
Here is a suggestion. Put together a needs assesment describing the need to have a physical fitness program implemented. Be sure to include lots of statistics such as on the job injuries, strains, sprains, back injuries etc. Solid numbers have a good way of convincing people you can't argue with fact.
Also include a suggested program for work outs. Be sure to include a disclaimer in there recommending that anyone who will begin any excersice program should seek medical advice first. Do your homework it won't be easy but Brother if you succeed you will be very happy in the end knowing that the guy or girl behind you is capable of performing safely. Good luck and God bless.