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10 Steps to Becoming a Firefighter - For Military Service Members

10 Steps to Becoming a Firefighter - For Military Service Members

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Photo courtesy of the USAF.

Step 6: CPAT & Written Exams

What is the CPAT?

The Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) is a standardized, timed, pass/fail test designed to identify individuals who possess the physical abilities to effectively and safely perform the duties of a fire fighter. It consists of eight separate job-related events that are performed in a continuous sequence. The eight events are: Stair Climb, Hose Drag, Equipment Carry, Ladder Raise and Extension, Forcible Entry, Search, Rescue Drag, and Ceiling Breach and Pull. During the entire testing process, candidates wear a 50-pound vest to simulate the weight of firefighter personal protective equipment (PPE) and a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), with an additional 12.5 pounds on each shoulder during the Stair Climb to simulate the weight of a high-rise pack (hose bundle). To pass the CPAT, candidates must correctly complete all eight events in 10 minutes and 20 seconds or less.


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What is the written exam?

The written exam is a large part of the application process which requires candidates to show competency in spatial thinking, basic mathematics, reading comprehension, grammar, map reading and mechanical ability. The written exam for the Seattle Fire Department, as in many, takes a full day to complete.

Test yourself: Click here for FireLink’s free practice written exam, taken directly from the FDNY study guide.

Step 7: Background Check >>

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