The Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) was developed by the IAFF/IAFC Joint Labor Management Task Force as a validated tool to enable fire departments to select candidates who are physically capable to perform the job of a firefighter. The CPAT consists of eight events that must be performed sequentially. This is a pass/fail based on a maximum time of 10 minutes and 20 seconds.

  • Stair Climb (climbing stairs while carrying an additional 25 lb. simulated hose pack)

  • Ladder Raise and Extension (placing a ground ladder at the fire scene and extending the ladder to the roof or a window)

  • Hose Drag (stretching uncharged hose lines, advancing lines)

  • Equipment Carry (removing and carrying equipment from fire apparatus to fire ground)

  • Forcible Entry (penetrating a locked door, breaching a wall)

  • Search (crawling through dark unpredictable areas to search for victims)

  • Rescue Drag (removing victim or partner from a fire building)

  • Ceiling Pull (locating fire and checking for fire extension)


The CPAT Mentoring Program is an opportunity for candidates to physically prepare for the CPAT. Eight weeks of training are led by Department IAFF/ACE certified Peer Fitness Trainers. These sessions utilize the same equipment on which candidates will be tested.  The Mentoring Program is completely voluntary, but individuals who participate regularly in the Program have significantly higher pass rates as compared to those who do not; with women’s pass rates increasing by more than 50% over the national average.  See the video below for more information.


The Prince William County CPAT facility opened in 2003, becoming the first indoor space in the United States dedicated to CPAT training. This 13,000 square-foot facility includes a classroom, offices, locker rooms, and strength and conditioning areas, along with our CPAT course. Our CPAT course is available to Prince William County candidates year round which allows us to mentor candidates to improve their chances of being successful when they run their CPAT for Prince William County.

Click here for a CPAT Candidate Prep Guide that was prepared by the IAFF/IAFC to help you prepare for the test.

Questions about the CPAT can be sent to [email protected]