close

Privacy guaranteed - Your email is not shared with anyone.

CPAT pointers

Discussion in 'Firefighter/EMS Talk' started by Glockenbang76, Aug 8, 2006.

  1. Glockenbang76

    Glockenbang76 Glockaholic

    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    I'm in need of pointers for the CPAT. If you have any insight or tips that helped you, please share.
    Many Thanks!
     
  2. pmed23

    pmed23

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2000
    Location:
    central Iowa
    Practice, practice, practice. Any department that is using that test should allow for multiple practice opportunities. Attend all of them. Plus, if you can get some practice time on a stepmill. That is where I see most people fail. They fall of or cant complete the 3 min 20 sec you are on it. Thats the one area that you cant change how long it takes. Practice and if you are in reasonable shape you can do it.
    B
     

  3. Glockenbang76

    Glockenbang76 Glockaholic

    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    PMED23,
    I've been focusing intesnsly on the stair mill. I recently purchased a back pack and have been wearing it with a 25 lbs bar bell plate inside. However, I'm concerned that I'll over compensate for the 12.5 weight they make you wear on the test. Should I just keep pressing with the 25lbs and add more weight as I go to build strength, or should I only practice with the weight I'll be tested on?
     
  4. jbcarr25

    jbcarr25

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2005
    Conditioning, conditioning, and conditioning. If your not already on an excercise routine, get yourself on one that includes weight training as well as cardio. A good way to get your legs ready for the Stepmill in addition to lifting is to get into a running routine that includes distance, sprinting, and stadiums which will help your legs (and lungs) build strength AND endurance cause you'll need both on that thing.

    While your taking the test, pace yourself. Move quickly, but don't come screamin outta the box once your off the stepmill because halfway thru you'll run out of gas. A lot of dept's have a 10 minute 20 second limit on the test but if you break it down, thats 3 minutes and 20 seconds on the stepmill which leaves you 1 minute each to complete the other seven stations which is plenty of time.

    Most importantly!!! When you take the Cpat, DO NOT GIVE UP!!!!! Keep pushing forward and you'll be fine, its only ten minutes! Good luck!!
     
  5. FlaFF

    FlaFF

    Messages:
    198
    Likes Received:
    21
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Location:
    FL
    I think you might have misread the CPAT description, I believe it is a standardized test which means yours should be the same as the one we have over here. Our CPAT requires you to wear 75lbs worth of weight while doing the stairmaster. A 50lb weight vest and then 12.5lb sandbags on each shoulder. When you complete the stairmaster they remove the 25 lbs worth of sandbags from your shoulders and you complete the cpat with 50lbs on. This has been the case for all of the CPATS I have ever taken. Oh, and when they tell you the time doesn't matter, that its a pass/fail only type test, thats not the case. They know your time, mine was brought up in every interview I had, in a good way;)
    Good luck, keep up with the workouts and you'll do fine.

    FlaFF
     
  6. Glockenbang76

    Glockenbang76 Glockaholic

    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
  7. FlaFF

    FlaFF

    Messages:
    198
    Likes Received:
    21
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Location:
    FL
    Look under the heading "General Information" on the fourth page of the CPAT document. The candidate wears a 50lb vest to simulate the weight of the SCBA etc etc etc plus the 25lbs worth of sandbags.
    Sounds like you might need a bigger backpack! I never bothered with trying to simulate the weight, just spend a lot of quality time with the stairmaster on a medium setting.

    FlaFF
     
  8. Glockenbang76

    Glockenbang76 Glockaholic

    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Wow! I'm glad you brought that to my attention. I would just work with the stairmill without weights, but I really don't want to leave anything to chance. I have a feeling that a lot of my competition will be 5-10 years my junior. I do have diving weight belts at home. Maybe the weight would be distributed better if I wore some of the weight around the front of my waist instead of it all on my back.
     
  9. FirNaTine

    FirNaTine

    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    May 20, 2006
    Location:
    Maryland
    You can get similar vests at sporting goods stores. The one I have allows you to add or remove weight to get used to it and progress. By the way do NOT buy the official CPAT vests you see floating around the internet they are way overpiced for just training.
     
  10. Glockenbang76

    Glockenbang76 Glockaholic

    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Yeah,
    I have a hard time spending 130.00 on a training vest. Maybe this should be looked at as an investment instead?
     
  11. gloxter

    gloxter

    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    NorCal
    Contrary to what your community college might be giving as advice, please follow the link I'll give at the end of the post. There appears to be a lot of misinformation or misunderstanding across the country about the CPAT. I can only tell you what I know, but as a certified proctor for two years now, I feel compelled to set the record straight.

    First, the test is physically demanding, as is the job. I've seen people test at the California Professional Firefighter's CPAT Center who were all shapes and sizes. The test is very doable, particularly for males; almost half of the women who take it at our Center pass, BTW. All that is required (for better or worse) is a decent amount of physical strength (obvious), and mental fortitude to keep pushing. We tell all of our candidates during Orientation and Practice sessions that quickly moving from event to event, or "walking with a purpose" will save you time, as will rapidly completing each of the events following the stairmill. Some events, as you will see in the link below, can be "banged out" in VERY short order; i.e. hosedrag, equipment carry, ladder raise and extension, etc. Hopefully you'll be afforded the opportunity to attend an Orientation and Practice! I don't know what sort of of so-called CPAT's are run at community colleges. One thing is for sure, you should definitely run the course for time prior to your actual test date in order to see where you stand. We at the CPAT want candidates to succeed. We spend hours with candidates who need help with technique and constructive criticism. Helping others, imagine... Anyhow enough of that.

    Secondly, at least in my part of the country, the West, candidates are never told their time out on the course, but you will sign the form showing your pass/fail time (remaining). Let me be clear about the next statement: Departmets do NOT know what your time is, nor can they get it from the CPF/CALJAC unless you specifically request it for some reason, i.e. lawsuit, etc. I tested for about five years and not once was I ever asked, or once off probation, was I ever exposed to documentation in HR or the division of training showing my passing time. Granted, there are other physical agility exams that allow others to see your times prior to hire; but the CPAT was developed to be as non-challengeable as possible. You pass, we give you a card good for a year. You don't pass, no card. It is what it is, and that's it.

    Hopefully I didn't come across as arrogant; if so, it wasn't my intention. Best of luck to all of you testing, or taking the CPAT. It's a fair test. Any further questions, don't hesitate to ask.

    Now for that darned link, right? www.cpatonline.org It's the California Professional Firefighter's webpage, but scroll down a bit and you'll find the link about "Event Information for Candidates" or something similar, it's in PDF format. Best of luck.

    Regards,

    -gloxter
     
  12. Glockenbang76

    Glockenbang76 Glockaholic

    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Gloxter,
    Thanks for your advice. I did not take any of your statements as arrogant. Besides, I will always value direct, truthful statements that may be a little assertive over speculation. I will look over what you have posted, and apply it to my prep work. Yes, I think my CC does offer a practice run, because the CPAT is listed as a two-day event. I am also going down to the college, next Thursday, so I can talk to a few people down there, get better insight on the actual exam, and allow people to put my name with a face.
    If there are any ideas or secrets that would assist me, I would be greatful.
    Thanks,
    Glockenbang
     
  13. gloxter

    gloxter

    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    NorCal
    Glad to help. What specifically would you like to know? I'll share anything with you and the glocktalk fire/ems forum members regarding the CPAT. Did you get a chance to go over the www.cpatonline.org pdf file I gave you? If not, give it a looksie and ask me any question on any event you may have. I'm not a personal trainer or anything, but we've tested over 2,000; over 1,000 just for one department.

    Let me know what you need.

    -gloxter

    G19
     
  14. Glockenbang76

    Glockenbang76 Glockaholic

    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Gloxter,
    I have not read your PDF yet, but will do so around lunch time.

    Do you think most fire departments have these weighted vests on hand?

    Is it true the stair mill is the commonly failed event?

    What are the most common mistakes made by those taking the CPAT?
     
  15. gloxter

    gloxter

    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    NorCal
    I'd say that most departments do not have the vests on hand. I'm not sure about where you live, but if there's a certified CPAT Center or a sizeable community college one, you may want to contact them. Our Center will rent them out (free) when they start to get tattered. You'll find that they are fairly expensive, but they are available if you do a search on the internet. Usually, we just tell candidates to get a sturdy backpack and fill it with sand, not rocks, unless you're into that sort of thing (pain). The sand will conform to your back and stay up on the top of your hips. Just remember to NOT run with weights on in a backpack. It'll tear up your knees. Also, if you can find a stadium or something with stairs, walk them briskly, but again, don't trash your knees.

    Yeah, you could say that the stairmill is commonly failed. Usually, it's failed by people who have never experienced the weight plus the stairs, a combination of the two. I can walk a level street with hundreds of pounds on my shoulders, back, etcetera, but throw in stairs...you get the idea. Most of the people who fail, look like they've never done anything physical in their lives. Your event proctor should count down your minutes for you, so just concentrate. One step per second, that's it. Stay in the middle of the machine and concentrate. You'll probably really start to feel it at about the 2:30 mark (out of 3:00). Keep plugging away, it's not that bad.

    The most common mistakes? It's my opinion that many make the huge mistake of not going to orientation and a practice run. People who've never handled equipment like the CPAT props are surprised at their awkwardness or the difficulty in wielding them. Honestly, about half of the people that do fail on test day MISSED either orientation or practice. In California, the practice is an extra few bucks; cheap insurance. Remember to LISTEN to your lead proctor, the one that will follow you from event to event and read the instruction before you get to the next event. It's very loud out on the course. We've seen some really odd things happen out there, i.e. candidates "wandering", waiting to be prompted, etc. Remember the course is continuous. It's go time once the 20second warm up is over on the stairmill. We've failed candidates for some really stupid things; letting the halyard slip uncontrollably on the ladder extension; being warned repeatedly to WALK, not run; and of course because some folks simply run out of time.

    Anything further, just ask away.

    -gloxter

    :cool:
     
  16. Glockenbang76

    Glockenbang76 Glockaholic

    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    The sand back pack is a super good idea. I forgot how about its conforming qualities. However, doesn't that put a dissproportionate amount of weight on your back versus having it all around your torso like a vest?
    I've been practicing at the stair mills at my gym, which are identical to those on the test.
    I know the fire dept. teaches you new things every day. How long does it take for a firefighter to reasonably comfortable doing all fire rescue related tasks?
     
  17. black rob

    black rob

    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Location:
    IA
    On top of my regular workouts I wore a backpack with a 45 pound plate in it when I did stairs and mowed my lawn. I also did lots of lunges wearing the 45 pound plate, I had no problem with CPAT once it came. Build your legs and then use that to your advantage on the other events. Attention to detail is also a big key, I probably waled trough the CPAT event 50 plus times in my hesd before I actualley took the test.
    Rob
     
  18. jay29

    jay29

    Messages:
    2,160
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2002
    The first CPAT I did was to get on the job. I quit smoking one month before hand and prayed my lung capacity would improve. It did. I passed it. I did not do bad.

    When I finally got the call of my life I realized I had to do the CPAT for real. It is required for professional FF's in NY State within one year of hiring.

    Our workout plan for the academy was the first day you jog for 40 minutes at your own pace. the next day would be CPAT. That is how it went the whole time. As I found out later, the academy's course is about 1.5 times as hard as the real test. It was a real BEAR. The dummy for the drag was twenty pounds heavier PLUS it had an old airpack on it! The stair mill was also FASTER. It tooks its toll on your legs! When the real test came it was a breeze. When I was done, I could not believe it was over already! CAKE. Those other departments that did not practice were a complete laugh. I saw two guys fall off the treadmill, the very first stage!