About the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT)

It is very important to get and stay in shape for the entire applicant process. The life of a Fire Fighter is physically challenging and the rewards of a healthy, active lifestyle are beneficial.

The Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) is an important test that all Firefighter Candidates must successfully complete in order to move forward in the SAFD hiring process.

The CPAT is made up of eight separate events that are meant to simulate the strenuous, physical activities a Firefighter would have to do when responding to a fire. The events are sequenced so that the candidate progresses along a predetermined path from event to event in a continuous manner. This is a pass/fail test that must be completed within a total time of 10 minutes and 20 seconds.

The Eight Sequential CPAT Events
  1. Stair Climb
  2. Hose Drag
  3. Equipment Carry
  4. Ladder Raise and Extension
  5. Forcible Entry
  6. Search
  7. Rescue
  8. Ceiling Breach and Pull

The CPAT Preparation Guide (PDF) is a valuable resource in preparing for the test.

During the CPAT events, candidates must wear:

  • A 50-pound (22.68-kg) vest to simulate the weight of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and firefighter protective clothing.
  • During the Stair Climb event, an additional 25 pounds (11.34 kg), using two 12.5-pound (5.76-kg) weights that simulates a high-rise pack (hose bundle).
  • Long pants, a hard hat with chin strap, work gloves and footwear with no open heel or toe.
  • Watches and loose or restrictive jewelry are not permitted.

The sequencing of the events is designed to best simulate their use at a fire scene, while allowing an 85-foot (25.91-m) walk between events. To ensure the highest level of safety and to prevent a candidate from becoming exhausted, no running is allowed between events. The walk allows the candidate approximately 20 seconds to recover and regroup before each event.

Two stopwatches are used to time the CPAT. One stopwatch is designated as the official test time stop watch, the second is the backup stopwatch. If mechanical failure occurs, the time on the backup stopwatch is used. The stopwatches are set to the pass/fail time and count down from 10 minutes and 20 seconds. If time elapses prior to the completion of the test, the test is concluded and the candidate fails the test.

If you have access to the internet, conduct a search for “CPAT.” You should be able to downstream videos of this evolution. If you do not have internet access, go to a City of San Antonio Public Library.

For More Information

Send an email with specific application process or CPAT questions