The County of Henrico Division of Fire uses the nationally recognized Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) for each hiring process. Once candidates have completed the written exam, they will be notified by mail of their test scores and whether or not they have been referred to this next step in the hiring process.

The job of a firefighter is one of the most physically demanding jobs in North America. Firefighting requires high levels of cardiopulmonary endurance, muscular strength and muscular endurance. The CPAT consists of eight critical physical tasks that simulate actual job duties on the fire ground. This test is physically demanding and requires that you be physically fit to be successful.

CPAT Overview

The Candidate Physical Ability Test is a standardized test that consists of a sequence of eight critical events completed in a predetermined path from one event to another in a continuous manner. This is a pass/fail test based on a maximum total time of 10 minutes and 20 seconds.

The events are placed in a sequence that simulates fire scene events. The events consist of:

  • Stair Climb
  • Hose Drag
  • Equipment Carry
  • Ladder Raise and Extension
  • Forcible Entry
  • Search
  • Rescue
  • Ceiling Breach and Pull

During the events, candidates will wear a 50-lb vest to simulate the weight of self-contained breathing apparatus and firefighter protective clothing. An additional 25 pounds is added to the candidate’s shoulders during the stair climb event to simulate carrying a high-rise pack.

Throughout all events, candidates must wear long pants, a hard hat with chinstrap, work gloves and appropriate footwear with no open heel or toe. Watches and loose or restrictive jewelry are not permitted. Candidates will not be allowed to participate in the testing process without the appropriate attire. The Division of Fire will provide the hard hat and work gloves for use during the test.

CPAT Video

CPAT Orientation

All candidates will be shown the CPAT Orientation Video. Candidates who are referred to participate in the CPAT phase of the hiring process will receive the CPAT Orientation Guide and Candidate Preparation Guide, and also be given time to practice test tasks and perform two timed practice tests during the practice sessions given for 8 weeks prior to the test date.

While the CPAT orientation and practice sessions are not required, they are STRONGLY RECOMMENDED for all candidates who receive an invitation to and plan on taking the CPAT test. Candidates who choose not to attend the orientation program should review the CPAT Orientation Guide (PDF) and Candidate Preparation Guide (PDF) prior to taking the test.   **These are large PDF files that may take a few minutes to load.**

Special Note

The Firefighter CPAT is very strenuous. If you have had a recent illness, injury, surgery, or are on medication, consult with your healthcare provider to determine if you should participate in the CPAT.

Candidates must present valid identification prior to taking the CPAT and participating in the practice sessions. You will also be required to complete and/or sign the following forms:

  • CPAT Sign In Sheet
  • CPAT Waiver of Claim for Injury
  • CPAT Evaluation Form
  • CPAT Rehabilitation Form

If You choose not to participate in the CPAT mentoring / training sessions, you must print out, sign and bring the CPAT Session Waiver form to your CPAT test.  

Successful completion of the testing process does not guarantee an interview or an offer of employment.