FIREFIGHTER PHYSICAL ABILITY TESTING AND THE CPAT
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In physical terms, firefighting is an extremely demanding occupation. It requires agility, strength, and stamina. The firefighting environment is hazardous and constantly changing. Firefighting calls for the wearing of special protective clothing and breathing equipment and the use of tools that are often heavy. Because of the extremes encountered in the firefighting environment – hot and cold, wet and dry, night and day, clean and contaminated air – the protective clothing and equipment must be durable and effective. The need for these qualities has led to the development of equipment that is often heavy and cumbersome.
Given the demands of the occupation – saving life and property, the challenges of the environment, and the weight and constraint of the protective equipment, the need to ensure that firefighter recruits are physically capable of learning and performing the tasks required is obvious.
The physical agility examination is designed to evaluate the candidate's ability to perform firefighting activities. In the recent past, the courts have held that the physical agility examination must be related to the tasks that are actually performed by firefighters. Studies reveal that the firefighter must have a high level of aerobic energy, strength, and significant
ability to resist fatigue.
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