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CPAT/Ladder Climb Tests

Since 2011, Illinois has required that all applicants testing for Firefighter must successfully complete physical agility and ladder climbing tests. Tests are graded only as pass/fail, but you must pass both the physical agility and ladder climb portions to move on to the next step of the process.

What is the CPAT?
The CPAT is designed to assess your physical capacity to perform the tasks ordinarily performed by a Firefighter while on the job.  During the test, you will perform a series of events that simulate firefighting activities, which will test your ability  to perform a Firefighter’s job. The abilities that will be tested include cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, muscular endurance and flexibility.


Where Do I Take It?
The CPAT and Ladder Climb tests are offered at the following locations in Illinois:

We strongly encourage applicants to contact one of the facilities for registration and information about dates and fees as soon as possible, as slots fill up very quickly. The City of Urbana and the Urbana Fire Department are NOT affiliated with any CPAT testing center and do not offer this test.

What Is on the CPAT?
The CPAT consists of eight critical physical tasks that simulate actual job duties on the fire ground. Candidates must successfully complete the following:

  • Stair Climb

  • Hose Drag

  • Equipment Carry

  • Ladder Raise & Extension

  • Forcible Entry

  • Search

  • Rescue

  • Ceiling Breach & Pull

For additional information , you can download the CPAT Preparation Guide:

Ladder Climb

Illinois law also requires that all new Firefighter candidates must also successfully complete a ladder climb exercise and demonstrate an ability to operate from heights.  This exercise is not related to the CPAT and will not impact a candidate's CPAT test result in any way.  A certificate of completion will be issued to those who successfully complete the exercise. Candidate success is measured on a pass/fail basis. If you are completing the CPAT in a location other than Illinois, ask your facility if they offer this test.

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