Are You Fit For Duty? Fitness Tests For Police, Fire And EMS Agencies
Those who serve their communities by signing up with civil service agencies are tasked with saving lives. In doing so, they must sometimes place their own lives at risk. Most of us—throughout our days in swivel chairs in front of computers—don't have much to worry about besides a little back pain or eye irritation. However, the tasks required of the police force, firefighters and other civil service members require intense physical effort.
Your life may depend on it one day.
To perform these difficult physical tasks, most agencies require a certain level of physical fitness before they hire a new person. Makes sense, right? So recruits have to complete a series of physical tests. But because the waistlines in our country are growing ever larger, fewer police and fire recruits are able to pass the fitness tests. It is time for a nationwide 911 call!
Think you have what it takes? Let's find out!
There is no consistent standard across the country; each force has its own requirements. Generally speaking, most fitness assessments for police recruits include a combination of sit-ups, push-ups, and a mile run; others will add speed, agility and jumping tests. Some states even include bench press and pull-up standards.
The majority of fire departments in this country use the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) to measure prospective candidates. This test of job-related functions comprises eight exercise drills done one after the other in less than 10 minutes and 20 seconds.
During the test, candidates wear a 50-pound vest to simulate wearing the self-contained breathing apparatus.
The CPAT Test
Recruits must climb 60 steps in 3 minutes with two 12.5-pound weights on their shoulders.
The candidate places the end of a 200-foot hose on his/her shoulders and drags it 75 feet around a barrier, making a 90-degree turn, and then dragging it another 25 feet to a 5 x 7 foot box. On one or two knees, the candidate pulls the hose 150 feet.
Candidates must remove two saws from a cabinet and then place them one at a time on the ground. Then they must carry the saws 75 feet, around a barrier and back to the starting point.
The candidates place the saws on the ground and return them to the cabinet one at a time.
The candidate picks up a 24-foot aluminum extension ladder, and raises it, rung by rung, so it ends up against a wall.
Then the candidate moves to another ladder and raises it via a pulley without leaving a 3 X 3 foot box.
The candidate uses a 10-pound sledgehammer to strike a measuring device until a buzzer sounds. While hammering, the candidate must stay in a designated box.
Recruits must crawl on hands and knees in a tunnel maze that is four feet wide and three feet high. The 64-foot-long tunnel has two 90-degree turns. In addition, there are two areas with significantly reduced space.
The candidate grabs the handles at the shoulder of a 165-pound mannequin and drags it 35 feet, around a barrier, and then back to the starting point.
The candidate uses a pike pole to push up a 60-pound hinged door three times and then use the pike pole to pull an 80-pound door downward five times.
The routine is conducted for a total of five rounds.
EMT standards vary more than the other two categories. The test usually involves either a standard fitness test, like the ones used by the police and military; or a more functional test, similar to what firefighters use.
Either way, the standards tend to be a bit easier than either police or fire. The focus is more emergency medical expertise than physical fitness.
Test Preparation Workout
As you can see, standards differ. But the bottom line is that some heightened level of fitness is essential. So we came up with a series of workouts that can help any aspiring civil servant prepare for fitness tests.
The workouts focus on building functional strength and athleticism.
You will train six days per week. Be sure to rotate the A and B workouts each week so you don't end up doing more A workouts than B workouts.
- Monday: Workout A
- Tuesday: Cardio
- Wednesday: Workout B
- Thursday: Cardio
- Friday: Workout A
- Saturday: Cardio
- Sunday: Rest
Dumbbell Rear Lunge (Performed without dumbbells)1 set of 10 reps
Side Lunge (Performed without dumbbells)1 set of 10 reps
Cardio: Do each once per week
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I think that the decimals need removing from the maximum bench press numbers. As .99% of my weight is 1.77lbs. Don't think thats much of a challenge! Apart from that, awesome article.
Seems to me that once you get into the police, there are no further fitness requirements - just about every cop I see now is overweight if not downright obese and a walking potential heart attack..
I definitely agree with you. There should be standards that need to be kept up with every year or something. I am trying out for the academy in October and when I make it to be an officer, theres no way im letting myself go.
haha you say that, until you see the hours they work. You will find out after the academy trust me. Its hard to make it to the gym some day. Plus sitting in a car all day.
I manage but a lot of people out there lose the drive after working 12-16 hour days
Really respect those men and women. I would definately do Crossfit style workouts if I was in the rescue field like that! Crossfit is boss for these occupations. Great workouts here and great article
I am a law enforcement officer and these standards are not the same across states,many are different. If you want to train for the most rigorous standards you should check out the FBI and US marshals PT standards. Good looking workout though.
That's awesome but if you read it does say, "Illinois State Police Standard".
I can't wait to be a police officer one day!
You sit with your legs straight in front of you, feet about 1 foot apart, and then with the tips of your fingers you have to move a block or something by reaching and stretching your arms as far as they will go between your feet.
One thing, the info on the CPAT test for the stair climb, it is not 60 steps in 3 minutes. The stair climb is done for 3 minutes at a rate of 60 steps per minute. You also get a 20sec warm up at 50spm.
Glad to see an article about what fitness testing is like on here! :)
The only things wrong with the CPAT informatio for FD is it's one round that has to be completed in 10:20 and the stair climb is 60 steps/minute plus a 20 second warmup. Also, there's a 50# vest worn throughout the evolution with the extra weight added only on the stairmaster.