Are You Fit For Duty? Fitness Tests For Police, Fire And EMS Agencies

Chasing bad guys or climbing through burning buildings takes more than adrenaline. It takes strength and endurance. Learn what physical fitness tests you have to pass to serve.

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!

Police Power

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.

Illinois State Police Standards

Firefighter Fitness

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

1/
Stair Climb

Recruits must climb 60 steps in 3 minutes with two 12.5-pound weights on their shoulders.

2/
Hose Drag

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.

3/
Equipment Carry

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.

4/
Ladder Raise and Extension

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.

5/
Forcible Entry

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.

6/
Search

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.

7/
Rescue Drag

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.

8/
Ceiling Breach and Pull

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.

Paramedic Perfection

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
Workout A
Workout B


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DMazzella4588

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DMazzella4588

Not enough people are viewing this article! This routine would help a lot of my friends out.

Aug 23, 2012 8:05pm | report
 
Basketball22

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Basketball22

Cool article. These workouts are a great base for anyone. I might even try these for a change from my usual routine.

Aug 23, 2012 8:31pm | report
 
geohhh

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geohhh

So much respect for those guys. Thank you for saving our lives every day!

Aug 24, 2012 4:04am | report
 
TonedJordan

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TonedJordan

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.

Aug 24, 2012 7:19am | report
 
Muscle Mania Matt

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Muscle Mania Matt

should be multiplied by 100

Aug 24, 2012 8:14am | report
TonedJordan

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TonedJordan

That's exactly what removing the decimal does........

Aug 24, 2012 8:32am | report
LionT

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LionT

theres no decimals. you move the decimal two places to the left when you convert it from a percentage. which for you would be .99 x 182 = 180.18.

Dec 29, 2012 10:17pm | report
zamfire

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zamfire

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..

Aug 24, 2012 10:22am | report
 
Arodr58

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Arodr58

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.

Aug 30, 2012 12:54pm | report
jruby55

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jruby55

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

Jan 5, 2013 11:24pm | report
Perseus3

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Perseus3

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

Aug 24, 2012 11:17am | report
 
TERMINAT0R

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TERMINAT0R

This is good to know. I'm a criminal justice major that will be applying to the police academy after graduation.

Aug 24, 2012 12:15pm | report
 
CanadianZombie

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CanadianZombie

have lotss of friends who are taking these courses in college that I'll share this wit!

Aug 24, 2012 1:01pm | report
 
gyrehawk

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gyrehawk

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.

Aug 25, 2012 1:59pm | report
 
7usabball

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7usabball

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!

Aug 26, 2012 3:15pm | report
chrispanek28

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chrispanek28

Same goes for my state's firefighter standards. this is similar... but not quite the same.. NJ is MUCH more difficult

Feb 17, 2013 12:40pm | report
pinkyrb

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pinkyrb

What is SIT AND REACH. I was a policeman for 33 yrs, and never heard that terminolgy.

Aug 26, 2012 11:15am | report
 
Arodr58

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Arodr58

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.

Aug 30, 2012 12:56pm | report
MoeGainz88

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MoeGainz88

lol, those police requirements should be way more "requiring"

Aug 26, 2012 11:45am | report
 
s500862

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s500862

The recruitment process i just went through was pretty close to that and almost 40% of the group failed the fitness test. There were about 825 applicants.

Feb 25, 2013 7:44pm | report
Tyelow13

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Tyelow13

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! :)

Aug 26, 2012 11:51am | report
 
zerofear777

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zerofear777

loving this article, 16 hoping to be one of the honorable men fighting fires one day!

Aug 28, 2012 9:42pm | report
 
TFRMedic

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TFRMedic

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.

Aug 29, 2012 12:09am | report
 
xTwK

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xTwK

I love seeing articles like this related to my career

Aug 29, 2012 9:08pm | report
 
SweetP09

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SweetP09

as I work towards my goals of becoming a FF, I def look forward to adding these routines into my workouts

Aug 29, 2012 11:52pm | report
 
Showing 1 - 25 of 33 Comments

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