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    I have been looking at becoming a firefighter, but had a few questions. I am in Iowa if that helps. What are the tests and standards for the CPAT? For a medium size city, what kind of wait is there to get on if you are qualified? And, about how long is the training and probationary period? Thanks for any help.

  • #2
    Here's how it was for me (in Indiana):

    CPAT consists of about 8 "events" performed consecutively. Starts out with 3 mins on a stepmill with 75lbs on your back.

    After that you lose 25 of the lbs and continue with the other events. I believe they were a hose drag, forced entry simulator, chainsaw carry, ladder raise and extension, blacked-out crawling maze, dummy drag, and a ceiling push/pull simulator.

    All has to be done within 10mins 20secs.

    We turned in our applications at the beginning of January, started testing in late January. After everything was done, our first day of work was Sept 5.

    We had a fire academy that lasted 4 months (plus 2 months for EMT school).

    Our probationary period is 1 year.

    Hope that helps


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    Spanish 4 Emergencies.com
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    • #3

      Thanks, that does give me a good idea of what to expect. Also, does it help to have a fire science degree and stuff like that, or will the training cover what I need? Just things I am considering.


      • #4
        Department provided training will cover what you need to do the job, as well as what you learn "off the record" so to speak from the guys you'd end up working with.

        And education never hurts anyone. Will it make you a better firefighter though? Maybe, but it will never compare to the experiences you get as you start to make runs.


        • #5
          Places in Iowa to work

          Look at Cedar Rapids, DesMoines, West DesMoines, Davenport, Iowa City, Sioux City, Waterloo, Marion, Council Bluffs, Omaha NE, Mason City, or Dubuque - I know there are more paid departments, but that is a place to start.

          Most of the departments in Iowa require EMT-B certification to apply, some require Paramedic certification, and others require EMS certification within the first year of employment. If you are interested in making this your trade, going to EMT - B school is the place to start.

          While it is not mandatory, many departments are only hiring people that have some college or a military back-ground.

          The University of Iowa EMSLRC has a very reputable EMS program, as do most of the community colleges.

          As an aside, keep your driving record clean. A recent OWI, serious traffic offense (> 10+ MPH over, Blowing a stop sign, or reckless driving) usually put you out of the running.

          Only 25% of the people that work for my fire department live in the community, and nearly all started as volunteers somewhere near here.

          So go to school, stay out of the bar, and stay focused.
          Good Luck.
          Last edited by Geinandputitout; 02-06-2007, 09:47 PM. Reason: Forgot something


          • #6

            Thanks for the info...I will check around. I have looked at the Ames FD, and they only hire people with fire science degrees, ems training, or have gone through some other type of training. So, I will definitely keep researching. If anyone wants to keep posting advice to a newbie on here, go right ahead. I could use all of the knowledge I can get.


            • #7
              I too live in Iowa and would like to get on a dept. full time. Any info or recommendations would be greatly appreciated. I am currently FF1 and HAZMAT Tech certified. I will be completing my EMT-B class in about a month and a half.


              • #8
                Best knowledge I can give you is this.

                The internet is a great place to learn things. Great great venue. However it is the lazy way. I know I don't like lazy probies. I was not one and I can not tolerate one.

                The best thing for you to do, GO to the firehouses and talk with the actual members of that department. They will provide you the most factual knowledge about the area you are intreseted in. CALL the local departments Human Resources division. They can tell you what they are looking for in applicants.

                I am not calling you personally lazy. However, firehouse.com is a website visited by people from all over the planet. Sure I can tell you what it was like for me when I took the New York enterance exam. I can tell you what the Virginia Beach hiring process was like. If you really want to know I can even describe the US Navy application process. But does any of that really matter to you getting hired in Iowa?

                Pick up the phone. Go to the firehouses and talk with the firefighters there. SHOW them you want the job. It will be 150% better on you in the long run.
                Last edited by JohnVBFD; 02-16-2007, 11:30 AM.
                Co 11
                Virginia Beach FD

                Amateurs practice until they get it right; professionals practice until they cannot get it wrong. Which one are you?

                'The fire went out and nobody got hurt' is a poor excuse for a fireground critique.


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