It has now been over 20 years since we joined together to form the IAFF/IAFC Fire Service Joint Labor Management Wellness-Fitness Task Force. The Task Force has dedicated itself to developing a holistic, positive rehabilitating and educational approach to wellness and fitness programs in the fire service.
One of the three major initiatives was the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) Program. Since its release in 1999, over 900 jurisdictions have successfully implemented this valuable program. In our ongoing effort to ensure that the CPAT is being used properly and only as intended, we have a formal licensing policy that specifies the way in which this program can legally be used. This procedure was instituted by the Task Force to protect the integrity of the CPAT Program and the interests of the members of the IAFF and the IAFC by ensuring that the program is implemented properly and as intended.
On June 5, 2006, the IAFF notified all CPAT licensees of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) conciliation agreement with the IAFF which required specific changes in the administration of the CPAT Program. The EEOC agreed that it will not file a lawsuit during the term of this agreement based upon a claim that the CPAT has a discriminatory impact on female candidates against any fire department that utilizes the CPAT in conformity with these changes. Pursuant to this agreement, the Task Force revised the CPAT Program manual to incorporate the conciliation agreement in its entirety. Further, the Task Force has now unanimously agreed that as a condition of obtaining and maintaining a CPAT license these revisions must be fully incorporated by the CPAT license holder.
On July 19, 2006, the IAFF notified all CPAT licensees of the release of our secure web-based application, CPAT Administration. CPAT Administration was developed to provide a tool for all CPAT licensees that support all aspects of administering the CPAT program. As part of the EEOC conciliation agreement, the IAFF agreed to collect and provide aggregate and redacted data to the EEOC to allow it to assess the effectiveness of the modifications in addressing the impact of the CPAT on female candidates. All licensees must agree to collect and provide the IAFF and the IAFC data regarding number of male, female and minority applicants that have taken the CPAT and the pass/fail rates of each. The Task Force has now unanimously agreed that as a condition of obtaining and maintaining a CPAT license, the CPAT Administration shall be used by the licensee as the sole means for collecting and providing data as well as for the administration of the CPAT.
The IAFF, the IAFC and the Task Force have now developed and adopted a new policy on CPAT Limited Licenses. Any department utilizing a limited licensee to administer and conduct their CPAT testing program MUST also have a license. As the full license holder, the department will be responsible for the entire program, including the portion conducted by the limited licensed organization that is assisting with the CPAT.
In 2008, the IAFF/IAFC Joint Labor Management Wellness-Fitness Initiative Task Force completed and the IAFF published the 2nd Edition of the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) program. The new edition incorporates the above information as well as provides new videos and tools for a successful CPAT program.
Under the current policy, authorization to use the CPAT under a full license will only be granted to fire departments and other employers that will be fully administering the CPAT Program and hiring fire fighter employees. Limiting the granting of licenses to only those entities that actually administer the program has enabled us to better ensure that the CPAT is only being administered in strict compliance with the licensing agreement. Third party testing organizations (limited to federal, state or provincial agencies; state/provincial fire academies; colleges/universities that conduct pre-employment testing; or pre-employment testing organizations) that only administer the physical testing portion of the CPAT may apply for a Limited License.
Such Limited Licenses allow such third party testing organizations to use the CPAT for purposes of testing the physical capability of fire fighter candidates. However, this license is granted only upon the express conditions that the licensee may only administer the CPAT for a fire department that already possesses a complete and valid license from the IAFF. Limited licensees shall not administer the CPAT to any person without first obtaining a written agreement with the fire department to which the person is applying. The provisions of this agreement are outlined below.
These Limited License organizations then operate under the license of the jurisdiction that is responsible for administering the overall CPAT Program. In addition, a fire department that uses another fire department’s resources and facilities to test candidates must apply for a license of their own. The licensing policy ensures that the CPAT Program used by the licensee fully covers every aspect of the CPAT, including recruiting and mentoring programs, providing recruits with fitness guidance to help prepare them for the CPAT and setting up and administering the test.
Any use of the CPAT without a license or any misuse of the CPAT program is a violation of the IAFF copyright on this program.