Female Firefighter Candidates More Prepared for Physical Demands of CPAT Thanks to Personal Trainer

Written by Rebecca Turley

Whether you’re a man or woman, proving you have what it takes to become a firefighter is no easy task. However, in Hyde Park, a group of women have proved that hard work can really pay off through ultimate girl power.

Lionel Pate, a personal trainer out of Chicago, trained women in their 50s for eight months so they could be prepared for the physical ability test they must pass to become firefighters. Fourteen of the 25 women passed the test with Pate’s guidance.

The City of Chicago was sued in 2012 by a group of women claiming the test was unfair and designed only for men to be able to pass. The case was settled when it was prooved that the women were not hired on the grounds of discrimination.

Even before that, one woman by the name of Monika Allan tried becoming a firefighter in the 90s but wasn’t allowed to even take the CPAT (Candidate Physical Abilities Test). The 2012 case inspired her to work harder and try again.

The CPAT is the physical portion of the National Testing Network that hopeful firefighters must pass in order to be deemed fit to work as a firefighter. The test allows fire departments to establish a pool of trainable candidates who are able to perform the tasks essential to working as a firefighter.

In order to pass the CPAT, candidates must train rigorously and for months at a time. The test is designed to demonstrate real situations that a firefighter will encounter while working. These situations include dragging a dummy weighing 165 pounds, pulling a sledgehammer, and climbing stairs with a weighted vest.

Pate took the test himself and catered his training to both women who were already active as well as those that led a sedentary lifestyle. Needless to say, the training worked and most of the women were able to pass and continue on with their training to become firefighters in Chicago.