PAT Rules & Procedures



Firefighter Physical Ability Test (PAT)* 

The Department of Human Resources (DHR), Equal Opportunity/Diversity Programs (EODP), and Department of Fire-Rescue Training Division have agreed to utilize the following guidelines during the next entry-level Firefighter Physical Ability Test: 

  • It was agreed upon that the DHR Proctors are the official timekeepersand are considered the official clock.  Instructors will not have, and cannot use a timing device to time candidate performance (e.g., stopwatch). Instead, Instructors will readthe instructions prior to each PAT exercise and continuously watch for, and verbally announce, candidate violations.


  • Two (2) Test Proctors from DHR and two (2) Training Instructors from Fire-Rescue will accompany each candidate throughout the PAT testing process. At minimum, one (1) representative from EODP will observe the candidate during the PAT testing process.


  • Fire Instructors will read all instructions for each of the PAT events and indicate the start by saying “ready and go” without pausing between the end instructions for each event and saying “ready and go”. 


  • At each PAT event the DHR Test Proctors will inform the candidate when to “stop”.


  • During the Forcible Entry and Ventilation Event, Fire Instructors will tap the candidate on the shoulder to inform the candidate to stop.


  • There are four (4) PAT events, the passing time for the:
    • Charged Hose Pull Event (#2) is 0:00:21 seconds, 0:00:21.001 seconds is failing.
    • Forcible Entry and Ventilation Event (#3) is 0:00:56 seconds, 0:00:56.001 seconds is failing.
    • Fire Extinguishing and Rescue Event (#4) is 0:05:30, 0:05:30.001 is failing.


  • Training Instructors will not monitor the Candidate’s time during the PAT.


  • There will be no interaction between Training Instructors and the Candidates, other than reading instructions for each PAT event.  Test proctors will not interact with candidates other than: verifying identity prior to test, obtaining required information for the score sheet, showing candidates their times after the applicable events,and informing candidates when to “Stop” after the completion of an event.


  • Tables will be set-up downstairs for the check-in of the Candidates. Candidates will only check-in with DHR staff; Fire-Rescue will not check-in candidates again.


  • Two (2) tables and seven (7) chairs will be set-up downstairs under cover for the DHR Test Proctors. A fan will be provided.


  • Candidates must check in by his/her assigned appointment time. A Candidate who reports after his/her assigned appointment time will be disqualified. The time on any iPhone or Android phone is the official time.


  • ŸIf during the PAT test the Training Instructors (Firefighter monitors), DHR Test Administrator, DHR Testing and Validation proctors, or EODP representative observes a violation they will first discuss it with the Review Team subsequent tothe applicant completing the course.   The review team shall include DHR Test Administrator and the MFD Lead Training Instructor. The discussions should include the eyewitnesses in an effort to reach a determination as to whether the action was a disqualifying violation.


    If the issue is not resolved between the DHR Test Administrator and the MFD Lead Training Instructor, it shall be escalated to the next level which shall include the DHR Test Administrator and the Captain over Training.  If not resolved at this level, the issue shall be escalated to the Chief of Training and the DHR Test Administrator.  If irresolvable at that level, the issue shall be escalated to the Director of Human Resources to gather sufficient details and input from parties deemed appropriate.  The Director of Human Resources shall render a final decision.  In the event that the decision cannot be reached without it being escalated to the Director of Human Resources, the proctors will document on the score sheet provided by the Testing and Validation staff that the candidate test result is subject to a final disposition.  After completion of the course, the candidate will be advised by the Test Administrator that there is a discrepancy, that the candidate will be allowed to participate in the next scheduled event (interviews) should a final decision still be pending prior to the scheduled interview date, and that notice will be forthcoming from the Director of Human Resources as to the status of the PAT results.  


  • If a candidate indicates he/she does not want to continue (i.e., wishes to terminate PAT), the candidate will be asked to verbally repeat their wish to terminate PAT to the Fire-Rescue Training Instructors and then a third time to the DHR Test Proctors.  DHR Test Proctors will write a detailed summary of the incident and candidate’s decision to terminate on the official score sheet for that candidate and will also have the Candidate sign that score sheet to acknowledge their decision to terminate the PAT. 


  • The Stair Climb Simulation, Charged Hose Pull, Forcible Entry and Ventilation, and Fire Extinguishing and Rescue Events are pass/fail events. Failure of a candidate to complete any one of these events will conclude the Candidate’s PAT. Candidate will be listed by DHR as failed PAT.


  • During the Charged Hose Pull Event both of the Candidate’s feet andhose nozzle (including the coupling) must completely cross the finish line. 


  • Everyone agreed on where the finish line is on the course during the FF PAT course walkthrough. 


  • The updated FF PAT Video does notinstruct candidates to stand in the yellow box. Candidates must STAND BEHIND THE STARTING LINEfor Event #2 and also for the first hose in the first component of Event #4. This means standing behind the yellow line and not touching any part of the yellow line.


  • When advancing the dry hose Candidates must cross the yellow line between the cones. If they fail to do so he/she may still correct the error as long as they have not started the next pass/fail event. (For example, by picking up the hose bundle.) For the Fire Extinguishing and Rescue evolution, the candidate will complete this last event in the FF PAT, DHR Test Proctors will write the candidate’s time on the score sheet, candidate will sign their score sheet, and candidate will be disqualified for failing to cross the designated line with both feet and the hose.


  • During the Fire Extinguishing and Rescue Event #4 the candidate is not allowed to return to adjust/correct a completed component within this event once he/she has started the next required component in Event #4 (the evolution process). The candidate will be allowed to complete this event. However, this violation will result in the candidate being disqualified (DQ).


  • Representatives of the Fire Department, DHR, and EODP will be clearly identifiable to the candidates by wearing distinguishable shirts.


  • At the completion of the Stair Climbing Event #1, all DHR Test Proctors will start the thirty (0:00:30) second timer immediately after ten (10) pounds have been removed from the Candidate’s vest by the MFD Training Instructors.


  • The PAT course WILL NOTbe reset by MFD until a final determination has been made as to whether the Candidate has passed or failed the event(s).


  • If there is a suspected violation the Candidate will be allowed to finish the last event before the MFD Lead Training Instructors and DHR Test Administrator discuss the possible violation.


  • If the candidate exceeds the time on a particular event the Candidate will be allowed to finish before the DHR Test Proctor will advise candidate of their time.


  • It is an automatic disqualification (DQ) if during the Forcible Entry Event the Candidate losses control of the hammer (i.e., the hammer flies out or falls out of candidates’ hands.)


  • The rescue dummy cannot be dragged by the head or limbs. However, Candidates may change/adjust their grips during that part of Event #4. The Candidate and the entire dummy must completely cross the finish line. The front straps will be removed from the dummy (i.e., those by the dummy’s head). The straps by the dummy’s legs will remain to facilitate resetting of the dummy for the next candidate.


  • DHR Test proctors will verify the Candidate’s identity against their driver’s license or picture ID and record the only last 4 digits of the candidate’s social security number on the score sheet during the check-in process and obtain race and gender information from each candidate.


  • MFD Training Instructors will read the event instructions once Training Instructor is notified to “Read” by the DHR Test Proctor.


  • MFD Training Instructors will start reading the event instructions immediately after the recovery time has elapsed regardless of whether or not the Candidate has reached the starting location for the next PAT event. 


  • During the dry hose drag the candidate can select to advance either section of hose first.


  • When advancing the hose bundle up the stairs a Candidate CANNOT use his/her hands on the railing to assist themselves up the stairs. Hands can only be used for balancing and for safety reasons. Any warnings will be verbally announced by the Training Instructors and remembered for possible disqualification (DQ).


  • During the tool/hose hoist event the Candidate may only use their hands to hoist the rope. The use of any other body part while hoisting the rope is considered a violation (e.g. feet, body, wrapped around arms).


  • A First Aid Station staffed by a licensed Paramedic with required equipment will be located on the sixth (6th) Floor gym area near the Event #4 finish line. Radio communications will be maintained between the First Aid Station and the Training Instructors who are accompanying tested candidates. 


  • No radio, music, employees or personnel not involved in PAT testing will be allowed at the gym while the PAT is in process.


  • A water cooler will be available on the ground and sixth (6th) floor for everybody to keep hydrated during the events. All City Staff are advised and strongly encouraged to stay well hydrated with fluids on each and every day of the FF PATs.


  • Fire Training Center Shooting Policy: Due to the occurrence of three (3) shooting incidents in 2013, all test proctors and candidates will follow the Training Instructor (identified in red shirts) to the nearest entrance of the Fire Training Center upon suspicion that the discharge of a weapon is imminent or in progress.


* The intent of this document is to clarify the official “Guidelines for Physical Ability Test” (Official April 2003 version).                                              

Printed on 2/09/2006, 8/16/2007, 6/11/2008, 7/10/2009, 5/12/2010, 6/21/2012, 11/21/2012, 6/21/2013, 10/23/2013, 01/04/2016.