Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

December 19, 2013

Ashland added as firefighter physical testing site

ASHLAND — As part of a new national law effective Jan. 1, 2014, all career firefighters must pass the Candidate Physical Ability Test before being hired by a department.

Ashland Fire Department Deputy Chief Greg Ray and Chief Scott Penick requested for the Kentucky Commission to bring the test to Ashland to help make the certification process more convenient for the area.

Prior to this, the only other fixed testing sites were in Winchester and Louisville.

Ray said the AFD currently has 26 eligible for hire who need to take the test and supply tangible proof of certification before coming on board.

Professional firefighters are not required under the new law to be CPAT certified by Jan. 1.

“We’re actually in our hiring process right now ... All of our candidates, if they don’t already have their (certification) card, they’re going to go through the assessment,” Ray said.

However, CPAT certification is not required for volunteer firefighters.

The purpose of the test is to ensure new employees are physically capable of withstanding the strenuous conditions of fighting fires, calling on them to be able to perform tasks of climbing several flights of stairs under the weight of their gear, busting through doors and ceilings, crawling through dark mazes and more.

Throughout the test, participants are dressed in gloves, hard plastic helmets and 50-pound vests comparable to the weight of the Self Contained Breathing Apparatus they wear.

Both Ray and Kentucky Commission Coordinator Rick Larkins said the leading cause for death among firefighters are heart attacks, induced by the stress of their operations.

“It’s one thing to go out and jog and do some exercises. It’s another thing to put on all our equipment and carry that along with you while you’re working. Even with the air master, you’re not sucking in oxygen like you would if you were outside running,” Ray said.

Larkins said they tested people from Hazard to Somerset Thursday at the Ashland Fire Department.

The most difficult obstacle in the course: the stairmaster.

“They have to do three minutes and 25 seconds on there with 75 pounds of weight,” he said. “They have a 50-pound weight vest and when they get ready to get on the machine, they’re given an extra 25 pounds on their shoulders.”

He said this simulates climbing flights of stairs while carrying a hose bundle on their shoulders.

Though each task in the course is designed to resemble real fire scenarios, Larkins said it still doesn’t compare to being in the actual moments of fighting a fire.

“We tell them in orientation, ‘If you think this is tough, you haven’t seen nothing yet,’ because when you wake up from a dead sleep in the middle of the night, you have to hit 100 percent on that truck,” he said.

This test has become available to all firefighters free of charge and at no cost to the departments, covered under Governor Steve Beshear’s state budget.

Larkins said the cost for the CPAT equipment averages about $68,000.

“I’m very proud that in the state of Kentucky we took that step forward in saying that physical fitness for a firefighter is important,” he said.

CPAT certification not only readies firefighters for a professional career, but is also transferrable to anywhere in the United States.

“Before, every fire department had a different physical agility test. Some were unfair, some departments were being sued, candidates said (these tests) had nothing to do with the job, but this takes liability off the fire department and the city. We come in and test them free of charge and they’re ready to go anywhere in the U.S.,” he said.

Women sometimes struggle to muster the physical strength needed to complete the laborious tasks, but Larkins said the women on the commission team try to assist them during the practices by demonstrating certain techniques.

Before the formal test, participants were oriented into the course and given the option for two practice days before the final assessment.

The Ashland Fire Department hosted two groups for the challenge Thursday, one at 9:30 a.m., the other at 11 a.m.

CPAT testing has been available in Kentucky for six years, giving candidates ample time to prepare for the 2014 deadline.

LANA BELLAMY can be reached at lbellamy@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Jesse Stuart Foundation celebrates 35 years

    The annual Jesse Stuart Foundation Open House from noon to 6 p.m. on Aug. 8 will be a huge celebration.
     

    July 28, 2014

  • 0729hagerman.jpg Hagerman talks law with Rotary

    At Monday’s lunchtime meeting of the Ashland Rotary Club, Boyd County Circuit Court Judge C. David Hagerman summed up current local legal trends — and how cases, courts and criminals have changed during his 20-plus year tenure.
     

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue speaks during an interview in Salt Lake City

    Fish and houseguests both stink after three days — and much less time when a visitor pockets valuables without permission.
     

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728bank5.jpg Iconic Gate City bank torn down after partial collapse

    This weekend, Catlettsburg’s downtown silhouette lost one of its longest-lived landmarks.
    Demolition workers began to tear down one of the Gate City’s oldest downtown buildings following the former Catlettsburg National Bank’s partial collapse.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Study shows room for parking improvement

    It has been suggested that the parking layout along Winchester Avenue should change, bringing the city’s main thoroughfare down to two lanes.

    July 28, 2014

  • Anti-smoking tour kicks off in Ashland

    A scan in 2009 that was supposed to show doctors what was causing Deborah Cline’s eye problems by chance revealed the cancer in her lung.
    Two years later, Roger Cline watched his wife die of lung cancer. Deborah Cline was 59 and had never smoked.

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728bank5.jpg Gate City landmark demolished

    The historic Catlettsburg National Bank Building was being taken down after the front dormer window collapsed on Sunday.

    July 28, 2014 4 Photos

  • Local counties see drop in unemployment

    Boyd County was one of 117 counties that saw a decrease in its unemployment rate between June 2013 and June 2014.
     

    July 27, 2014

  • 0726bigboy.JPG Big Boy to open Aug. 11

    The long-awaited Frisch’s Big Boy restaurant will open Aug. 11, and when it does it will be business as usual from day one: the eatery will open its doors to the early breakfast crowd at 6:30.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • SOAR meeting at MSU Aug. 6

    Morehead State University and St. Claire Regional Medical Center will present Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers as part of a "Health Impact Series" under the new Shaping Our Appalachian Region initiative.
     

    July 27, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone