Firefighter Exam Orientation & Preparation Guide
Firefighter Physical Ability Test (PAT) Preparation Guide
The Human Resources Division (HRD) is currently accepting applications for both components of the 2014 Firefighter, Municipal Service Examination.
This examination consists of two components: the Written examination and the Entry Level Physical Ability Test (ELPAT). Candidates MUST APPLY FOR, TAKE and PASS BOTH components in order to be placed on the eligible list for appointment in a civil service city or town.
The Written examination component will be held on April 26, 2014 at various sites across the Commonwealth.
The ELPAT will be administered from January 2014 through August 2014 at the Hudson National Guard Armory in Hudson, MA.
Please note that there is only one site available for the ELPAT. Failure to complete the ELPAT will result in failure of the examination and your name will not be placed on the eligible list. HRD strongly encourages candidates to sign up for and take the ELPAT as soon as possible, due to limited space.
NOTE: Candidates who have registered for the 2014 Firefighter examination from Friday, March 28th - Monday, March 31st will be contacted directly by Civil Service to Schedule their ELPAT. An email with Self-Scheduling instructions will not be sent out and these individuals will be contacted directly by Civil Service within a week. Candidates are strongly advised to review their online profiles to ensure that there is a valid email address on file and their phone contact information is up to date.
NOTICE TO APPEAR INFORMATION
WRITTEN: A Notice to Appear informing you of where and when to report to take the written component (the location and time of your exam) will be emailed approximately two weeks prior to the exam date.
You must print your Notice to Appear and bring it with you to the exam site along with valid identification.
ELPAT: Once an application has been received and a valid payment or fee waiver has been verified, an email will be sent out to the candidate within one week providing instructions on how to schedule your ELPAT. Appointments will be available on a first come, first served basis and it is highly recommended that the ELPAT is scheduled as soon as possible.
Questions regarding ELPAT scheduling can be emailed to ELPAT@state.ma.us
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What if I do not receive my Notice to Appear for the written portion of the exam?
A: Please email firstname.lastname@example.org within 72 hours of the test date if you have not received your Notice to Appear
Q: Will I receive a Notice to Appear for the ELPAT portion of the exam?
A: You will not receive a Notice to Appear for the ELPAT portion. Please log into your Civil service account and view your scheduled date. If you have difficulty accessing this information, please email email@example.com
Q: Can I claim additional city/town choices, other than my Residency Preference
A: Applicants will no longer be limited to a total of 3 non-resident location selections, which will eliminate the need for candidates to switch location selections in order to be considered for a vacancy. Instead, a statewide Eligible List of applicants will be used to certify eligible* non-resident names. If a municipality has certified all their Residents on the Eligible List and requests additional names, an email Notice of Interest (NOI) will be sent to eligible* applicants according to their ranking on the statewide Eligible List. Applicants can simply reply to the NOI email to confirm their interest, and will then be certified to the municipality. Both Residents and non-residents still must sign any certification that they appear on to indicate to the Appointing Authority their willingness to accept a position.
*NOTE – Not all candidates will be eligible for appointment in all municipalities; please review all the eligibility requirements at the following locations:
Please also see: Certification Order of Lists
Q: Why should I take the ELPAT before taking the written examination?
A: There is only one site for the ELPAT and to ensure you receive a space it is recommended that you take the ELPAT as soon as possible, even before taking the written examination.
Q: What happens if I fail the ELPAT before the written exam date (April 26, 2014)?
A: Since you did not take the written component yet but have no chance to be on the eligible list due to failing the ELPAT component, you may receive a partial refund of the examination processing fee, in the amount of $100. You must request this refund in writing.
Q: What happens if I take and pass the ELPAT before the written examination date (April 26, 2014) and then fail the written examination?
A: You will not receive a refund for either component.
Q: I can’t attend my scheduled ELPAT date, can I re-schedule?
A: With the exception of current military personnel who cannot be in Massachusetts on the scheduled date of the ELPAT, no applicant has a right to a make-up examination due to personal or professional conflicts on the testing date. If you are unable to appear for your scheduled ELPAT date due to an emergency or unanticipated hardship, you may request a make-up date, by filing a written request with verifiable documentation to HRD no later than 7 calendar days from the originally scheduled date. HRD reserves the right to approve OR deny your request. HRD may require an additional examination processing fee upon approval of your request. Such requests will be processed on a first-come first served basis. Please email ELPAT@state.ma.us with your request.
Q. How do I self-schedule my ELPAT?
A. Once an application has been received and a valid payment or fee waiver has been verified, an email will be sent out to the candidate within 72 business hours with instructions on how to schedule the ELPAT. Appointments will be scheduled by each candidate and will be available on a first come, first served basis and it is highly recommended that the ELPAT is scheduled as soon as possible to guarantee a spot.
Q. When is the last day to self-schedule my ELPAT?
A. Scheduling will be based on availability of slots and the last day to schedule will be March 31, 2014.HRD encourages that you schedule your ELPAT as soon as possible, as slots are available on a first come first served basis.
Q. What happens if I fail to schedule my ELPAT?
A. You will automatically fail the Firefighter examination and will not be placed on an eligible list.
Q. Is there an opportunity to preview the ELPAT?
A. Yes, information will be provided once a candidate has scheduled their ELPAT.
Q. What are the ELPAT events?
This event simulates continuous stair climbing, an activity that firefighters may perform when getting to a fire at an incident scene. For this event, you will be required to step on a rotating staircase (also known as a step mill) at a pre-determined stepping pace for a specific period of time. You will get a 5-minute rest period after this event. The required time to remain on the step mill is 200 seconds.
This event simulates various activities related to using ladders. You will be required to remove a ladder from a rack, carry it some distance, raise a weight of approximately 45 lbs. attached to a rope that simulates the raising of an extension ladder, lower that weight and return the ladder to the rack from which it was taken. The event ends when the ladder is back in the rack. The time limit is 35.56 seconds.
This event simulates the actions necessary to manipulate a fully charged fire hose. You will be required to pull 50 feet of hose through a U-shaped course with several turns. There will be a ceiling on the U-shaped course to prevent you from standing upright. The time limit is 20.00 seconds.
This event simulates breaking down a door to gain entry to a burning structure or an incident scene. For this event you will be required to strike a rubber pad mounted on a moveable post. You will use a 12 lb. sledge hammer to move the post a set distance. The post and structure are weighted to simulate the force you would need to exert on a door in order to gain entrance. The time limit is 13.91 seconds.
This event simulates the actions necessary to enter and search a smoke-filled structure. You will be required to crawl through a dark wooden tunnel with obstructions and turns. The tunnel is approximately 65 feet long. The tunnel is 4 feet high and 4 feet wide. At one location in the tunnel there is an obstacle on the floor and at one location there is an obstacle from the ceiling. In addition, at two locations, the tunnel is reduced from 4 to 3 feet in width. The time limit is 39.00 seconds.
Rescue Through a Doorway
This event simulates the actions necessary to drag an unconscious victim out through a doorway to get the victim to safety. You will be required to drag a 125 pound dummy approximately 30 feet, along a zigzag course to a designated area at the end of the course. In this event, there is a low ceiling over the course to prevent you from standing upright. The time limit is 36.00 seconds.
Ceiling Hook (Pike Pole)
This event simulates the use of a pike pole or ceiling hook. A pike pole or ceiling hook is a firefighting tool used to tear down ceilings or open walls while looking for hidden fires. This event will require you to take a pike pole, tipped with an industrial hammer head, and thrust it upward at a metal plate in an 8 foot ceiling. The metal plate weighs approximately 60 lbs. and must be lifted six inches in order for the strike to count. You will then step over to the next part of the event, where a pike pole handle is suspended from a ceiling height. The pole is attached to a counter balance that weighs approximately 80 lbs. You must pull the pole down six inches in order for the pull to count. You will be required to perform one push and five pulls in a sequence. The event will require you to perform four one-minute periods of work, in which you will try to do as many push-pull sequences as possible. Each work period will be followed by a 30 second rest period. You must complete 25 full repetitions.