The Richmond Register

September 6, 2013

CPAT regulations hinder hiring of Berea firefighters

By Seth Littrell
Register News Writer

BEREA — The city of Berea is having difficulty filling two positions on the city’s fire department following the transfer of one employee to another fire department and the retirement of another.

According to City Administrator Randy Stone, finding candidates to replace the two firefighters has become a challenge because of a state regulation requiring all professional firefighters to complete the Candidate Physical Ability Test, or CPAT, before they can be interviewed.

“It limits the pool (of candidates),” Stone said of the test. “And if you’re working at another entity, you have to take time off to take the test.”

Before the CPAT regulation, the city would narrow a list of interviewed candidates for the job to about five. Those five would then be put through a rigorous training program by the city, he said. Now, candidates must have the CPAT certification they can even be considered for an interview.

“It’s going to make it difficult (across the state) to hire firefighters,” Stone said.

According to the website for the Kentucky Fire Commission, CPAT testing must take place at one of two locations, in either Winchester or Louisville. Candidates must pre-register for the classes and then test to get the certification, and testing is done on a fixed schedule.

After the losing the two employees, Stone said, the city fire department has 19 firefighters. While finding candidates to add to the force is a priority, he said the more than 20 members of Berea’s volunteer fire department give the city a sufficient amount of manpower to manage any emergencies.

Seth Littrell can be reached at slittrell@richmondregister.com or 624-6623.