Sacramento CPAT Open House Spotlights Recruitment Efforts - 2009

(SACRAMENTO) - California is looking for a few good women (and men) to serve on public safety's front lines. That's the message offered today by lawmakers and fire professionals as they renew efforts to build the next generation of first responders.

At an open house at Sacramento's new Candidate Physical Ability Testing (CPAT) Center, fire service leaders came together to urge women, as well as men, to consider a firefighting career. The open house previews a firefighter recruitment fair scheduled for Saturday, April 25th from 10am to 2pm at the Sacramento CPAT Center.

"California's ever-growing fire risk requires that our state continue to reach out and build the fire service," said Davis Fire Chief Rose Conroy. "Even in tough economic times, we need to be recruiting a new generation of tough, smart and committed young women and men to join our courageous front line firefighters."

The recruitment outreach effort is spearheaded by the California Fire Fighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee (CFFJAC), and sponsored by the CFFJAC's Commission to Recruit Women for the Fire Service. Nationally, it's estimated that fewer than 3% of front line firefighters are women - in California, women account for about 5% of the total ... most of those are concentrated in a few large departments. Much of the decline in the number of female firefighters can be traced to a lack of recruitment efforts following the abandonment of affirmative action programs in 1996.

"We want to teach women that they can do this," said Contra Costa Suppression Fire Captain and Paramedic Lisa Beaty, who co-chairs the Women's Commission. "If they have the drive, determination and believe in themselves, nothing should stand in their way."

The Wednesday Open House also introduced the CFFJAC's new Candidate Physical Ability Testing Center. Located in Natomas, the center offers an opportunity to take the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT), the industry-standard test that proves you're "fit for duty." The CPAT consists of eight elements, geared toward actual firefighting skills, which must be completed within a 10-minute time span. The test is rigorous, but fair, and those who pass receive a card of completion that satisfies most departmental physical ability standards. Since 2005, over 20,000 candidates have taken the CPAT test.

"The CPAT is the gold standard because it is designed around skills that firefighters actually use," said CFFJAC Chair and co-founder Dan Terry.

Those interested in trying their hand at the CPAT and learning more about the profession are invited to attend the first of three California Firefighter Recruitment Fairs, to be held this Saturday, April 25th from 10am to 2pm at the Sacramento CPAT Center. In addition to hands-on tryouts of the CPAT testing equipment, would-be firefighters will also have a chance to meet department recruiters and woman firefighters who speak to the challenges and rewards of the job.

"We are looking to build the next generation of firefighters ... women and men who have the right stuff to protect our state," said Kate Dargan, California State Fire Marshal. "If you have the skill, intelligence and commitment to service, there's a place for you in our state's fire service."

The CFFJAC will hold two more California Firefighter Recruitment Fairs next month - May 2nd at the CPAT Center in Livermore and May 9th at the CPAT Center in Orange. For more information and to pre-register for the recruitment fairs, visit www.becomingafirefighter.org.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE CFFJAC, THE WOMEN'S COMMISSION AND THE CANDIDATE PHYSICAL ABILITY TEST, PLEASE VISIT WWW.BECOMINGAFIREFIGHTER.ORG.

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