Doing the PAT at home
Taking the PAT may seem like a daunting task, but all of the tests involve circumstances that firefighters must face. A candidate who is serious about becoming a firefighter should adequately prepare for taking the tests. You may have an opportunity to practice the PAT tasks during a practice PAT day but it is always a good idea to be over-prepared than under-prepared. This presents the opportunity to practice the PAT tasks at home.
Below are some ideas of how you can practice the PAT tasks at home. This is not an exhaustive list, it has been created to encourage you to think of ways you can train with the resources you have available.
Some of the suggestions in action
Ensure you practice the tasks back to back. Individually the tasks may seem easy, however completed back to back and under time pressure they can be challenging. Ideally, a candidate should be able to maintain a reasonable and acceptable pace as they move through the course and complete all the tasks.
Candidates should also practice stimulating the additional weight a firefighter must carry while on the fireground by wearing a weight vest (or a backpack) and personal protective clothing such as a helmet and gloves (keep your pair from the practice PAT day!)
Please take care when setting up and undertaking training for the PAT at home.
9m Ladder Raise/Lower
Practice with a ladder at home. If the ladder is short, do multiple reps of raising and lowering without putting the ladder down on the ground.
9m Ladder Extension
A weight (DB, KB or Plate) attached to a rope which is hung over a chin up bar to act as pulley. Do multiple reps without the weight hitting the ground to ensure time under tension is similar to PAT.
Stair Climb with High Rise Pack
Practice stair climbs with a weighted vest or backpack while carrying kettlebell or loaded satchel on shoulder. If no stairs are available, consider carrying a kettlebell or loaded satchel while doing steps ups or walking up a hill.
Haul a weight (dumbbell, kettlebell or Plate) up on a rope from landing. A stair well or playground may provide suitable location.
No exercise suggested due to the nature of the task.
Chain Cutting and Descend to Ground
It is difficult to simulate cutting chain. Try to practice cutting chain if available prior to the day. There may be an opportunity to complete this task at the practice PAT day. (6mm light gauge chain is used in the test)
If you are setting up a PAT circuit at home and do not have access to cutting chain, you may like to add 5-10 wide grip push-ups to simulate the time and energy required to cut the chain on the day.
High Pressure Hose Advance and Pull
Drag a sled, tyre, or other significant weight as per the video of task. Try to set up the drag using a pillar or pole like in the test to ensure you get used to the friction created on the day. If possible, use a battle rope to simulate the diameter of the hose.
Equipment Lift and Carry
Simulate with 2 medium bags weighing approx. 6kgs each. This is a good task to practice slowing your breathing and bringing HR down prior to the 50mm hose hold next.
50mm Hose Advance
Simulate with thick band, advance from an anchor and hold for 2 mins total, change position of upper body every 30secs to mimic aiming water at different targets.
No exercise suggested due to the nature of the task. You may like to practice manual dexterity tasks with your gloves on such as opening and closing jars or connecting hose fittings.
Crew Member Rescue
Drag a dummy, person, sled or tyre around a 45 metre course that includes up and down a ramp like the PAT. If using a live person consideration must be given to avoid injury to both of you. There is a risk of dropping the person, as well as selecting someone who weighs more than your ability to safely complete the task. You must complete your own risk assessment prior to attempting this training task.