Firefighter Exam Extended

From Mayor Bill Finch:

City Extends CPAT Registration for Firefighter Candidates;

Written Exam to be held November 19

Mayor Bill Finch and Fire Chief Brian Rooney and the Civil Service Commission announced today that the City of Bridgeport has extended the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) registration for firefighter recruits to July 29, 2011. Additionally, the date of the written exam for new recruits has been moved from July 25 to November 19, 2011.

“It takes a special person to be a firefighter. They are heroes and role models,” Mayor Finch said. “We’ve made the decision to extend the deadlines for testing to ensure that we are able to find the very best men and women who represent the diverse community they will serve when they join the ranks of the Bridgeport Fire Department.”

Earlier this year, City announced that for first time in its history, the examination process would require all firefighter applicants to possess a valid CPAT certification, issued by the State of Connecticut Fire Academy. The CPAT certification is a practical exam conducted by the Connecticut Fire Academy used to test a candidate’s physical ability to perform a job task-related to firefighting.

“The Bridgeport Fire Department offers men and women outstanding careers,” said Fire Chief Rooney. “I urge all those interested to take advantage of this time extension.”

Candidates interested in applying to the Bridgeport Fire Department can obtain CPAT information from the Commission on Fire Prevention and Control website at and application information from the City of Bridgeport website at and click on the link to the Civil Service Department. A fund has been established to assist qualified Bridgeport residents who wish to apply for a position with the Fire Department, but who may not be able to afford the cost of the CPAT testing. This grant is available on a first-come, first-served basis to approximately 150 qualified residents. To qualify, potential candidates must be a Bridgeport resident, meet financial need requirements and demonstrate involvement in community service

The Fire Department Recruitment Team will initiate new recruiting efforts throughout Bridgeport neighborhoods. To contact the Recruitment Team call 203.337.2068.

The CPAT involves eight events that must be completed in 10 minutes, 20 seconds. The CPAT process is used in the selection of firefighters in participating fire agencies throughout the United States, Canada, and the State of Connecticut. CPAT testing has been adopted by 41 paid professional fire departments in the State of Connecticut, including New Haven, Stamford, Waterbury, Stratford, Milford, and Westport.

CPAT test cost $150. In addition to the CPAT fee, the cost for the written examination is $135 for non-residents and $35 for Bridgeport residents.

Candidates who are interested in applying to the Bridgeport Fire Department must have valid CPAT certification dated June 1, 2010 or later before they can take the written examination to be conducted by the Bridgeport Civil Service Department on November 19, 2011 at Central High School.

David Dunn, Personnel Director, said “The planned examination process includes a written examination, oral examination, psychological evaluation, as well as a thorough background investigation.” Dunn further explained, “First, candidates must pass the physical ability test (CPAT test). Then they may apply to the City and show proof of CPAT certification for the written examination. Those who pass the written examination may proceed to the oral examination. Candidates will then be screened through psychological evaluations, and background investigations.”



  1. The triangle of hate: Rooney … Satan himself, Dunn the Snake and Finch the “village idiot.” I guess your racist idea hasn’t worked out. There is no reason for a CPAT, never had it before and don’t need it now. All you are trying to do is get around the residence points, so city whites, blacks and hispanics wouldn’t get hired. The three of you are disgusting individuals. Rooney can’t deal with people of color … never did, never could. And none of you would pass a psychological evaluation or for that matter a polygraph exam. None of you would pass questions dealing with race. Dunn should make public the recruitment figures before the extension was announced. Numbers don’t lie, boyz. We’ll see you in court!

  2. Hartford CT had CPAT but got rid of it because they were not getting white, black and Hispanic residents of Hartford.

    The only time a mayor in any city in America can provide jobs to residents of their city is when there are openings in their fire department and police department. That is the one time they can hired a lot of residents. Well, why would Mayor Finch in these hard financial times here Bridgeport CHANGE the requirements to be a firefighter in Bridgeport? Who has $150 to take a test where you have to drive up to the other side of Hartford to take the CPAT exam?

    I have been unable thus far to find any backing science or scientific correlation to the task and tool specific drills the CPAT requires to be any more indicative of job success predictability than any other basic agility tests such as a single bench press or pushup or vertical jump or mile run.

    There is no reason a Fire candidate should be required to complete skilled events with specific tools to simply prove they are physically fit to be considered a qualified candidate to be TAUGHT the skills of the job. The CPAT organizers have no science to back their claim this is the only and best indicator of future job success however statistics clearly show the same test has a disparate impact on minorities and women for a number of reasons.

  3. The first part of CPAT is to walk on a Stairmaster for 3 minutes at one step per second, without touching the handrail. I know this doesn’t sound hard but if you do the math this is equivalent to walking up a 12 flights of stairs in 3 minutes. As a firefighter for over 20 years I can assure you that walking up 12 flights of stairs was never a part of my routine in those 20 years. It’s not something that we do as fire fighters nor is it an indication of an individual’s ability to be a fire fighter.

    I have a letter from Mayor Finch saying “We acknowledge that the cost of $150 could create a barrier for some, particularly, our own residents, and potentially create disparities in the applicant pool.” My question to the Mayor, if you know the cost is prohibitive for city residents and it would create disparities why in the world would you proceed with this asinine test? It appears that the well being of the residents of Bridgeport is of secondary importance to the Mayor as opposed to his convoluted sense of what is right.

    Mayor, you know that all the cities that you proclaimed use CPAT, not one has hired very many Blacks, Latinos or Women in the last ten years. In fact, Stamford which uses CPAT has hired 4 Blacks, 5 Latinos, NO Women and 76 white males from 2000 to 2010. Come on Mayor, Bridgeport is better than that!!!

  4. Look at the situation from Dunn’s point of view. His objective is to winnow out as many applicants as quickly as possible. If you seriously want to be a firefighter, you’ll take the CPAT. Why should he test applicants who can’t pass it?

    He’s using the applicants to cut his workload and costs. Definitely a smart decision.

  5. LowLevel, so this is about David Dunn “to cut his workload and costs. Definitely a smart decision.” Are you kidding? What about the residents of Bridgeport? What was the need for the City to get rid of the exam they have been using successfully?

    DonTito has it right when he said, “Dunn should make public the recruitment figures before the extension was announced. Numbers don’t lie, boyz. We’ll see you in court!”

    What are the numbers Mayor Finch, David Dunn, Chief Rooney? How many Bridgeport residents have taken CPAT and what is the pass/fail rate and what is the pass/fail rate for females? How many out-of-towners have taken CPAT and what is the pass/fail rate and what is the pass/fail rate for females?

    Those who have taken and passed CPAT in Connecticut are almost entirely volunteers who are out-of-towners from small towns. Bridgeport residents pay taxes here, they shop here, they live here, their families live here, this is their community where they will serve because they care about where they live. Why is Mayor Finch more concerned about hiring out-of-towners to be firefighters than those Bridgeport residents who live here and who can help Bridgeport? This is just another issue Bridgeport voters need to think about, the mayor wants to outsource firefighter jobs to out-of-towners.

  6. Mr. Mackey:
    I said–looking at the situation from Dunn’s point of view there were reasons to make the decision.

    In terms of what is right for the city, I think it would have been better to seek to increase the applicant pool. Welcome all entrants, even if it costs a bit extra. Maybe some of them will be Bridgeport residents.

  7. One would think Finch, Dunn and Rooney would want to know why Hartford the state capital which has a population almost the same as Bridgeport and a fire department also nearly the same size got rid of CPAT. Second, is there a problem with Bridgeport firefighters performing their job? If not then why the change to CPAT? If there is a problem, what are Finch, Dunn and Rooney doing about that? Third, if CPAT is so good then current firefighters should have to pass CPAT.

  8. I firmly believe this firefighter exam should be for Bridgeport residents only. I also believe the oral part of this exam is bullshit and a way to exclude people from the job as the oral is subjective. If the oral is job related then the Bridgeport candidates are at a disadvantage as they do not have access to volunteer departments.
    No one will convince me there are not enough qualified residents in Bridgeport interested in this job.
    Years ago the job was only open to Bridgeport residents and we were able to put together a great fire department. Putting candidates through an agility test after they have passed the written portion of the exam is the way to go.

  9. Bridgeport has never had a problem getting residents to take the firefighters exam. They’ve averaged around 1800 applicants. Now you insert a bogus CPAT, a fire department run by a high-school graduate (Rooney), a fake provisional personnel director in Dunn and the “village idiot” as mayor and you’re bound to have a mess.

    Do you really believe Rooney cares about Bridgeport? He doesn’t live here; he lives in a house in Monroe with a net assessment of $270,760.00 dollars, several take-home vehicles, a pension worth 75% of his pay and health benefits ’til he dies. Legal fees paid to John Bohannon on his behalf in excess of $850,000.00. Now really, care?


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