Excerpts from the journal-topics.com:

The Des Plaines Fire Department has begun the process of hiring 10 new firefighter/paramedics to bring up-to-date its staffing levels.

To do that, the department will implement a new physical ability test for candidates that’s deemed fairer than the previous exam, addresses potential legal challenges, and possibly open the door for more women to join the force. The Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT), is used by nearly every suburban fire department. It’s a nationally accepted exam of a candidate’s physical ability to perform job tasks related to firefighting and it’s a certified test unlike the one previously used by the city.

The physical ability test, for example, takes into account pulling a hose by hand that’s filled with water and climbing a ladder with a hose. In some instances, females may not be able to perform the same physical exercises men do, but are otherwise qualified. The CPAT test is designed to make the exam fairer for every applicant no matter their gender and to remove any charges of discrimination. If it’s determined that the new test is not working satisfactorily it can always return to the former test as long as it becomes certified.

The deadline to become a Des Plaines firefighter/paramedic is March 17. Other exams such as written and psychological tests will be given to candidates. Those accepted by the Des Plaines Police & Fire Board of Commissioners are placed on an eligibility list with their test results. When the department wants to hire someone they choose from that list, which is good for two years.