I asked Craig "If I wanted to be a Paramedic, how fit would I need to be?". Craig told me that in his program they prepare students to pass the Ottawa Paramedic Physical Abilities Test (OPPAT).
The OPPAT was developed by Drs. Fischer, MacPhee & Sinden, it is a bona fide occupational test that emphasizes the tasks associated with being a front-line paramedic, including:
- lifting/lowering of a stretcher (with and without a weighted mannequin);
- performing CPR;
- walking a short distance while carrying a backboard with a weighted mannequin in place; and,
- loading/unloading of the stretcher from an ambulance (with and without a weighted mannequin).
Craig was a Paramedic for 17 years and said it is a physically demanding job.
The OPPAT is effectively a custom Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE), that is used in the as part of the pre-hire and return to work process for Paramedics.