About CPSE

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the accreditation model apply to volunteer fire departments?

Absolutely! The model applies to any professional fire department that provides emergency services to a community. If you are interested in assessing your organizational performance and community risk then the effectiveness of this model is blind to which departments are career, volunteer, or combination.

Click here for more information on agency accreditation.

How do I get access to the tools, templates, and newsletters from CFAI?

To get access to the tools, templates, and newsletters from CFAI, you must become a Registered or Applicant Agency and designate an accreditation manager who will be provided with a user name and password to our SharePoint site.

Click here to apply to become a Registered Agency.

We are a Registered Agency. What is the best way to prepare for Applicant Agency status?

We recommend that the accreditation manager, fire chief, and at least one other person who can succeed the accreditation manager when necessary, first attend the Quality Improvement Through Accreditation (QITA) Workshop. Then, the accreditation manager (and any others) should attend the CFAI Peer Assessor Workshop to become approved as a CFAI peer assessor.

The accreditation manager should conduct a site visit as a new peer assessor and gain the experience necessary to clearly understand how the peer assessment process works.

While the accreditation manager is waiting to be assigned to a peer team, he or she can begin developing their own internal accreditation team and begin going through Section 5 of the current Fire and Emergency Services Self-Assessment Manual (FESSAM).

Once Section 5 is completed, the internal accreditation team is able to determine if they are ready to move forward as an Applicant Agency or if they need assistance from our Technical Advisor Program (TAP).

Click here to learn more about the steps involved in agency accreditation.

Once you are an Accredited Agency, what is the benefit of remaining accredited?

The Fire and Emergency Services Self-Assessment Manual (FESSAM) receives an edition update every three years. Every updated edition contains new performance areas for measurement. Also, new processes that your agency created as a result of its first assessment continue to mature and are met with higher levels of measurement that result with each new assessment completed. This is a very dynamic process that continues to evolve—and you will see evidence of that with every in-service training webinar, workshop, or conference attended.

Click here to learn more about the benefits of accreditation.

Are designation and certification the same?

No. Certification is one component in the designation process. Certification is recognition of meeting a specific professional qualification standard. Certification is useful in measuring accomplishments that can be used in the process of verifying professional competence. Designation considers broad professional accomplishments and recognizes lifelong career excellence and achievement. These achievements are verified and validated through a third party peer review process.

Click here to learn more about our Chief Fire Officer (CFO), Chief Medical Officer (CMO), or Fire Officer (FO) designation programs.

What is the model for designation?

The designation model is designed to assist in the professional development of emergency service personnel by providing guidance for career planning through participation in the program. The designation programs specify minimum eligibility requirements, in the form of academic achievements and practical experience. The programs also look at what contributions the individual has made to the industry in the way of professional articles, teaching, and public speaking. In addition, professional memberships and community and civic involvement are assessed.

Achieving the designation demonstrates that you have developed a strategy for continued career improvement and development. When you earn one of these prestigious designations you gain distinction and recognition in a growing group of your peers.

Click here to learn more about our Chief Fire Officer (CFO), Chief Medical Officer (CMO), and Fire Officer (FO) designation programs.

Is there a deadline to submit my application for designation?

No. The Commission on Professional Credentialing (CPC) accepts applications for designation throughout the year. Individuals who wish to be recognized during the annual awards ceremony held during Fire Rescue International should generally submit their application prior to May 15th.

Click here for more information on applying to our Chief Fire Officer (CFO), Chief Medical Officer (CMO), or Fire Officer (FO) designation program.

Why should I implement a mentoring program in the department?

As you consider the fast pace of change in our world, it's critical that time is taken to develop and mentor current and future fire service leaders capable of meeting these challenges. Past successes and failures can often be traced to how seriously those in charge took the challenge of developing leaders. The success of the fire service depends on how well we accept the responsibility of mentoring subordinates.

Click here for information on becoming a mentor or protégé.