In 1986, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) met to develop the concepts and design for continuous improvement of the fire and emergency service. The following year, the IAFC, upon recommendation from its membership, endorsed the development of a voluntary fire and emergency service accreditation program. Then in 1988, IAFC and ICMA signed a memorandum of understanding to begin the development process.
After a decade of hard work and cooperation, in December 1996, IAFC and ICMA executed the Master Trust Agreement, establishing the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) to award accreditation to fire and emergency service agencies and to pursue scientific research and education in the public interest. As the accreditation and research programs grew, the original trust was dissolved and CFAI was incorporated as a nonprofit organization, governed by a board of directors that oversaw two commissions: CFAI and the Commission on Chief Fire Officer Designation.
To reflect its larger focus and its importance to all-hazard response, the corporation's name was changed to the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) in March 2006. CFAI became an entity under CPSE, continuing to assist organizations in making the transition from tactical deployment to strategic response. The name of the Commission on Chief Fire Officer Designation changed to the Commission on Professional Credentialing (CPC), reflecting the diversity of emergency services.
From its inception, CPSE has brought together diverse groups and interests to guide and govern its operations. CPSE has benefited from the support and insight of representatives from IAFC, ICMA, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the Insurance Services Office (ISO) and the Departmentof Defense (DOD). These organizations provide their support knowing that governmental fire and emergency services and stateand local governments must define how communities should evaluate their risks and allocate their resources based upon the missions and objectives of their emergency service organizations.
Today, CPSE is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation and is a primary resource for the fire and emergency profession to continuously improve services resulting in a higher quality of life for communities. CPSE has successfully helped local public safety agencies around the world streamline and improve the services they provide their communities.