Category: CPSE Exchange

CPSE Learning Opportunities

Quality Improvement Workshops

Quality Improvement through Accreditation - Virtual Delivery

On Demand Webinars

Resource Documents

At the Center for Public Safety Excellence® (CPSE®) we are excited to bring you the latest learning opportunities to advance your department and career.
CPSE is looking for agencies to host the Quality Improvement for the Fire and Emergency Services workshop in 2022. If you are interested in hosting a 2022 workshop, contact Debbie Sobotka, CPSE COO, 

Quality Improvement for the Fire and Emergency Services Workshop – 3 Days, In-Person

December 6-8, 2021 – West Point Fire and Emergency Services, West Point, NY (DoD ONLY) – Click here for registration and additional information

January 12-14, 2022 – Perrysburg Fire Division, Perrysburg, OH – Click here for registration and additional information. 

January 18-20, 2022 – Seminole County Fire Department, Sanford, FL – Click here for registration and additional information. 

January 24-26, 2022 – Henrico County Division of Fire, Henrico, VA – Click here for registration and additional information 

February 2-4, 2022 – Springdale Fire Department, Springdale, AR – Click here for registration and additional information

February 22-24, 2022 – Temple Fire & Rescue, Temple, TX – Click here for registration and additional information

April 19-21, 2022 – Marysville Fire District, Marysville, WA – Click here for registration and additional information

Quality Improvement Through Accreditation Virtual Delivery

DoD ONLY – This virtual delivery is for Department of Defense personnel only and will be offered over 8 sessions of 2 hours each. Registration includes a copy of the new CPSE Quality Improvement for the Fire and Emergency Services publication. January 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 19, 21 & 24. 1100-1300 hours Eastern. Click here for registration and additional information.

On-Demand Webinars and Resource Documents
We encourage you to take the time to access these free resources in the CPSE University:
On-Demand Accreditation Videos

Writing the Four-Part Answer – A webinar explaining development of the four-part answer for the self-assessment manual.
Performance Statements – A webinar explaining development of performance statements.
Creating a Strategic Plan – A webinar explaining the creation of a community-driven strategic plan.
Developing Strategic Plan Goals and Objectives – A webinar explaining how to develop effective goals and objectives for a strategic plan.
Tech Writing 101 – provides an overview of the Advanced Technical Writing Certificate Program at George Mason.

Resource Documents

Annual Appraisals – A handout to assist with developing annual appraisals.
Critical Tasking – A handout to aid in conducting critical tasking for all emergency response types.
Engaging Stakeholders – A handout explaining how to engage stakeholders in the CRA/SOC process.
Fire Department Strategic Plans and Community Master Plans: Are They The Same? – A handout comparing and contrasting fire department strategic plans and community master plans.
Performance Statements – A handout outlining how to develop performance statements.
Writing the Four-Part Answer – A handout explaining development of the four-part answer for the self-assessment manual.
Completing the Designation Application – Learn tips on completing the designation application for CFO, CTO, CEMSO, FM, or FO
21st Century Fire and Emergency Services White Paper – Handouts and videos on the critical issue areas. 

For questions or assistance contact or 703-691-4620.

CPSE Returns to In-Person Meetings

During the last week of September, the CPSE Board of Directors, Commission on Fire Accreditation International, and Commission on Professional Credentialing met in person in Orlando, Florida.
An app was used to verify the vaccination status of everyone who attended.
Returning to in-person meetings was not without its challenges. After extensive research on how to hold safe and engaging meetings, CPSE chose to implement a vaccine mandate for attendees supplemented with social distancing and mask wearing. These precautions did not, however, detract from the team building, information sharing, and decision-making goals of the meeting. 
Joint Board of Directors and Commission Meeting
The week kicked off with a joint Board and Commissions meeting. Many of the attendees were new to the group and/or their role. Having engaged exclusively online for the past 18 months, we were glad to see that the commitment to the CPSE mission and values was strong among members meeting for the first time. 
The focus of the day was primarily to engage with everyone and provide a CPSE orientation for new members and a re-orientation for returning members. This provided a cross-education of understanding corporate matters, such as fiduciary responsibilities, and the customer journeys for accreditation and credentialing. Additionally, information on our support programs such as the technical advisor program and CPSE University were provided.
Chiefs Dongworth (l) and Ford (r)
Each Commission Chair provided an update on the immediate past and near future of their programs. During the CFAI briefing, Chair Dongworth, CFO, thanked Chief Terry Ford, CFO, for his service on the commission as the DoD representative from July 2019 through June 2021.
As the day was concluding, each board co-champion shared updates on their respective area of focus of the CPSE 2021 strategic plan which was unveiled in February.
At the conclusion of the meeting everyone shared their key takeaway. Several of the members shared that it was so awesome to finally meet people in-person, not just via Zoom!
The CPSE Board of Directors met on Tuesday September 28th. This was the first in-person meeting Jeff Pomeranz (City Manager, Cedar Rapids, Iowa) presided over since taking on the role of CPSE President in January 2021. During the full day of deliberations, the CPSE Board reviewed the corporate financials, considered various legal and governance items, and dialogued regarding CPSE’s growth and how best to measure and track it. The CPSE Board welcomed three new members during the meeting: Chief Reginald Freeman, CFO (Oakland, California), Chief Terry Ford, CFO (Tinker Air Force Base), and Dr. Sara Jahnke. To build on a goal to achieve greater alignment among the Board and Commissions, board members joined CFAI and CPC during their meetings.
Likewise, the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) held their business meeting on Tuesday September 28th. Since March 2020, all site visits have been held virtually and virtual hearings will continue through the end of 2021. The commission discussed what hearings and site visits will look like in 2022 with new guidance regarding hearings and site visits being released in the coming weeks. The first set of agencies to achieve accreditation under the 10th edition will meet with CFAI in-person during the 2022 Excellence Conference to held March 22-25, 2022, in Orlando, Florida.
The commission approved the new Annual Compliance Report (ACR) and the peer team report templates, conducted a quality improvement conversation on recent hearings as it relates to the commissioner lines of questioning, and discussed expectations they have as it relates to the self-assessment model and accreditation.
The CFAI Program Director provided the commission a briefing on current accreditation numbers and projections for hearings for the 5 years:

The Commission on Professional Credentialing (CPC) also held their business meeting on September 28th. One agenda item covered at all the meetings is the conferring of new and renewal designations. A total of 42 were honored with the professional designation for the first time and 91 were conferred for another three years with their respective designations. Voting on these 133 designees brought the total of designees to 2,668.

The Commission reviewed a request to align expiration dates of those who hold multiple designations by the Commission.  The Commission decided to survey those with more than one CPC designations to see if it would warrant such a change.  Stay tuned for more information.
A review of the technical competencies for each designation has been in process since July 2021 and the Commission was briefed on the status of this review. All five designation work groups, consisting of peer reviewers for that designation, are recommending additions of new technical competency to align with the current expectations for company and chief officers and recommending the removal of ones that are no longer relevant or are duplicative. The new list of technical competencies will be released at the end of the year and will go into effect in Q2 2022.
In addition, the Commission had a lengthy discussion regarding the current signature requirement for the supervisor attestation statement and the fact that some candidates have difficulties in acquiring such a signature. The Commission voted to eliminate this requirement across all designations.
The CPC plans to roll-out all candidate application updates reflecting the new technical competencies and removing the supervisor attestation statement in January 2022.
Following the two-days of Board and Commission meetings, CPSE held a CFAI Team Leader Symposium with 44 peer team leaders present. The symposium kicked-off with CPSE Board President Jeff Pomeranz welcoming everyone and thanking the team leaders for their dedication and countless volunteer hours to the accreditation process. CFAI Chair Steve Dongworth, CFO, echoed Jeff’s comments.
Chiefs Rollins (l), Dongworth (c) and Mr. Horn (r)
Chief Dongworth took time to recognize a few individuals for their exceptional work. The CFAI “Green Pen Award” recognizes team leaders for exceptional report writing. Congratulations to Assistant Chief Craig Rollins, CFO and Mr. Ken Horn for receiving the 2021 Green Pen Award.
Chief Dongworth also recognized the newest team leader by presenting him with his official appointment letter.  Congratulations to Jason Bonney, CFO, Assistant Chief, Central Jackson County Fire Protection District, Missouri, for joining the growing team leader cadre.
This two-day symposium provided training specifically designed to provide team leaders a better understanding of the 10th edition of the accreditation model and help them manage their teams. Some of the training topics included Consistency in Interpreting the Model, Developing Peer Team Synergy and Conducting Effective Interviews.
Commissioners Lightle (l), Butler (c) and Holland (r). Chief Dongworth (far r), moderator
Members of the CFAI commission also participated. This provided an excellent opportunity for attendees to ask the commission questions and make recommendations for new ideas and different approaches for the future. Chief Dongworth facilitated a Commission Questions session with Commissioners Jesse Lightle, John Butler, CFO, CEMSO, CTO, FM, and Ken Holland.
It was a productive and exhausting week. The message from everyone was clear “so great to meet and network in-person!”

CFAI Welcomes Moriguchi as New Commissioner

The CPSE Board of Directors has appointed Regional Fire Chief Gregg Moriguchi to the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) representing the Department of Defense.
Chief Moriguchi is the Regional Fire Chief for the Federal Fire Department, Navy Region Hawaii, a CFAI accredited agency. He began his career in Fire/EMS in 1991 with the City & County of Honolulu, Emergency Services Department. In 2000, Chief Moriguchi joined the Federal Fire Department and served as Battalion Chief-EMS, District Chief-Operations, and Deputy Chief.
Chief Moriguchi holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration-Finance and a master’s degree in Executive Fire Service Leadership. He is also a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program.

Commission on Professional Credentialing (CPC) and Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal Create Bridge Program

In August 2000, building on the self-assessment model for departments, the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) established the Commission on Professional Credentialing (CPC) Chief Fire Officer (CFO) designation. The designation provides a mechanism for chief fire officers to not only be recognized for their past accomplishments but also provide a roadmap for continuous improvement. As of September 2021, over 1,500 professionals hold the Chief Fire Officer designation, and over the 21 years of the program, 2467 officers have been designated as CFOs.
CFOs go through a rigorous evaluation, both initially and every three years, to obtain and maintain this designation The process looks at the “whole officer” and focuses on seven components that cover the span of an officer’s experience. All applicants, whether candidate or renewal, are reviewed by a team of peers. This review process includes an oral interview. The CPC is the conferring body.
The Illinois Fire Chiefs Association operates the Illinois Chief Fire Officer certification program. An equally rigorous process that includes educational requirements, experience, and professional development.
Throughout its history, CPSE has sought out opportunities to partner and collaborate with other fire service and local government organizations to achieve its mission of leading the fire and emergency service to excellence. As the global organization dedicated to collaboratively improving health, wellness, and safety outcomes in all communities, the opportunity to partner with Illinois was an intriguing one.
Could the Illinois certification and CPSE CFO designation come together in some way?
“In 2013, we developed the Chief Fire Officer Certification training program, a year-long, program that is equivalent to a masters-degree level,” said Jim Dominik, chief administrator for the Illinois Chief Fire Officer Certification Program and a retired fire chief. “We had a Fire Officer III program and we wanted to expand upon that.”
When establishing the program, the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association Education Research Foundation put together a commission to work on identifying the objectives that would be important to be a certified Chief Fire Officer. “We saw the need to develop leaders for the future, so we created this program with standards and objectives that culminated in a state certification,” said Dominik.
Following the successful completion of the course, the candidates’ applications and credentials are submitted to a board of their peers for evaluation where they are awarded full or provisional certification or denied. “It is very rare that someone is denied,” said Dominik, “and if they are awarded a provisional certification, they are given a very clear process to achieve full certification.”
Currently, this is a lifetime certification, but the committee is working on a recertification process. “There are approximately 60 people a year that go through the process, and this number is pretty consistent from year-to-year,” reported Dominik.
Given the similar goals of the CPSE and Illinois programs, is there a possibility of the two working together for the benefit of the professional fire officer?
“The CPSE CFO designation is the standard, nationwide, and it is a well-respected organization,” said Illinois State Fire Marshal Matt Perez. By creating a program that bridges the CPSE CFO designation with the Illinois Chief Fire Officer certification, it would clearly be for the benefit of not only the individual, but the fire service as a whole, and Marshal Perez was a part of the driving force in developing this joint effort.
“Chief Bergsten really led this charge,” said Dominik, “and it is something that we have been working on for a couple of years.” Derek Bergsten was formerly fire chief for the Rockford Fire Department in Illinois and recently took over as chief for the Poudre Fire Authority in Fort Collins, Colorado. Bergsten is very active within CPSE as a designated Chief Fire Officer (CFO), Chief EMS Officer (CEMSO), and Chief Training Officer (CTO) and is the current chair of the Commission on Professional Credentialing (CPC) where he represents Career Departments.
“The idea for a bridge program between Illinois and CPSE came up about four years ago,” said Bergsten. “I talked with Debbie Sobotka, (currently the CPSE Chief Operating Officer, but was in charge of the CPC program at the time) and Jim (Dominik) to see if we could do something reciprocal. Matt Perez (Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM)) facilitated getting things done, and he was a true advocate for both CPSE and Illinois.”
CPSE COO Debbie Sobotka shared “Working in collaboration with OSFM to build this bridge program seemed a natural way to provide a benefit to those that have already gone through a similar rigorous process like the CPC CFO designation”.
In recognizing the high standards provided by the OSFM, the CPSE has allowed a “bridge” program. Once an individual has completed and achieved certification as a Chief Fire Officer with the OSFM, the individual can apply for CPSE CFO using a streamlined application process. In order for graduates of the Illinois program to take advantage, they must file the application with the Commission on Professional Credentialing (CPC) within six months of graduation.
In addition, there are avenues for someone from out of state taking advantage of this certification. “If someone comes from out of state and gets employed by an Illinois department, we have course equivalency,” said Mitzie Woodson, division manager for the Division of Personnel, Standards and Education. “You have to be on a department’s roster, make a request in writing and provide credentials from the other state. In lieu of taking the course you can take a written exam and if you pass it the first time, you can become certified. If you should not pass it, you then have to complete the approved course.”
According to Bergsten, there was a lot of interest in both an Illinois certification and a CPSE designation. “If someone wanted to pursue further advancement in other states, it gave them more flexibility in that the CPSE designation is recognized across the country.”
There was also a great deal of interest within CPSE to pursue a partnership. “What was being done in Illinois resembled a lot of what we were doing at CPSE,” observed Bergsten, “and if we can create this bridge it would be a win-win for both organizations and a major step for the chief fire officer pursuing certification.”
According to Rick Mason, CFO, CPC Program Manager for CPSE, there are currently 52 CFOs that have taken advantage of the bridge program between CPSE and Illinois.
Why should someone get both?
There are a number of reasons, according to Dominik, but probably the most important one is the network that develops. “That network is so powerful and helpful. Not only do they learn so much going through the program, the officers stay connected to each other and the instructors.”
In Illinois, a chief fire officer is not required to be certified and if someone is pursuing this certification it is because they want to improve their professionalism. “The certification program in Illinois is voluntary, it is not mandated for the fire service,” said Mitzie Woodson, division manager for the Division of Personnel, Standards and Education. “If they do use it, they have to be a member of an Illinois fire department to be certified in the state.” Holding such a certification is a benefit to any fire officer that may be looking to move up or move elsewhere within the fire service in Illinois.
It isn’t an easy process, either through Illinois or CPSE, but the benefit to the officer when it comes to professional growth and continuous improvement are significant.
“Nothing worth having is easy,” said Bergsten.
More information on the Illinois Chief Fire Officer certification program can be found here and more information on the CPC Chief Fire Officer program can be found here.
CPSE is continuously reviewing our programs to determine additional opportunities for partnership, collaboration, or prima facie. If there is a program in your state or region that you feel could integrate with one of CPSE’s program, please contact us at

Deputy Chief Joe Schrage of Highland Park receives his OSFM certification and CPSE CFO designation presented by David Hoppe of Elk Grove Village

CPSE Welcomes Dr. Jahnke to the Board of Directors

The CPSE Board of Directors welcomes its newest member, Sara Jahnke, Ph.D.  Dr. Jahnke is the Director and a Senior Scientist with the Center for Fire, Rescue & EMS Health Research within NDRI-USA, Inc., a not-for-profit research firm where she also serves as the Chief Operating Officer. With over a decade of research experience on firefighter health, she has been the Principal Investigator on ten national studies as well as dozens of studies as a co- investigator.  Her work has focused on a range of health concerns including the health of women firefighters, behavioral health, risk of injury, cancer, cardiovascular risk factors, and substance use with funding from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant R&D Program, the National Institutes of Health and other foundations.