The Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) recognizes the effects our current pandemic is having and that it will continue to impact all of us for longer than what was originally anticipated. We have been analyzing how best to continue to facilitate Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) site visits and hearings in light of travel and/or financials restrictions. The information in this notice supplements the April 2020 notice which detailed the impacts of the cancellation of the August 2020 CFAI hearing cycle.

Site Visits

Where full in-person site visits are not possible, CFAI has voted to allow hybrid site visits.

Hybrid site visits should be used if peer team members are facing travel/quarantine restrictions, are not feeling well, or have risks that prevent them from traveling.

  • A three to six-person peer team will be assigned to each agency based on size and complexity of the organization.
  • A minimum of two peer assessors must travel to conduct onsite verification and validation of agency documents.
  • The remaining one to four peer assessors will conduct their interviews virtually using currently available video conferencing platforms.
  • On site peer assessors may follow up with the agency on any unresolved items from virtual interviews.

On a case-by-case basis, CFAI will consider virtual site visits.

  • Agencies may only request a virtual site visit based on the following:
    • Recent excessive budget reductions due to the pandemic.
    • Travel restrictions as determined by state and/or local authorities.
  • Agencies will submit their request for a virtual site visit, with justification, to Karl Ristow, CFAI Program Director who will confer with the commission chair and vice-chair before rendering a decision.

NOTE: Agencies are cautioned to consider the technological requirements for virtual and hybrid site visits and whether they will be able to facilitate a community tour, walk through of facilities, etc. During our testing of alternate site visit formats, agencies reported challenges with extensive use of video conferencing products.   

Commission Hearings

CFAI has voted to conduct virtual commission hearings through December of 2021. Hearings will be scheduled in monthly four-hour blocks, as needed. Agencies will be notified approximately three weeks before their virtual hearing date and time. The hearings will follow a similar process as in person except they will be conducted through CPSE’s video conferencing products.

After the hearings are completed, CPSE will have the plaques engraved and shipped directly to the agency. Should an agency wish to have a virtual plaque presentation at a staff or council meeting, please contact Karl Ristow, CFAI Program Director and we will coordinate to have a commissioner available to do so.

Given the alternate hearing schedule, adjustments in accreditation dates and corresponding changes in ACR and annual fee due dates are necessary. We have developed a matrix to assist agencies in understanding the new dates. Agencies are encouraged to upload documents and schedule site visits as early as possible to assist with peer team availability.


Below is a matrix to help guide you through the changes:

Current Accreditation Expiration Date

Final Documents Upload Date

Site Visit Deadline

New Hearing Date

Accreditation Expiration Date

Next ACR due date

Next Annual Fee date

August 2020

September 30, 2020

Week of January 11th, 2021

October 2020

August 2025

July 15, 2021; each July thereafter

July 1, 2021; each July thereafter

August 2020

September 30, 2020

Week of January 11th, 2021

December 2020 to March 2021

March 2026

February 15, 2022; each February thereafter

July 1, 2021 (1/2 fee); January 1, 2022 and each January thereafter

March 2021

March 15, 2021

Week of May 24th, 2021

April 2021 to July 2021

August 2026

July 2022; each July thereafter

January 1, 2022 (1/2 fee);

July 1, 2022 and each July thereafter

August 2021

March 15, 2021

Week of May 24th, 2021

July 2021 to November 2021

August 2026

July 2022; each July thereafter

July 1, 2022 and each July thereafter

OPTIONAL August 2021

July 1, 2021

Week of October 25th, 2021

December 2021

March 2027

February 15, 2023; each February thereafter

July 1, 2022 (1/2 fee); January 1, 2023 and each January thereafter


Agencies needing additional time, beyond the additional time built into the matrix above, must follow the policy for extensions outlined in the CFAI Policy and Procedures manual.

Current Applicant Agencies

In April 2020, all current applicant agencies were provided an automatic one-year extension of your status. This extension did not impact an agency’s ability to seek further extensions, if needed. Please contact Karl Ristow, CFAI Program Director to understand how this extension fits in with the matrix above.

March 2022 Agencies and the 10th Edition Implementation

The implementation date for the CFAI 10th edition remains unchanged. Agencies appearing before CFAI in March 2022 will be accredited under the 10th edition. These agencies are required to upload accreditation documents based on the 10th edition no later than September 30, 2021.