Keynoters Highlight 2014 Excellence Conference

This year’s Excellence Conference (March 10-13, 2014 at the Green Valley Ranch Resort in Henderson, Nevada) promises to deliver inspiration, education and interconnections like no other. Conference sessions cover a wide variety of topics, from agency accreditation tips to the value of professional credentialing and a host of general topics to prepare you and your department for the challenges of the future. However, the highlights of the conference are the keynote presentations.

This year’s conference opens with a rousing presentation of the colors by the Henderson Fire Department color guard and a welcome message from the mayor of Henderson. Monday’s keynote presentation by Ernest Mitchell, Jr., Administrator of the U.S. Fire Administration, will focus on the state of firefighting and fire prevention in the U.S. Mr. Mitchell is responsible for managing the U.S. Fire Administration as well as the programs and training activities of the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Continuing the theme of advancing the fire service, our keynote presentation on Tuesday, March 11, will be delivered by Grant N. Lupton, AFSM, B.GS, FIFireE, FAIM, international president of the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE). Mr. Lupton joins the Excellence Conference as a result of the U.S. branch of IFE general meeting on Sunday evening, March 9, which has been co-located with the Excellence Conference. Many members of the IFE and all conference registrants are invited to attend the IFE meeting. Mr. Lupton will update attendees on the international firefighting profession.

The closing general session, on Thursday, March 13, features a keynote presentation from Bill Metcalf, CFO, this year’s president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. Chief Metcalf will emphasize the importance of agency accreditation and the critical career paths of those officers who choose to pursue professional credentialing. Come prepared for a rousing conclusion to the morning program also featuring a welcome from Peter Mulvihill, Nevada State Fire Marshal.

Afterwards, many conference attendees will enjoy a full-day seminar delivered by Alan Brunacini entitled, “The Company Officer: Success or Failure For Your FD In The Firehouse And On The Fire ground.” This program will focus on the company officer role in responding to operating in the IDLH atmosphere in Mrs. Smith’s house and our dayrooms. Managing today’s resources are more challenging than ever before with new issues arising from technology to managing a very diverse work force. Chief Brunacini will remind attendees that risk is everywhere, and if we don’t get in front of it and manage it, it will certainly manage us.

You can still register for the conference. To register, click HERE. Unfortunately, the Green Valley Ranch Resort is completely sold out during the week of March 10. However, sleeping rooms are available in hotels nearby. For alternative hotel suggestions, contact Jessica Yankovitz at

Technical Corner

What are the most important measures when evaluating a department’s activities for accreditation?

Answer: To know whether any measure of a department’s activities are appropriate, we must consider both validity and reliability of the data being considered. Validity and reliability are necessary to provide an estimate of the degree of error whenever we take measurements in an organization. Validity refers to the degree to which a measure or indicator actually does what it proposes to do. Reliability refers to the degree of consistency or dependability with which those results will be obtained each and every time there is an application of this measure.

Do you have a technical issue that you want addressed in this column? Please send all suggestions to Tom Mawson, Business Development Director, at

CPSE Raising Funds for NFFF at Excellence Conference

CPSE is once again hosting a fundraising reception on behalf of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) during the Excellence Conference. Again this year, several suppliers of products and services have donated valuable items as door prizes for conference attendees who attend the fundraising reception set for Wednesday evening, March 12, at the Green Valley Ranch Resort outdoor pool deck. (In case of rain, the event moves indoors to Estancia Ballroom F-G). Here is a sample of the prizes available:

  • Hex-Armor has donated pairs of extrication protective gloves.
  • Kappler has donated two Responder ID Kits.
  • AMKUS has donated a soft briefcase with branded hats and t-shirts.
  • W.S. Darley has donated a model fire truck and a variety of safety gear.
  • Firefighter Hired is donating 3 separate software packages with 50 licenses each. Each software package is valued at $1000.
  • The Green Valley Ranch is donating a dinner for two at any hotel restaurant (a $200 value).
  • Grand prizes from CPSE include two $500 Mastercard gift cards.

More prizes are still arriving at the CPSE as this is being written. Admittance to the fundraiser is a $20 donation to the Foundation. Additional raffle tickets are available for $5 each. All funds collected go straight to the NFFF general fund to help families of fallen heroes.

CPSE’s Fire Sprinkler Contractor Accreditation Program Appealing to Installers

In August, CPSE launched its “Residential Fire Sprinkler Contractor Accreditation Program” (RFSCAP) during the Fire-Rescue International Conference in Chicago. At the launch event, we recognized three companies who had successfully completed the beta test and achieved company accreditation. The program was developed in cooperation with the National Fire Sprinkler Association, American Fire Sprinkler Association and the International Code Council.

At the present time, five companies are participating in the accreditation program, uploading documents and samples to their respective Sharepoint sites.

CPSE staff member Tom Mawson, Director of Business Development, has presented the RFSCA program to chapters of both NFSA and AFSA throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

Information about the program is available on the CPSE website. Simply click on the “Fire Sprinkler Accreditation” button at the top of the home page.

Tom Mawson explained the Residential Fire Sprinkler Accreditation Program to members of the Virginia chapter of the American Fire Sprinkler Association on January 14.

Peer Assessor Continuing Education 2014

Peer Assessor Continuing Education is required for all peer assessors annually. Peer assessors are reminded that they must have 2 hours every calendar year of peer assessor continuing education (CE) modules offered by CFAI. Peer assessors can acquire the necessary hours through participation in quarterly peer assessor CE scheduled training or by attending the class held during FRI each year. The next scheduled peer assessor training will be on April 24, 2014 and will feature Chief Ernst Piercy who will discuss report writing and the technical review process. If you have not received notice of the webinar, please contact CFAI Program Manager, Karl Ristow at

CFAI Planning Dates

Are you seeking accreditation, re-accreditation, or do you need to submit an annual compliance report (ACR)? If so, the following dates will help you for planning purposes in 2014.

1. Document uploads – If you are looking to come before the commission in August (FRI) or next March (at the 2015 Excellence Conference)
a. August – 31 March all required documents must be loaded
b. March – 30 September all required documents must be loaded

2. ACR Due dates – These dates are based on your accreditation month
a. 15 February
b. 15 July

If you have any questions, please contact CFAI Program Manager, Karl Ristow at

News About CPSE People

Gary E. Curmode, fire chief of Sedgwick County Fire District 1, Kansas completed the Executive Leaders Program at Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security on Feb. 7, 2014.

The goal of the Executive Leaders Program is to enhance senior leaders’ capacity to develop policies and strategies and while strengthening working relationships across the jurisdictional boundaries of regions, agencies, local-state-tribal-federal governments and the private sector. Students study the interdisciplinary concepts that comprise homeland security.

Gary was chosen because of his extensive experience and recognized leadership in the disciplines that comprise homeland security. Gary resides in Wichita, Kansas.

Participants met for four one-week intensive sessions over a nine-month period at the NPS Center for Homeland Defense and Security in Monterey, Calif. The 30 participants represent a snapshot of homeland security across the country and include professionals from the Department of Homeland Security, and agencies within it, as well as emergency management, the military, law enforcement, fire safety, state and municipal governments, public health, and the private sector.

The Executive Leaders Program was launched in August 2006. It is part of a series of graduate and executive level education programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), National Preparedness Directorate, FEMA, and developed and conducted by the NPS Center for Homeland Defense and Security.

CFAI Hearings at the Conference

On March 10 and 11, 2014 the CFAI Commission will meet to hear 31 agencies being recommended for re-accreditation, accreditation, or deferral. The hearings are scheduled to start at 0945 hours each day and finish by 1800 hours. If you are attending this year’s conference you are strongly encouraged to sit in and experience the commission hearings first hand. Those that have attended in the past find it extremely rewarding and learning experience. Plan now to join your colleagues and see how the Commission hearings are conducted and cheer on fellow agency accreditation managers.


By Deputy Chief Norris Croom, CFO, CEMSO

From Webster’s Dictionary, we find that “champion” can be defined as, “a person who has defeated or surpassed all rivals in a competition, esp. in sports.” And while all of our designated chiefs and fire officers could be considered as having “surpassed all rivals” by obtaining a CPC designation, this definition of champion is not what this article is about.

There are two other definitions of “champion” from Webster’s; the first as a noun that states, “a person who fights or argues for a cause or on behalf of someone else”, and as a verb, “support the cause of; defend.” Synonyms for the noun include advocate, proponent, promoter, supporter, and defender, while the verb synonyms are the same with advocate, promote, support, and defend.

So, why are we having an English lesson in the CPSE newsletter? It’s because each of you can be a champion for the Commission on Professional Credentialing (CPC), the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI), and the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) as a whole. Each and every designee and accredited agency completed a significant process to achieve a successful outcome, and who better to “argue for a cause” than those who have already obtained it?

Although the CPSE has existed in one form or another since 1997, there are less than two hundred accredited agencies out of an estimated 30,000 fire and EMS agencies. There are less than one thousand designated Chief Fire Officers (CFO), and even much smaller numbers for the EMS, Training, Fire Marshal, and Fire Officer designations.

These numbers present significant challenges for the CPSE. Just like our own organizations, the CPSE has to conduct cost-benefit analyses on every program every year, and, inevitably, the question is when is it enough. We have a number of processes to evaluate the programs, and we also understand that we have a fairly narrow audience. While there are a number of chief officers, not every chief is in EMS, training, or serving as a fire marshal, so we know that the smaller designation groups will have smaller numbers.

Collectively, we know the value of accreditation and designations. If you review the ICMA 20 Questions to Ask Your Fire Chief document, you’ll find that the accreditation process will help you answer the majority of these questions. Couple this with having designated members in your organization and you have both the expertise and the data to keep moving forward. But, the times have changed and we are not going back. My personal concern is that if the CPSE isn’t there to maintain the designations and accreditation, then who will?

This is where you come in. You personally know the value of accreditation and designation, and you can speak intelligently about each. You are our “champions”, supporting the cause to continue to improve our profession, both from an agency perspective as well as an individual. If each designee found just one other person to mentor through the designation process this year, our numbers double. If each accredited agency encouraged just one other agency to seek accreditation, our numbers double. It really is that easy.

While the issue here is somewhat about the CPSE, the bigger issue is about the fire and EMS profession as a whole. We have to continue our hard work and efforts to move our profession forward, and the challenges and changes that we are currently experiencing will not become any easier. Accreditation and designations will help provide the professional recognition that we have been striving for while also making each one of us that much better. There is no greater cause than to serve our fellow human beings, and we have chosen to be in the greatest profession on earth. You’ve taken the first step. Now, I’m asking that you take the next one and be our “champion”

Norris W. Croom III, EFO, CEMSO, CFO, is the Deputy Chief of Operations for the Castle Rock (CO) Fire and Rescue Department. He currently serves as the International Association of Fire Chiefs EMS Section’s Director at Large and International Director, and also as the Vice Chair and EMS Representative on the CPSE Commission on Professional Credentialing (CPC).

Upcoming CPSE Workshops

CPSE has several workshops scheduled for the next few weeks. Register today to reserve your seat at the workshop that meets your needs. Please pass these dates and locations on to your colleagues at adjacent fire departments to help us promote attendance at all workshops.

For course details and registration, go to:

February 24, 2014
Data Analysis & Presentation Using Excel
Northglenn, CO

February 25, 2014
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Rogers, AR

March 05, 2014
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Bellevue, WA

March 24, 2014
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Glendale, AZ

March 24, 2014
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Cumming, GA

March 24, 2014
Data Analysis & Presentation Using Excel
Quantico, VA

March 25, 2014
Chief Officer Credentialing…Where Do I Stand?

March 27, 2014
Credentialing: Pathway to Excellence/Nurturing Fire Service Leaders Through Mentoring
Cumming, GA

March 27, 2014
Credentialing: A Pathway to Personal and Professional Excellence
Glendale, AZ

March 27, 2014
When “Suck it Up” Doesn’t Work

March 31, 2014
Data Analysis & Presentation Using Excel
Los Gatos, CA

April 09, 2014
Data Analysis & Presentation Using Excel
Cleveland, OH

April 15, 2014
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Ft. Lauderdale, FL

April 22, 2014
Under the Dust is My Strategic Plan – Why Didn’t I Execute It?

April 23, 2014
Credentialing:Pathway to Excellence/Nurturing Fire Service Leaders Through Mentoring
Univ. of Akron

April 25, 2014
Peer Assessor Virtual Workshop – April

April 26, 2014
Standards of Cover Workshop
Conshohocken, PA

May 06, 2014
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Henrico, VA

May 06, 2014
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Eau Claire, WI

May 12, 2014
Data Analysis & Presentation Using Excel
Montgomery County, MD

May 12, 2014
Technical Competency – Writing to Achieve Designation

May 19, 2014
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Centennial, CO

May 21, 2014
Chief Officer Credentialing…Where Do I Stand?

May 28, 2014
DoD Only-Self Assessment & Community Risk/SOC
Goodfellow AFB, TX