Inaugural Mentoring Class Showcases Importance of Developing Internal Leaders

Molding leaders and planning for successions has increasingly become a challenge in the fire service. To assist in taking on this challenge, Riverside Fire Department hosted CPSE’s revamped Nurturing Fire Service Leaders Through Mentoring class on January 26. Instructors for this class were Chief Reggie Freeman, CFO; Chief Jacob McAfee, CFO, CTO; and Chief Josh Waldo, CFO, CTO, FM.

CPSE Deputy Director Debbie Sobotka said of the class, “We had students from different departments and different ranks, making it a diverse and dynamic class.” In mentoring, it is crucial to have a range of knowledge levels present. Instructors of the course will gauge the type of students in the course and work to tailor the message to the audience while also covering the course objectives. The course is open to all levels within the fire service.

Many fire chiefs express the struggle of having been chosen “from the outside,” and they have been seeking a way to assist their department in promoting internally. CPSE’s Mentoring class offers this assistance.

Students learn:

(1) what formal and informal mentoring are and their benefits;
(2) the core elements of successful mentoring programs;
(3) how generational gaps affect perception of leadership and work value;
(4) methods to improve these generational relations; and
(5) the steps involved in evaluating a mentoring program.

The manual designed for the class, Refining Next Gen Leaders: Nurturing Leadership Through Mentoring, can be purchased on CPSE’s website and is a great tool to use as a reference during the mentoring process. CPSE will be scheduling Mentoring classes throughout 2017. Check the website for updates.

Hopefully the mentoring class helps you as you begin to think, “Who will I pass my baton to?”

CPSE’s Education Strategic Plan

How credible would we be if we promoted continuous improvement for the fire and emergency services but never sought to improve ourselves? The answer: we wouldn’t be. In 2015, CPSE embarked on the development of a five-year strategic plan. To address the critical issues and service gaps we found, enhancing our Education offerings was identified as a strategic initiative.

Three specific education goals were identified: (1) assess, analyze, and develop education programs; (2) promote and schedule education programs and services; and (3) evaluate and revise education programs and services. These goals will be the driving force behind our Education Strategic Plan. Education Champions will be brought in to discuss curriculum and the education process of accreditation and credentialing. These Champions will assist us in connecting core competencies for credentialing and accreditation to workshops we already offer, events other organizations in the fire service offer, and guide the development of future educational content.

Our goal is to create a more formal education program. We want to learn what agencies and officers may struggle with so we can develop, or partner with others to develop, the necessary content in an easy-to-access way for everyone in the industry.

We hope you will continue to support CPSE and our mission as we learn how to better serve the fire and emergency service industry.

Want to see what accreditation means? QITA is your answer.

In 2015, CPSE announced a redesign of our accreditation workshop. Quality Improvement Through Accreditation (QITA) is that redesign. These workshops are an excellent way for agencies to gain a better understanding of what agency accreditation is and how to achieve it. QITA spans three days and walks participants through the six building blocks of the Accreditation Model: community risk assessment, goals and objectives, standards of cover, benchmark and baseline standards, strategic planning, and self-assessment.

CPSE engaged a professional curriculum development firm as well as some of the subject matter experts that developed the 9th edition CFAI Accreditation Model to design the new workshop. The CFAI Model is a risk-based model, and the workshop focuses, in part, on one of the cores of the quality improvement process: community risk assessment.

QITA was created as part of our early Education Strategic Plan to ensure the CFAI Accreditation Model continued to show a process toward excellence in the fire service industry. This adjustment was reflected in the movement from the eighth to ninth edition of the CFAI Accreditation Model.

Karl Ristow, CFO, CFAI Program Director says of the workshop, “It is the class for agencies looking to go through quality improvement and self-assessment.”

Workshops are an important way to gain new perspective and enhance understanding of the industry, as well as an opportunity to evaluate your own agency practices. Quality Improvement Through Accreditation allows anyone interested in getting their agency accredited to see what accreditation means and how it can benefit your community.

Visiting the Consortiums

North Carolina
On January 26, CPSE’s CEO Preet Bassi attended the North Carolina Accreditation Support Consortium (NCASC) quarterly meeting in Greensboro, N.C. There were 60 people in attendance, including accredited agencies, credentialed officers, CFAI peer assessors, and representatives from 3 departments previously not engaged with CPSE.

At each meeting, NCASC asks two departments to partner and deliver a training. At this meeting, the training was done by Greensboro and Winston-Salem fire departments on NFPA 1710 and Standards of Cover.

Preet was able to give the NCASC an update on CPSE, including: the 2016 highlights, such as completed projects and achievements; what to look for in 2017; and a debrief of the first set of agencies to use the 9th edition of the accreditation model and the challenges they faced. These updates assist consortiums in staying connected with CPSE.

The coordinators of the NCASC are Battalion Chief Marlene Kostyrka, CFO of Winston-Salem Fire Department and Fire Chief Susanna Williams of Carrboro Fire-Rescue Department.

On Monday, February 13, the Goodyear Fire Department of Goodyear, AZ hosted the Arizona Accreditation and Credentialing Consortium quarterly meeting. The coordinators of the consortium are Michael Walton, CFO, CTO, Battalion Chief at Yuma Fire Department and Jake Rhoades, CFO, CEMSO, CTO, Fire Chief of Kingman Fire.

CPSE’s CFAI Program Director Karl Ristow, CFO attended the meeting to present to the group on the philosophy behind the 9th edition of the FESSAM.

There were 14 members in attendance, representing 10 agencies across Arizona.

The International Association of Fire Fighter’s Affiliate Leadership Training Summit

Have you wondered how the CFAI Accreditation Model could benefit firefighters? CPSE was honored to be invited to present at IAFF’s Affiliate Leadership Training Summit (ALTS) in an attempt to answer this pressing question. Technical Advisor Program Director, Rick Fagan, CFO, gave the presentation on our accreditation program and its connection to firefighters.

The CFAI Accreditation Model helps to facilitate conversations between management of agencies and labor relations to work toward agency quality improvement. The Model is community driven, but allows firefighters and officers to work together to continually improve their service to their community.

So why should firefighters care about accreditation? CPSE’s presentation at ALTS outlined six (6) reasons agency accreditation should matter to firefighters:

(1) it raises the profile of your department through promoting excellence and continuous improvement;
(2) it identifies strengths and weaknesses in order to work through quality improvement;
(3) it allows the voices of all levels of the agency to be present;
(4) it creates a risk-driven response model to accurately measure resource allocation;
(5) it develops a long-term strategic plan; and
(6) it can result in improved organizational effectiveness.

One more way accreditation affects firefighters: IAFF passed Resolution No. 14, which supports the CFAI Accreditation Model.

Agency accreditation benefits and affects all levels of a department, so it is vital for all levels to be involved in the process.

Ahead: The 2017 Excellence Conference

CPSE is preparing for the 2017 Excellence Conference in Garden Grove, California March 21-24. We are excited to be introducing our first-ever Credentialing Bootcamp this year, which will include information on the importance of self-assessment and how credentialing can benefit an individual as well as an agency.

We are also excited that this year’s registration is through the roof! So if you miss us this year, you can put next year’s on the calendar: Orlando, Florida March 13-16, 2018.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the 2017 Excellence Conference.

Fundraiser for the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation

Every year, CPSE holds a fundraiser for NFFF in conjunction with our Excellence Conference. All proceeds for this event go to the Foundation to support their mission “Everyone Goes Home.”

CPSE has worked to incorporate the Foundation’s 16 Fire and Life Safety Initiatives in our credentialing programs and our accreditation model. For more information on NFFF’s 16 initiatives, see their website.

We look forward to seeing our attendees at the fundraiser, and CPSE and NFFF thank you for your support of this cause.

What’s Coming Up: CPSE Workshops

CPSE has several workshops scheduled over the next few months. Register today to reserve your seat at any workshop that meets your needs. Please pass these dates and locations on to colleagues at adjacent fire departments to help us promote these excellent learning opportunities.

For course details and registration, go to:

March 21, 2017
CPSE 2017 Excellence Conference

April 07, 2017
Nurturing Fire Service Leaders Through Mentoring
Shawnee, KS

April 11, 2017
DoD Only: Quality Improvement Through Accreditation
Fort Irwin, CA

April 12, 2017
Quality Improvement Through Accreditation
Greensboro, NC

April 27, 2017
Nurturing Fire Service Leaders Through Mentoring
Centennial, CO

April 28, 2017
Exceeding Customer Expectations
Centennial, CO

May 3, 2017
Quality Improvement Through Accreditation
Roseville, CA

May 8, 2017
Quality Improvement Through Accreditation
Fort Collins, CO

May 16, 2017
Quality Improvement Through Accreditation
Fargo, ND

May 17, 2017
Quality Improvement Through Accreditation
Lansing, MI

May 31, 2017
Quality Improvement Through Accreditation
Cedar Park, TX