2016 Year in Review

2016 was a tremendously busy yet successful year for the Center for Public Safety Excellence. Here are some of the highlights.

CPSE staff visited with eleven consortiums during 2016 and enjoyed learning firsthand the benefits agencies and individuals garner from accreditation and credentialing and some of the challenge they face. To support the consortiums, we developed a consortium toolkit and launched the State and Regional Consortiums webpage.

Consortium States Represented Month Visited
Arizona Accreditation and Credentialing Consortium Arizona January
California Fire Rescue Accreditation and Credentialing Consortium California May
Florida Association for Fire Accreditation and Professional Credentialing Florida September
Georgia Association for Fire Accreditation and Professional Credentialing Georgia February
Great Lakes Fire Accreditation Managers Illinois and Wisconsin July
The Heart of America Accreditation Consortium (Task Force of the Heart of America Fire Chiefs) Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska September
Iowa Consortium Iowa and South Dakota October
Michigan-Ohio-Indiana Consortium Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana May
Rocky Mountain Accreditation and Professional Credentialing Consortium Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Utah October
The Tennessee Fire Credentialing and Accreditation Consortium Tennessee April
Virginia State Fire Accreditation and Credentialing Consortium Virginia January

CPSE’s annual Excellence Conference, held in March 2016 in Orlando, FL, offered attendees multiple education and networking opportunities. A highlight of the conference, was the introduction of the Accreditation Bootcamp.

Accreditation Bootcamp Session at 2016 Excellence Conference

Later in the year, CPSE held its final Annual Awards Banquet. Held in August 2016 in San Antonio, TX, the event gave us the opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of accredited agencies and credentialed officers. The event also marked the 20th anniversary of CFAI. A video highlighting the history of the organization featuring Chief Ronny J. Coleman was debuted at the banquet.

2016 Annual Awards Banquet in San Antonio, TX


In September, the Technical Advisor Program reached an impressive milestone. TAP passed the “100 projects” mark having worked with agencies in over ninety cities across the United States and Canada. Community-driven strategic planning remains the most popular offering, with TAP having enjoyed returning to several previous client fire departments assisting them with their second or third strategic plan.

Commission on Professional Credentialing – Year in Review

It was a year of growth for the Commission on Professional Credentialing (CPC) as we saw a 15% increase in the number of designated officers. The year ended with the total number of designees at 1904: 1204 Chief Fire Officers (CFO), 116 Chief EMS Officers (CEMSO), 116 Fire Marshals (FM), 95 Chief Training Officers (CTO) and 373 Fire Officers (FO).

The Commission designated 238 new officers last year. States that lead the charge for new designees:

  • 46% of all new CFOs come from CO, FL, VA, AZ, TX
  • 47% of all new FOs come from CO, NC, MT, TN, FL
  • 40% of all new designated officers come from CO, FL, VA, NC, TN

The trend for new designees is not surprising when you compare with those states that lead the way with the greatest number of total designees.

FL – 12% VA – 16% CA – 6% CA – 14.5% FL – 13%
NC – 8% FL- 14% FL – 6% FL – 10% CO – 11%
TX – 6% TX – 5% IL – 6% NC – 8% NC – 8%
VA – 6% AZ – 5% MO – 6% CO – 7% AZ – 7%
CO – 5.5% CO – 5% TX – 6% TX & WA – 6% CA – 6%

Other noteworthy accomplishments and changes include:

    • The creation of the Worthington Scholarship in honor of CPSE’s late Board member Mike Worthington. As Mike exemplified continuous improvement and always encouraged others to constantly grow and improve, this scholarship program strives to further the professional development and education of fire officers. Annually, CPC will award up to five scholarship recipients. Recipients will have fees waived for the initial Fire Officer (FO) designation and Excellence Conference registration for the year they are awarded the scholarship.

    • The curriculum was completed for the new Exceeding Customer Expectations workshop. This 8-hour delivery focuses on the knowledge and skills necessary for fire service staff at all levels of the organization to understand methods and gain ownership for exceeding their customer’s expectations.

  • CPC partnered with Firehouse to publish “Credentialing: Your Career Path to Success” supplement which appeared in the September issue of magazine. This piece provided an overview of professional development and credentialing within the fire service and included articles written from the perspectives of labor, Fire Officer Designees, and city management. If you missed the print copy, you can read the articles on-line: www.firehouse.com/magazine/fh/issue/2016/sep.
  • The year saw a lot of changes on the Commission as we wished a fond farewell to Chief Steve Locke, CFO, who completed his term as Chair and Mr. Chris Cotter, CFO following his retirement as City Manager, Summit, NJ. We welcomed Chief Dan Gaumont, CFO, Mr. Jim Hipp, and Chief Gary Weiss, CFO, CEMSO, FM. In August the Commission appointed Reggie Freeman, CFO as Chair and Derek Bergsten, CFO, CEMSO, CTO, as Vice-Chair.

Last, but certainly not least, we want to thank all of our volunteers. Without their tireless effort CPC programs would not exist and be successful. The 213 peer reviewers completed a thorough observation of over 951 professional portfolios to determine whether or not a designation should be awarded. Additionally, we have numerous designees who volunteered to serve on technical working groups and special committees as well as our 11-member Commission who give so much of their time throughout the year.

Commission on Fire Accreditation International – Year in Review

2016 was a tremendous year for the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI). Ever with an eye to continuous quality improvement, there were numerous changes, adjustments, and accomplishments as CFAI sought excellence.

Here are some highlights that occurred in CFAI this past year:

    • Beginning with the March hearings, CFAI began webcasting the Commission Hearings. The live simulcast allows for agency members and interested parties to observe the CFAI proceedings directly from their offices. During the August hearings, there were over 1,300 views of the webcast.

  • In April, the 6th Edition of the CPSE Community Risk Assessment & Standards of Cover Manual was published. The manual serves as a technical guide for fire and emergency service agencies in preparing, constructing, and developing two of the major CFAI accreditation building blocks: 1) the community risk assessment (CRA) and 2) the standards of cover (SOC). Webinars highlighting the significant changes between the 5th and 6th editions were presented in conjunction with the publication.
  • In September, we held the first-ever Team Leader Symposium in Olathe, KS. The event brought together 45 fire officers from across the United State and Canada to receive training on the new 9th edition CFAI accreditation model and the then recently-updated CFAI Policies and Procedures. A Process Recommendations Reports was developed as part of the Reimagining Project, with the need to focus on consistency among agencies, peer assessors, and commissioners being one of the key findings of the report. The two-day symposium was a critical step in achieving this consistency.

Team Leader Symposium in Olathe, KS

  • In a continued effort to support agencies as they prepare the required data and documents to conduct self-assessment and pursue accreditation, in October, we issued a CFAI Accreditation Model Information Technology Specifications document (CFAI IT Spec Sheet). The CFAI IT Spec Sheet is a compilation of the various items needing to be tracked as part of the 9th edition of the CFAI accreditation model.
  • During 2016, we have even saw change on the commission. Chief Bruce Burrell, Ms. Linda Cochrane, and Chief Steve Olson, CFO stepped down from CFAI. We want to thank each of them for their dedicated service. We also want to welcome some new members: Mr. James Bourey, Chief Steve Dongworth, Chief Gary Fredericksen, CFO, and Mr. Steve Riley. Chief Thomas Thompson, CFO, was named CFAI Vice Chair following Chief Olson’s retirement.
  • Other highlights included enhanced Peer Assessor Continuing Education beginning in October to ensure all peer assessors were up to speed on the new 9th edition and the release of a new annual compliance report template that was no longer edition-specific so all agencies were working from one template.

We ended the year with strong growth in the number of agencies achieving and seeking accreditation. Here are the numbers:

In closing, we must take a moment to thank all those that have made this past year such a success; our volunteers. You are the heartbeat of this organization as you embrace excellence every day and then give to others selflessly by mentoring, conducting site visits, and by serving on the commission or working groups. You are what community is all about and we cannot thank you enough for all that you do. We are grateful to be on the same team.

CPSE’s New Communication and Outreach Manager

 On January 30th, Mrs. Alexandria Pallat joined CPSE as our first-ever Communications and Outreach Manager. Most recently, Alexandria worked as an Adjunct Instructor of Communication Studies at Northern Arizona University. With a Bachelors of Arts in English and Masters of Arts in Communication Studies, Alexandria will bring new insight and best practices to CPSE’s communications. With experience in both the government and non-profit sectors, she will oversee CPSE’s communications, consortium outreach, and exhibit coordination. “Alexandria stood out during the recruitment process” shared CPSE CEO, Preet Bassi, “her strategic approach to communications and significant social media experience will be a great addition to the CPSE team.” On beginning her role, Alexandria says, “I am very excited to be part of such a vital organization and their efforts to continually better fire and emergency services.”

Alexandria will be attending the CPSE Excellence Conference and will be connecting with all consortium coordinators over the next two months.

Designees in the News

Chief Blake Hodge, CFO, has been named Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director for Walker County, GA.

Chief Hodge began his fire service career in 1992 as a volunteer firefighter. Over the next 24 years he held positions of increasing responsibility as part-time and full-time firefighter, supervisor, officer in charge, and training officer, and was subsequently promoted to division chief of training of the Gordon County Fire Department in Calhoun, GA. Blake has been the fire and emergency management director of the Garden City Fire Department in the Savannah, GA area for the past two years.

He holds a Master’s of Business Administration and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Organization Management and Leadership with an emphasis in Public Safety. He also earned his Chief Fire Officer (CFO) designation in 2014.

The South Padre Island TX City Council recently announced the appointment of Chief William “Doug” Fowler as the city’s new Fire Chief. Doug is a 35-year veteran of the fire service and served the past 31-years with the Austin Fire Department. During his career in Austin he served in various positions including training instructor, hazardous materials team member, rescue diver, community services captain, fire investigations captain, Battalion Chief, Division Chief, and Assistant Chief over logistics, homeland security and operations.

Chief Fowler holds a Master’s of Public Administration and a Bachelor’s in Fire Administration and was designated as a Chief Fire Officer (CFO) in 2012.

Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr was recently appointed by President Obama to a key administrative post as a member of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council. The council advises the President on the security of the official infrastructure sectors and their information systems.

The council is comprised of a maximum of 30 members appointed by the President from private industry, academia, and state and local government.

Chief Kerr has been the Fire Chief of Austin Fire Department since 2009. She holds a Master’s of Public Administration and a Bachelor’s of Physical Education and Health. She received her Chief Fire Officer (CFO) designation in 2015.

Firehouse World 2017

San Diego, CA

February 7-9, 2017

Visit CPSE at booth #2043 and learn more about accreditation and credentialing.

Register for ‪FirehouseWorld2017 and enter promo code CPSE50 to receive a $50 discount off the 3-day conference package or free exhibit hall admission.‬‬‬‬‬

Upcoming CPSE Workshops

CPSE has several workshops scheduled for the next few months. 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 14, 2017
Quality Improvement Through Accreditation
Goodyear, AZ

March 03, 2017
Exceeding Customer Expectations
Sarasota, FL

March 07, 2017
DoD Only: Quality Improvement Through Accreditation
Okinawa, Japan

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
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