Volunteer & Combination Officers Section (VCOS) of The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Endorses Designation Program

Chief Timothy Wall, VCOS Chair, has signed a statement of support for the Commission on Professional Credentialing (CPC) Professional Designation Program.

The endorsement states “the position of Chief Fire Officer in a Combination and Volunteer Fire Department is constantly under scrutiny and involves complex organizational management, strategic planning, leadership, personnel management, department operations, training, fire prevention and community relations. The Chief Fire Officer (CFO) Designation recognizes the importance of these qualities and provides a mechanism for Chief Fire Officers to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and equally important develop a plan for their personal and professional growth.”

“The Volunteer and Combination Officers Section (VCOS) of the International Association of Fire Chiefs recognizes the importance of the above qualities for a Chief Fire Officer and hereby endorses, the Chief Fire Officer Designation and encourages all volunteer and combination chief officers to pursue this professional designation.”

“Further, the VCOS encourages the Commission on Professional Credentialing to keep mentoring Chief Fire Officers seeking the Chief Fire Officer Designation and seeking opportunities to make professional credentialing more affordable for volunteer and combination Chief Fire Officers.”

“The VCOS also supports and endorses the other levels of designations including Chief EMS Officer (CEMSO), Chief Training Officer (CTO), Fire Marshal (FM) and Fire Officer (FO).”

CPSE’s Awards Dinner Focuses on 15th Anniversary of CFO Designation

This year’s awards dinner is slated for the evening of August 27, 2015 at the Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, during IAFC’s Fire-Rescue International Conference. During the dinner we will recognize all departments who achieved accreditation or re-accreditation during 2015 and all individuals who have accredited designation or re-designation in the prior twelve months.

The theme of this year’s dinner is the recognition and celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Chief Fire Officer Designation. Another highlight of the dinner is CPSE’s announcement of this year’s winners of the Ambassador of the Year award, the Ray Picard award and the Ronny Jack Coleman Leadership Legacy award and CPSE’s nominee for IAFC Fire Chief of the Year.

The dinner kicks off at 6:30 pm following a photo session and reception from 5:30 – 6:30 pm. Tickets are available now through the CPSE online store. Each agency accredited in 2015 may purchase up to two tickets for $50 each and each individual designated in the prior twelve months may purchase a ticket for $50. All guest tickets are $85 per person. Corporate attendees may purchase a ticket for $120 each. For more information, contact Katie Jones at CPSE at kjones@cpse.org.

Don’t Miss the Final 9thEdition Webinar

Don’t miss your opportunity to learn about the changes coming in the 9th Edition of the FESSAM from the convenience of your desk. CPSE presents its final webinar on the Reimagined 9th edition on August 6, 2015. Sign up for the 90-minute webinar to understand the significant changes between the 8th and 9th editions. All attendees will receive a complimentary copy of the 9th edition of the Fire and Emergency Service Manual (FESSAM) when it is published.

Jerry Nulliner, who led the technical working group that developed the 9th edition, is the presenter. The cost of the webinar is $79. Click here to register.

Call for Presentations Issued for 2016 Excellence Conference

CPSE announces its Call for Presentations for the 2016 Excellence Conference, scheduled for March 14-18, 2016, at the Caribe Royale Orlando resort.

If you have an interesting program idea, the Center for Public Safety Excellence invites you to submit an application for our Call for Presentations. By submitting a program, you can help shape the educational content of the 2016 CPSE Excellence Conference in March, 2016, and promote continuous improvement in the fire and rescue profession. If selected as a conference speaker, you will gain visibility in the industry and contribute to the advancement of your profession. To be considered as a conference speaker, you must complete the abstract application and return it by August 31, 2015.

The Evaluation Process
Members of the Program Advisory Committee will evaluate all proposed programs based on the following criteria: overall quality, relevance to the fire and rescue community, well-defined focus within the program track structure, practical applications of material, timeliness of the topic and speaker qualifications.

To be considered as a speaker, your program must be educational in nature — focusing on solutions. Your presentation material must be original; otherwise, reference your sources. In the case of multiple speakers (limit two speakers per session), each speaker must agree to this submission. Submissions must be complete or they will not be considered by the program committee.

The final program selections and notifications will be made in early September.

Program Guidelines
In 2016, CPSE will offer its first “Accreditation Boot Camp,” providing beginner-level information on the accreditation model and process. Presenters have already been designated for the “Accreditation Boot Camp.”

Therefore, proposals for the 2016 conference should address advanced-level individual or organizational development and improvement issues, or solutions that provide development and improvement in both areas. Presentations should address one of three general tracks:

  • Advanced Accreditation;
  • Credentialing or
  • General Topics/Leadership.

Presentations should be ninety (90) minutes in length of time, including a brief session for question and answer, and should not consist of more than two speakers. Address any questions regarding abstracts to Karl Ristow, CFAI Program Director, at kristow@cpse.org, or call (703) 691-4620, X 204.

Call for Volunteers – CPSE Technology Advisory Group

The CPSE Board of Directors approved a reinvestment plan for 2015 that included information technology research and upgrades. Starting this year and continuing into 2016, CPSE will be researching and procuring multiple IT projects. We are forming a seven-member Technology Advisory Group and are inviting members of the CPSE community to be part of this group.

Group members will be asked to dedicate 1-2 hours per month to review proposals and another 1-2 hours per month for web meetings. We are considering IT projects such as, a website update, automation of the credentialing application, and modification of the self-assessment and peer-assessment process. This group is anticipated to be active through December 31, 2016.

If you are interested in volunteering and have extensive experience purchasing and implementing IT systems, please email Katie Jones, Finance and IT Systems Administrator, kjones@cpse.org, with a letter of interest by July 31, 2015. Selected group members will be notified about a kick-off meeting in mid-August 2015.

Designees in the News

Josh Waldo, CFO, FM, CTO

Deputy Chief Josh Waldo has been hired as the Fire Chief in Bozeman, Montana. Waldo has been with the Oak Ridge, TN Fire Department since October 2007 after working for the U.S. Department of Energy contractor Bechtel Jacobs at East Tennessee Technology Park. He rose through the ranks in Oak Ridge and became assistant chief in November 2011 before being named deputy chief.

Josh holds a Bachelor’s in Public Fire Administration, a Master’s in Safety, Security and Emergency Management, and is designated as a Chief Fire Officer, Fire Marshal and Chief Training Officer through the Commission on Professional Credentialing.

CPSE Staff – Out and About

Here are some of the upcoming events that CPSE staff is attending. If you are at any of these events, be sure to stop by the booth or talk to the staff person attending and learn the latest about CPSE programs and services:

July 27: Arizona Consortium Meeting (Tempe, AZ)

July 29: Exceeding Customer Expectations Workshop (Anaheim, CA)

July 30: California Fire Rescue Accreditation Credentialing Consortium Meeting (Anaheim, CA)

Aug 13: Heart of America Consortium Meeting (Lenexa, KS)

Aug 25-27: IAFF/John P. Redmond Symposium (National Harbor, MD)

Aug 28-29: Fire-Rescue International Conference (Atlanta, GA)

Sept 22-24: CalChiefs Conference (Long Beach, CA)

Sept 23-25: Hazard Zone Conference (Phoenix, AZ)

Sept 28-30: ICMA Annual Conference (Seattle, WA)

Oct 20: Rocky Mountain Consortium (Keystone Resort, CO)

Nov 12-15: Volunteer-Career Officer Section (VCOS) Conference (Clearwater Beach, FL)

2015 Excellence Conference Sessions Now Available as Webinars

If you were not able to make it to this year’s Excellence Conference in Orlando, we have good news for you. Now several of the best 90-minute conference special-topic sessions are available as webinars. We are recording each session, so if you’re not able to attend the live session, you can still view the session at your leisure. Here are the upcoming topics and dates:

August 18: Creating a Perpetual System of Continuous Improvement in the Organization
Many agencies struggle with continuous improvement and sustaining performance when personnel move on, up or out of their organizations. This discussion provides practical tips for creating a culture of continuous improvement focused on the customer and highlighting ways to make organizational change a lasting endeavor.

Presenters: Mike Calderazzo, Senior Consultant, and Marv Weidner, CEO, of Managing Results, LLC

Date and Time: August 18; 1:00 – 2:30 pm EDT


September 9: So You’re Accredited. Now What?…How to Be an Accreditation Rockstar!
Fire departments are embracing the accreditation model. However, many meet obstacles staying accredited because of not considering the process aspect of the model. This session provides participants with solutions to embrace the model as a process and not a project. Information provided will come from outside research, as well as from information found during the re-imagining aspect of the accreditation process.

Presenters: Brian Dean, CFO, Project Manager, CPSE Technical Advisor Program, and Matt Keller, Technical Advisor, CPSE

Date and Time: September 9; 11:00 am – 12:30 pm EDT


September 30: Developing and Improving Professional Development Plans
This session shows how to develop a professional development program that can be implemented within an organization that utilizes CPSE’s designation process as a cornerstone. Examples and success stories are from the Oak Ridge Fire Department’s professional development program.

Presenter: Chief Joshua Waldo, CFO, CTO, FM, Oak Ridge (TN) Fire Department

Date and Time: September 30, 2015; 12:30 – 2:00 pm EDT


October 20: Making the Grade – Performance Management on the Incident Scene
Accreditation leads fire/EMS agencies on a path to performance measurement. However, a large gap exists in measuring outputs on emergency incident scenes and benchmarking them to information available from the NIST fire and EMS deployment studies. This class provides students with the information necessary to begin to measure incident performance attributes that often go unnoticed.

Presenter: Chief Tom Jenkins, CFO, CEMSO, City of Rogers (AR) Fire Department

Date and Time: October 20, 2015; 2:00 – 3:30 pm


November 24: Motivation – The Secret Sauce
This program focuses on the psychology of motivation. Each day we are faced with decisions based on our self-expectancy and our self-motivation. We decide what to do… and what not to do. We decide to be positive… or negative. We decide to be productive… or counter-productive. While some motivation is based on outside influences, more often the motivation that compels behavior is created internally. This program examines the emotions that drive motivation. At the completion of this program you will better understand what drives your highly motivated and your highly unmotivated members.

Presenter: Richard Gasaway, Ph.D., CFO, Chief Scientist, Public Safety Laboratory

Date and Time: November 24, 2015; 11:00 am – 12:30 pm


A Message from the DoD’s CFAI Commissioner

Thomas Thompson, Fire Chief, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

First of all, I want to congratulate those agencies embracing the CFAI model for their organizations. As I am well aware, I know the difficulty involved; not just building the programs, policies, and labor relations efforts that go with implementing those policies and constructing tracking mechanisms for programs for evaluation. While I was instrumental in documenting areas for one of my past departments that achieved accreditation and my current department (Camp Pendleton Fire and Emergency Services just finished our peer assessment and the department is recommended for accredited agency status), I know all too well the pains of selling/implementing change.

It takes a dedicated staff and a determined fire chief to lead an organization through process improvement in line with the CFAI self-assessment manual. Change is difficult for some to adapt; in most cases it’s because of a lack of understanding on where and why you are moving the organization in a different direction than previous chief officers If your folks don’t understand the process, it can lead to a distrust of management and remarks such as, “He’s doing this to put a feather in his cap, We should remain status quo, If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” and hundreds of other personal perceptions that can create animosity throughout your department. Not everyone will get on board with process improvement, however there are so many folks within your ranks that will step up and take on additional responsibilities that can and will create a positive impact throughout your organization through your CFAI journey. Opening up your department to a 360-degree, top to bottom assessment from your municipal/county/DoD fire professional peers can be uncomfortable to some – that’s a natural response. It is human nature for a lot of folks in all industries, not just the fire service to tell themselves “We can be doing it better.”

As your CFAI Commissioner representing the DoD fire service, I challenge all DoD Fire Chiefs to go through the CFAI self-assessment process. Even if you don’t seek accredited agency status (which I hope you will), conducting the CFAI self-assessment, authoring key documents (strategic plan, risk assessment, and standards of coverage) will help your organization justify your requirements for the out years. Tough decisions are being made by your F&ES component heads on a daily basis. Funding initiatives are hard to get in place and as a result, the DoD is accepting more risk than before, given funding levels have dropped dramatically. Along with your installations fire and non-fire risk assessment, ensure you publish your response performance for each fire demand zone/districts to your command leadership.

I author a monthly newsletter with very specific response performance that does just that. My customers deserve to know my department’s response performance! If you are well armed, when those decisions have to be made by your base/installation leaders, you are in a better position not to take those cuts when others may have to. Don’t get me wrong – adopting the CFAI model will not cure all your woes; it will effectively justify your requirements and provide needed information and education to your base leadership. It will also ensure that when you do decide to retire or transfer, you are not taking all that cooperate knowledge with you and your successors are left with empty hands. If we were managing a petting zoo, all of what I have stated wouldn’t matter. Our job and positions as fire service leaders must be coached and mentored to our junior officers to ensure your department is ready for the next generation of the fire service professionals.

While on the accreditation subject, I want to talk a little about the Commission on Professional Credentialing (CPC) Program. I was involved in the re-write of the CFAI Self-Assessment Manual (9th Edition) where we have now included into a non-core competency, change to a specific indicator to include further professional development which contains the mention of professional credentialing.

A Professional Designation is recognition of broad career and educational professional accomplishments. Designations offered by the CPC are internationally-recognized, third-party verification of professional competence in fire and emergency services. While I believe that our DoD Firefighter Training and Certification program is top notch and one of the best in the fire service, why not put yourself in front of peer assessors as we are presently doing for our department as a whole. A 360-degree assessment of you directly aligned to industry best practice!

The Center of Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) CPC assists emergency services officers in their professional development by providing officers with guidance on career planning through participation in the Professional Designation Program. CPC offers several designations, including Chief Fire Officer (CFO), Chief EMS Officer (CEMSO), Chief Training Officer (CTO), Fire Marshal (FM) and Fire Officer (FO). CPC developed these designations using a model that looks at the “whole” officer. Achieving the designation requires a strong educational background, diverse participation in emergency services at the local, state and national level, and demonstrated involvement in the broader community, all validated by emergency services peers.

My message to all DoD Firefighters – take the next step and challenge yourself to go further by embracing your own professional development. Go beyond the DoD level of certification you hold as a fire officer and chase after a professional credential. Whether it may be the Executive Fire Officer program or through CPSE, take some time and go the CPSE web site, and read up on all that is required for each designation level. Further information can be found at www.cpse.org/professional-credentialing/about-credentialing-cpc.aspx.

In closing, if anyone is unsure on what to do or you need some advice on how to get started or further explanation on how the CFAI model can benefit your department, please don’t hesitate to contact me via email at thomas.c.thompson1@usmc.mil.

I look forward to meeting those professionals that will be attending the commission hearings in Atlanta in August. Remember this, “There is no end to Excellence!”

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: www.cpse.org/news/upcoming-workshops-events.aspx.

July 22, 2015
CFAI Peer Assessor Workshop – July 2015

July 30, 2015
Exceeding Customer Expectations
Anaheim, CA

August 03, 2015
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Oklahoma City, OK

August 03, 2015
Data Analysis & Presentation
Manassas Park, VA

August 06, 2015
The Reimagined 9th Edition Webinar

August 11, 2015
DoD Only- Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Ramstein, Germany

August 18, 2015
Creating a Perpetual System of Continuous Improvement in the Organization

August 20, 2015
The First Year As A Newly Promoted Chief Officer

August 27, 2015
2015 Awards Ceremony

September 08, 2015
Technical Competency – Writing to Achieve Designation

September 09, 2015
So You’re Accredited, Now What? How to be an Accreditation Rock Star!

September 14, 2015
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Cary, NC

September 16, 2015
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Auburndale, FL

September 16, 2015
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Mt. Lebanon, PA

September 16, 2015
Data Analysis & Presentation
Marysville, WA

September 17, 2015
Credentialing: A Pathway to Personal & Professional Excellence
Cary, NC

September 21, 2015
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Santa Clara, CA

September 28, 2015
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Cripple Creek, CO

September 30, 2015
Developing and Improving Organizational Professional Development Plans

October 07, 2015
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Henrico, VA

October 19, 2015
Data Analysis & Presentation
Brentwood, TN

October 20, 2015
Making the Grade: Performance Management on the Incident Scene

October 21, 2015
CFAI Peer Assessor Workshop – October 2015

October 26, 2015
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Bowling Green, OH

October 26, 2015
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Minnetonka, MN