Save the Date – 2017 Excellence Conference

The Excellence Conference heads west next year. It will be held March 21-24, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Orange County, CA.

Registration opens for CPSE’s 2017 Excellence Conference on Monday October 3rd. Based on attendee feedback, some changes are coming to the conference:

  • The popular Accreditation Bootcamp returns with the addition of a SOC bootcamp, based on the 6th edition Community Risk Assessment – Standards of Cover, and ends with the 101s of Data.
  • A Credentialing Bootcamp will be debuted highlighting the five credentials offered by CPC and how to work through the application process.
  • The inaugural Agency Recognition and Officer Recognition lunches will be held celebrating the achievements of recently-accredited agencies and recently-credentialed officers.

We hope to see you all there! The schedule of events, registration, and travel information will be posted to the Excellence Conference website on October 3rd.

The Benefit is in The Process

Tim Bradley, CFO, EFO, FIFireE
CPC Commissioner

Several States have recently come under attack for the number of “occupational licensures” that are required to practice a specific trade. Doctors, lawyers, and dentists are a few that people commonly expect to have a license before they practice, but many states also require plumbers, electricians, barbers, etc., to practice professionally in their State. The argument for licensing is that consumers are protected from unqualified people because licensure provides the greatest opportunity for a quality job, as opposed to just anyone picking up a pair of scissors and cutting your hair. Opponents contend that licensure inhibits business and protects a select few licensees to charge higher prices, and the public is not protected, only charged higher prices. I’m not here to argue one way or the other, but having participated as a Board member on at least two state licensing boards, I can tell you that the license itself is not the benefit. The benefit is in the process.

Many opponents of licensing offer the option of voluntary certification or credentialing. We know that the process of credentialing works when applied to an individual. The ultimate question would be, if people were not required to become credentialed, in the absence of licensing, would they take the time and effort?

Ask any doctor, electrician, or lawyer what best prepared them to adequately practice their profession, and few would say the paper license they had on the wall. Most would admit, some maybe grudgingly, that it was actually the process that prepared them, from education and apprenticing, to the testing and preparation for the board. Ask any credentialed fire officer what was the greatest benefit in obtaining their CFO, or any of CPC’s five professional designations, and most would say they gained the most professionally from the process and preparation. Yes, the certificate is great, but the experience to do our job is gained most by the process. If you haven’t taken the time and effort to go through the process, you’re missing a great opportunity for your career. Ask anyone who has gone through the process or visit the Commission on Professional Credentialing’s webpage.

CPSE Welcomes New Volunteer Leaders and Officers

The Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) recently appointed a new volunteer leader to its Commission on Professional Credentialing (CPC).

Chief Gary Weiss, CFO, CEMSO, FM, Fire Chief, Germantown, WI joined the eleven-member CPC. CPC is responsible for establishing the requirements and process for gaining CPSE’s five professional designations. CPC meets six times a year to approve new and renewal designation applications. Chief Weiss was nominated by the International Association of Fire Chiefs as an agency head representing combination departments.

Gary L. Weiss is the Fire Chief for the Village of Germantown, Wisconsin. Germantown has a population of approximately 21,000 residents. The Germantown Fire Department responds to the needs of the community from two fire stations. Chief Weiss has over 35 years of fire service experience including retiring from Palm Beach County Fire Rescue, located in South Florida as a company officer and as Deputy Chief and Fire Chief of two other fire departments in Florida before accepting the position with Germantown. Chief Weiss is a member of the Wisconsin Fire Chief’s Association, the International Associate of Fire Chiefs where he serves as the Great Lakes Division representative to the Executive Fire Officer Section, and is a member of the NFPA 1031 Committee.

Gary has a Master’s Degree in Occupational Safety and Health and is a 2002 graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program. He has been a Chief Fire Officer (CFO) designee since 2001 and recently added Chief EMS Officer (CEMSO) and Fire Marshal (FM) to his list of professional designations.

Chief Weiss has been published in Fire Engineering, Florida Fire Service Today, the Wisconsin Fire Journal, Wisconsin Fire Chief Magazine and the Dublin (Ireland) Fire Brigade Magazine. Finally, Chief Weiss has been a speaker at several fire service Conferences and is working on his first book on fire service leadership in a combination fire department.

With this appointment, Chief Steve Locke, CFO, Fire Chief, Burlington, VT has stepped down from CPC. CPSE thanks Chief Locke not only for his many years of committed service to CPSE and its mission but also for his guidance of CPC as its chair from 2013 to 2016. During their August 2016 meetings, both the CPC and Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) installed new officers. Chief Reggie Freeman, CFO, Fire Chief, Hartford, CT was named Chair of CPC and Chief Derek Bergsten, CFO, CEMSO, Fire Chief, Rockford, IL was named Vice Chair of CPC. Chief Thomas Thompson, CFO, Fire Chief, Camp Pendleton, CA, was named Vice Chair of CFAI.

CPSE congratulates these volunteer leaders and officers on their appointments and looks forward to working with and learning from them in the years to come.

Consortium Updates

The State of Florida holds the distinction of being the state with the greatest number of accredited agencies and credentialed officers. Accredited agencies and credentialed officers have found that banding together to form regional consortiums is an effective networking opportunity. Earlier this month they held their quarterly consortium meeting.

Coordinated by Chief Jim White, CFO, Fire Chief, Winter Park, FL, the Florida Association for Fire Accreditation and Professional Credentialing met on September 15, 2016 at Valencia College’s School of Public Safety in Orlando, FL. CPSE staff strives to visit all consortiums in person at least once annually and has developed a toolkit to assist consortiums in planning their activities. CPSE CEO, Preet Bassi, was in attendance and provided an update on CPSE’s programs and an overview of the changes stemming from the 6th edition of the Community Risk Assessment and Standards of Cover publication. She fielded numerous questions from the approximately 35 attendees who represented agencies that were early in their accreditation pursuit and those that were veterans in the process as well as numerous individuals that hold a CPC designation.

Chief White presented on the significant changes between the 8th and 9th edition of the CFAI accreditation model. Two technology firms made brief presentations to the group on how their products could assist agencies in being more efficient and effective. The data theme carried through the meeting, with a web presentation by Chief Scott Avery on data management for an agency’s standards of cover.

The meeting ended with a discussion on the future of the consortium including future meeting dates, topics, and venues.

The South Carolina Consortium held a web meeting on August 26, 2016. CFAI Program Director, Karl Ristow, provided the attendees an overview of the recent CFAI hearings held in San Antonio, TX. He took the opportunity to recognize Mt Pleasant FD for being re-accredited for the fourth time and briefed the group on upcoming deadlines. To close out the meeting, he fielded questions from the group.

Where Did the Performance Charts Go?

During the development of the 9th edition of the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) model, we asked ourselves over and over again… “What is the true intent of the accreditation model?” In the video commemorating the 20th anniversary of CFAI, Chief Ronny J. Coleman states that “self-assessment was the real goal of the program,” and that “accreditation was the reward for performance but that the performance was self-assessment.”

In the 8th edition of the Fire and Emergency Self-Assessment Manual (FESSAM), the table on page 71 became colloquially referred to as the “performance charts.” The tables were, purposefully, excluded from both the 9th edition FESSAM and 6th edition Community Risk Assessment – Standards of Cover (CRA-SOC) publication. This does not mean that agencies are no longer required to track their performance. In fact, quite the opposite is true.

Agencies seeking accreditation will need a minimum of three years of performance data outlining their alarm handling, turnout, travel, and total response time for declared urban and/or rural areas for every service they provide further broken down by risk category within each service. Currently-accredited agencies will be required to provide such data to CFAI each year during the annual compliance report so that at the end of the five-year accreditation cycle, they have the required five years of performance data. The performance chart templates are available on SharePoint for registered, applicant, candidate, and accredited agencies.

The question still remains, however, why was the table on page 71 of the 8th edition FESSAM not included in the newest FESSAM or CRA-SOC? The answer is a simple one, CPSE is not a standard-setting body. There are numerous standards development organizations, such as the National Fire Protection Association, that promulgate evidence-based consensus-built standards that can serve as references for agencies when setting benchmarks. CPSE is interested in agencies seeking CFAI accreditation documenting their community’s unique characteristics, assessing their all-hazards risks, identifying their current deployment capabilities, and setting a target for performance that they will continually work to improve to. In short, the authority having jurisdiction should set the standard for performance for their agency based on the community’s risks, needs, and wants. It’s more than likely that a community will not accept extremely long alarm handling time and demand change, long before an agency pursues accreditation.

CPSE would like for all fire and emergency service agencies to begin down the path of self-assessment and continuous quality improvement. By tracking performance on an annual, or more frequent basis, agencies, during their annual program evaluations, will be able to identify resources, system, and process improvements that will in turn improve their response performance.

TAP Surpasses Century Mark

Since its creation in 2005, CPSE’s Technical Advisor Program (TAP) has offered agencies expert resources in project management and technical support in the areas of self-assessment, community risk assessment-standards of cover, and community-driven strategic planning. Originally born of request by a small number of agencies seeking technical assistance and coaching in their work on the major components of the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) model, TAP has now become a popular option for agencies seeking support in these areas of work.

This year 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.

With the roll-out of the 9th edition of the CFAI model this past year, agencies are beginning to reach out and consider the TAP as a partner option to learn and apply this new model version in their quest to attain or retain an accredited status in application of the self-assessment model. Through the utilization of an approach where expert “facilitation support” is emphasized rather than consulting, TAP has been able to work as a team with departmental members as they learn and apply their own work in the key components of the CFAI model.

Some would say that 100 is only a number. This is true, but it is also a measure of activity where a lot of fire departments have been able to receive help in continuing to improve their services provided in their communities. We look forward to the next project accomplishment benchmark, but the true gratification for us is in knowing that we have been able to help others in many ways become better at applying risk reduction or saving lives and property, which far outweighs the number. By teaching, coaching, guiding, and advising, TAP strives to provide agencies the tools to internalize continuous quality improvement and thereby achieve excellence. What matters most is the “process” of continuous improvement, not the “project.”

Firehouse Expo 2016

Nashville, TN

October 18-22, 2016

Visit CPSE at booth #460 and learn more about accreditation and credentialing.

Register for ‪FirehouseExpo2016‬‬

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:

October 03, 2016
Quality Improvement Through Accreditation
Burlington, VT

October 04, 2016
Quality Improvement Through Accreditation
Des Moines, IA

October 17, 2016
Quality Improvement Through Accreditation
South Bend, IN

October 19, 2016
Quality Improvement Through Accreditation
Sarasota, FL

October 20, 2016
Firehouse Expo
Nashville, TN

October 24, 2016
Exceeding Customer Expectations
Campbell, CA

November 01, 2016
Quality Improvement Through Accreditation
Kirkland, WA

November 14, 2016
Data Analysis & Presentation
Campbell, CA

November 30, 2016
Quality Improvement Through Accreditation
Castle Rock, CO

December 12, 2016
Quality Improvement Through Accreditation
Quincy, MA