January 29, 2016 - At its annual Accreditation Conference in Orlando, Florida, the National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications, The Pro Board, formally recognized the accreditation of the following fire service training agencies:
- California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Office of the State Fire Marshal
- Tennessee Commission on Fire Fighting Personnel Standards & Education
- Fire Service College of the United Kingdom
- National Fire Protection Association
- Regional Alliance for Firefighter Training
The Pro Board also formally recognized the Re-Accreditation of the following fire service training agencies:
- State of Hawaii Department of Transportation - Airports Division
- Wyoming Department of Fire Prevention and Electrical Safety
- New York Office of Fire Prevention and Control
- Florida Bureau of Fire Standards and Training
- Great Oaks Institute of Technology & Career Development
- Central Pierce Fire District
- New Hampshire Department of Public Safety - Division of Fire Standards and Training and Emergency Medical Services
Through its 74 accredited agencies, the Pro Board provides a national and international level of recognition for members of the fire and emergency service who have demonstrated proficiency in meeting NFPA professional qualifications standards. These initial accreditations required the agencies to undergo a critical assessment of their ability to meet the 19 point accreditation criteria that has become the hallmark of integrity for the Pro Board system.
“With accreditation, these agencies have shown their commitment to improving life safety for their citizens and emergency personnel,” commented M.H. Jim Estepp, chairman of the Pro Board. “Through accreditation, these agencies can provide official Pro Board certificates to fire service members who have demonstrated a competency with professional qualification standards.”
Pro Board Accreditation
Mission: The purpose of the Pro Board (www.theproboard.com) is to establish an internationally recognized means of acknowledging professional achievement in the fire service and related fields. The accreditation of organizations that certify members of public fire departments, both career and volunteer, is the primary goal. However, other organizations with fire protection interests may also be considered for participation. Accreditation is generally provided at the State or Provincial level to the empowered certifying authority of that jurisdiction.
Accreditation: The Pro Board accredits organizations that use the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA's) professional qualification standards. The accreditation process begins with the submission of an application, including a detailed self study document, by the organization seeking accreditation. The application package is then reviewed by the members of the Committee on Accreditation (COA) for completeness and compliance with the accreditation criteria of the Pro Board. The next step is a site visit by a team of COA members, usually two, who perform an extensive on-site review of the organization's testing and certification processes. The site visit team prepares a report and presents it to the COA. The COA decides if accreditation is granted.
Certification: An entity that is accredited by the Pro Board makes certification available to its members. Members are then eligible to be entered into the Pro Board's web based certification registry and receive a certificate from the accredited entity, or apply for a certificate from the Pro Board, affirming that they were certified by a Pro Board accredited entity and that they are entered in the Pro Board's certification registry. In addition, the Pro Board encourages reciprocity among certifying entities. This helps assure that Pro Board certification will be recognized by the department as the members seek advancement, and by other departments should they seek to transfer within the fire service.
Benefits: Professionalism has long been a goal sought by members of the fire service. It has only been within the past 30 years that a system has evolved to produce professional qualifications standards that an entity can use to establish performance measures for personnel. Entities that achieve Pro Board accreditation are recognized as having met the rigors of review by an independent organization. This third party independent review is the best way to assure candidates and governance bodies that the entity’s program meets the national standards.
Pro Board recognized certification from an accredited entity is a statement of success, an indisputable mark of performance belonging to individual fire service professionals. Each successful candidate for certification from an accredited entity knows that he or she has been measured against peers and meets rigorous professional qualifications standards. Certification affords the individual a uniformity and portability of qualifications. In addition, the credibility of an organization is enhanced by having members certified to consensus standards. A high percentage of certified members within a department should certainly help managers be assured of the qualifications and capabilities of their department.
About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global, nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information visit www.nfpa.org. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.
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Contact: Frederick W. Piechota, Jr., The Pro Board, +1 413 374-8051