Pro Board Certified

Pro Board Progress
National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications
July, 2008
In This Issue
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Send us Your News!
Message from Chairman Estepp
Varone joins Board
Annual Board Meeting Highlights
Piechota Visits SABIC
Status of Pro-Qual Standards
Accrediation Manager's Report
Program Manager's Report
Metro Fire Department Project
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Message from Chairman Estepp 
EsteppWe have completed a most successful fiscal year on June 30th which gives me the opportunity to thank all of our Accredited Entities for their dedication and support to our shared mission of increasing professionalism for fire and emergency service "first responders". During the past year, we welcomed four additional agencies into the Pro Board system bringing the total to 48, a new all time high. We also added over 50,000 certificates to the Certification Registry database this past year. Keep in mind that all Pro Board certificates issued since 1982 are recorded in the registry and are accessible from the Pro Board website www.theproboard.org .
 
The Pro Board continues to be in excellent financial condition with steady growth continuing this past year. The increasing number of accredited entities and increased volume of Pro Board registered certificates each year provides resources for cost effective innovation and investment in the future. For example, in the past few years, we have been able to reduce certificate fees 25% in the electronic registration plan used by 28 agencies and which represents over 60% of our volume. Significantly, the electronic registration plan also assures that all qualified individuals will be Pro Board certified and immediately registered in the web accessible Certification Registry.
 
At our recent annual Board of Director's meeting, the Board reviewed progress towards our Strategic Goal "By 2020, every fire protection professional will possess at least a basic 1001 level certification". As one step to achieving this Goal, the Board decided to establish an action plan with Metropolitan Fire Departments (Metros) in North America to obtain additional participation in the Pro Board system. Also, we are working with several States to become Pro Board accredited to add to the 28 States already in the Pro Board system.
 
In the Long Range Strategic Plan, your Board of Directors examined key trends for fire protection over the coming decade and concluded "the challenges of today and tomorrow .....will push career and volunteer fire protection specialists into an expanded level of responsibility". Let me conclude by assuring you that our Board of Directors is committed to assisting the fire and emergency services in meeting these challenges now and on into the future.  
 
Have a pleasant and safe summer vacation season.
 
Jim Estepp, Chairman, Board of Directors 

Chief Curt Varone Joins Board of Directors
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Curt Varone, left, is welcomed on to the Board of Directors by Chairman Jim Estepp
 
Deputy Assistant Chief (retired) J. Curtis Varone of the Providence, Rhode Island Fire Department was appointed to the Pro Board's Board of Directors on June 1st to represent the NFPA. Mr. Varone is the recently appointed Director of NFPA's Public Fire Protection Division replacing Carl Peterson on the Board who is retiring from NFPA at the end of the year. Chief Varone served as a volunteer fire fighter (North Providence) and later as a career fire fighter in Providence where he rose steadily through the ranks, retiring in 2008 as Deputy Assistant Chief and A Group Shift Commander. He earned two undergraduate degrees at Providence College and is a cum laude graduate of Suffolk University Law School, Class of 1985. He is a practicing attorney licensed in Rhode Island and Maine. He completed the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy and currently teaches in the Executive Development Program at the NFA. In 1998, he was awarded an Executive Fire Officer Fellowship at Harvard's JFK School of Government. Chief Varone's first book "Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services" (Thomas Delmar Learning) was published in 2006 and is followed by his second book "Fire Officer's Legal Handbook" released last November.
Annual Board Meeting Highlights
by Tony O'Neill 
 
The Pro Board's Board of Directors held its Annual Business Meeting at BWI Airport in Baltimore May 21, 2008. Here are some of the highlights compiled by the Board Secretary, Tony O'Neill for "Pro board Progress".
  • Reviewed Pro Board activities in pursuit of the Pro Board's "Strategic Framework" goals including steps taken to help additional States and Metro Departments to become Pro Board Accredited and how to increase participation in the "voluntary participation" States.
  • Heard reports from the Accreditation manager (Fred Piechota), Program Manager (Dave Trebisacci), Advisory Committee Chair (Tom Sturtevant) and on the status of NFPA's Professional Qualifications activities (Carl Peterson).
  • The Board agreed to additional "in depth" training programs at the Advisory Committee meetings and Accreditation Conferences and optional visits to training academies for Accredited Agency's participants.
  • Reviewed and approved the first phase of a proposed "Data Development" project to consolidate all current Pro Board data bases into one interactive data base. Possible future data base development projects could include conversion of all paper documents to digital and full internet access to the data base by authorized persons.
  • Reviewed and approved a "Metro Fire Department" project as an effort to obtain additional participation by large city/county fire departments in the Pro Board system in furtherance of the Strategic Goal to certify every fire fighter to NFPA 1001 by 2020.
  • Heard a report on activities of the committee on Accreditation (COA) by Fred Piechota, Chairman and reappointed seven Board appointed COA members to a one year terms (Coffman, Brinkerhoff, Luther, Peal, Summers, Burston and Duncan).
  • Heard a report on Pro board financial trends and approved the Treasurer's Report (Tony O'Neill) for the ten months YTD ending April 30, 2008 indicating favorable trends for both income and expense.
  • The Board approved a budget for FY 09 beginning July 1, 2008 which included the funding for new Data Development and Metro Fire Department projects (described above).
  • At the request of NFPA, appointed J. Curtis Varone, Director of NFPA's Public Fire Protection Division to the Board of Directors to replace Carl Peterson.  

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 L-R Jim Estepp,, Butch Weedon, Carl Peterson, Curt Varone, Jim Burns, Tony O'Neill, Tom Sturtevant, Fred Piechota and Steve Austin
Fred Piechota Visits SABIC, Saudi Arabia
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L to R: Najeeb Al Wabli, Section Head, SFTC; Fred Piechota; Khalid H. Khaleel, Manager, Industrial Security, SABIC

In mid May, Accreditation Manager Fred Piechota visited the SABIC (Saudi Basic Industries Corporation) Fire Training Center in Saudi Arabia at the invitaiton of SABIC to view their training facility and to assist them in preparation for their upcoming re-accreditation site visit. The SABIC facility trains and certifies a large number of persons annually, primarily those responsible for fire protection services at a large industrial complex.

Status of NFPA Pro-Qual Standards
by Carl Peterson 
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NFPA 1001-2008 (Fire Fighter) and NFPA 1006-2008 (Technical Rescuer) were issued in the last year since the May 2007 Board of Directors Meeting. 
 
 
 
 
The following NFPA Standards have an effective date of July 18, 2008:
  • NFPA 1002 Fire Apparatus Driver/Operator (2009 edition)
  • NFPA 1003 Airport Fire Fighter (2009 edition)
  • NFPA 1021 Fire Officer (2009 edition)
  • NFPA 1026 Incident Management Personnel (2009 edition)
  • NFPA 1031 Fire Inspector and Plan Examiner (2009 edition)
  • NFPA 1033 Fire Investigator (2009 edition)
 
The following documents are scheduled for the Fall 2009 cycle with a proposal closing date of May 30, 2008:
  • NFPA 1003 Airport Fire Fighter
  • NFPA 1035 Public Fire and Life Safety Educator
 
The following documents are scheduled for the Annual 2010 cycle with a proposal closing date of December 1, 2008:
  • NFPA 1000 Fire Service Professional Qualifications Accreditation and Certification Systems
  • NFPA 1071 Emergency Vehicle Technician
Accreditation Manager's Report
By Fred Piechota 
Piechota During the Accreditation Managers report, the Board was presented with an updated listing of the 48 entities currently accredited by the Pro Board. A chart showing the status of those state and provincial entities that are accredited by the Pro Board and/or IFSAC was also provided. A graph was presented to the Board showing that the number of entries being made into the National Registry has been showing a steady increase each year since Fiscal Year 2003. Lengthy discussion was held concerning two projects that were proposed for funding during the upcoming fiscal year; that of the development of a computer database to track information concerning Pro Board Accredited Entities as well as the activities and site visits conducted by the Committee on Accreditation and a project that will designed to allocate resources to assist Metropolitan Fire Departments into participation in Pro Board accredited certification programs if they do not currently do so.
 
During his COA report Fred reported that 6 Meetings of the COA had been held since the last Board of Directors Meeting; five of the six were telephone conference calls, one was an in-person meeting in conjunction with the Pro Board Accreditation Training Conference in Tampa, Florida in January 2008. During the previous fiscal year the Safety and Technical Rescue Association, Vancouver Island Emergency Response Academy, North Carolina Fire Rescue Commission and the Minnesota Fire Service Certification Board were accredited bringing the total number of accredited entities to 48. Fred reported that West Virginia, Delaware, Virginia, the District of North Vancouver, Maryland, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Utah had all be re-accredited during the previous year. Approval to extend accreditation had been granted to 8 entities for a total of 26 additional levels. 13 entities are scheduled for re-accreditation visits during the upcoming year.  Between two and five new accreditation visits are anticipated during the year as well. The Committee on Accreditation will also be staffing the Pro Board Information Booth at the IAFC, FDIC, and Canadian Fire Chiefs Conferences.
Program Manager's Report
by Dave Trebisacci 
TrebisacciAs the fiscal year closed on June 30, 2008, the Certification Database contained 355,935 records. Firefighter and hazmat levels comprise more than 50% of all the applications the Pro Board receives, and this past fiscal year was no exception.  Currently, there are 48 accredited entities, with Minnesota, North Carolina, SATRA and Vancouver Island added during the past fiscal year. Twenty-eight entities now currently take advantage of the $5.50 plan, whose electronic application submission enables them to print the Pro Board logo on their certificates at a reduced price. Five entities are on the $10 plan. Under this plan, the Pro Board prints and sends certificates to entities or applicants when the applications are submitted in batches of 10 or more. Fifteen entities utilize the standard $15 plan, and distribute applications to individuals, who then submit them directly to the Pro Board.
 
The look up web site continues to be widely utilized. The web site is updated at the close of business each day. Accessible from the Pro Board home page, the web site displays certification levels to visitors, who use their last names and the last four digits of their social security, social insurance, employee number or other unique identifier to view the records. There have been more than 46,000 visitors to the Pro Board look up site since its inception in 2004.
 
Planning is underway for the upcoming IAFC Fire Rescue International conference in Denver on August 14-16, followed by the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs conference in the Yukon Territories on September 21-24. The Pro Board will have a booth at each of these conferences.
 
Planning is also underway for the January 24, 2009 meeting of the Advisory Committee in Houston, TX. This meeting will be preceded by a series of half-day training sessions on the afternoon of January 23. We will be sending out the notice with much more information about this meeting in early August.
 
Amy and I wish you a very safe and enjoyable summer, and we look forward to seeing you next January.
Board Establishes Metro Fire Department Project
By Tony O'Neill, Executive Secretary, Pro Board 
 Last year, the Board of Directors established a goal of certifying every fire fighter to at least the basic 1001 level by the year 2020. There are many ways to achieve this goal in the Pro Board system, especially given the support of our accredited entities. One potential pool of individuals who would benefit from Pro Board certification are those associated with Metropolitan Fire Departments. Indeed, many "Metro" departments are already participating in the Pro Board system through their State or Provincial accredited entities and recently more are coming on board. For example, New York City Fire Department (FDNY) recruits are now participating in the Empire State's Pro Board testing/certification system as is the Philadelphia Fire Department in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Pro Board system.  
 
At its May Board meeting, the Board of Directors established an action plan to obtain additional participation in the Pro Board system by "metro" Departments. This marketing effort will allow the Pro Board to dedicate resources to work with Metro Departments in States and Provinces that are not currently accredited as well as existing accredited States and Provinces to assist them in bringing aboard their Metro Departments.

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