Certification Urged For Fire Service
The Joint Council of National Fire Service Organizations, composed of the nation’s major fire service organizations, will seek the establishment of a national certificating organization that would set standards of professional competence for fire department personnel.
Meeting in Washington recently, the council called for development of a certificating program to be administered by a national fire service professional qualifications board. Some 39 states now have, or are contemplating, certification procedures.
Council members feel that a certification program can expand career opportunities by making it possible for fire fighters to move from one department to another and can strengthen educational programs for fire service administration. They also believe that certification, by establishing professional training standards, will improve fire service functions and will help establish uniformity in fire service working conditions and compensation.
In directing a committee on national certification to develop a national certification framework, Chief Matthew Jimenez, chairman of the Joint Council and then president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, stated that a certification program can be most effective if it is actively supported by key national fire service organizations.
The committee on national certification includes Emmett T. Cox, International Fire Service Training Association; John W. Hoglund, International Society of Fire Service Instructors; Chief David. B. Gratz, International Fire Administration Institute; Martin E. Grimes, National Fire Protection Association; and Anthony R. Granito, Fire Protection Research International.
The initial proposal would be to structure four sectional committees to establish standards for fire fighters, instructors, fire inspectors and officers (with subdivisions relating to levels of responsibility). Each sectional committee would prepare proposed standards and refer them to a national fire service professional qualifications board for action and submission for adoption as national standards by the National Fire Protection Association.
Problems can be overcome
When this framework is established, the details of adoption procedures and implementation will be developed. The problems of this are, perhaps, much greater than establishing the basic standards, but there is little doubt that a system for state and local implementation could work.
If you have opinions concerning national certification, write to the Committee on National Certification, Secretary, Joint Council of National Fire Service Organizations, 60 Batterymareh Street, Boston, Mass. 02110.
In another action, the Joint Council decided to ask the United States Department of Transportation to require the labeling of hazardous materials in transit according to the system already recognized by most fire service organizations. The council regarded the system proposed by the DOT as inadequate.
The International Municipal Signal Association became the first organization to join the council, which was founded by 10 fire service groups last year.