NFA under USFA control
The appropriations bill, passed by Congress in October, transfers control of the National Fire Academy from FEMA’s Office of Training to the U.S. Fire Administration. The bill contained other appropriations that will benefit the fire service as well: $334,000 for additional instructors and facilities at the NFA and $125,000 for USFA personnel.
After five years of lobbying by the nation’s fire service, the legislation is a major victory, according to Congressman Curt Weldon, chairman of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus: “The voices of America’s fire and life safety personnel have been heard loud and clear. Now the National Fire Academy will return to its rightful place, under the control of the USFA.”
President signs haz-mat study act
President Bush signed into law H R. 4522, the Firefighters’ Safety Study Act, in October. Introduced after a tragic 1988 explosion killed six Kansas City firefighters, the law aims to reduce the dangers to firefighters dealing with hazardous materials.
The bill directs the USFA and a working group to review haz-mat emergencies to analyze what went right and what went wrong as well as gather current information on related products and services and compile that information into a report for the USFA in one year’s time. Also, the working group will meet yearly to update the report and recommend changes. The group will be made up of federal, state, and local agencies and chemical industry’ representatives.
According to Congresswoman Jan Meyers (R-KS), who introduced the bill, its passage ultimately will lead to “safe and adequate response to incidents involving hazardous materials.”
IAFC awards scholarships
The International Association of Fire Chiefs Foundation has announced the recipients of its 1990 Scholarship Awards. The S250 scholarships are awarded to active members of the fire service who have demonstrated need, desire, and initiative in pursuit of academic education.
Following is a list of the 1990 Fire Management Scholarships (all are firefighters): Stephen E. Berry’, Banner Elk (NC) Volunteer Fire Department; Donald M. Callan, Waukesha (WI) Fire Department; Victoria Chames, Alameda County (CA) Fire Department; Bryan S. Davis, North East (PA) Fire Department; Michael Edwards, Berwyn Heights (MD) Volunteer Fire Department; Scott M. Heyworth, Swansea (MA) Volunteer Fire Department; Warren C. Jones, Washington State University Fire Department; Russel C. Mitchell, Palm Beach County (FL) Fire Rescue Department; Thomas J. Phillips, Murphy (NC) Volunteer Fire Department; John Remlinger, Salem (OR) Fire Department; Brian Rose, Coeburn (VA) Volunteer Fire Department; Sharon C2. Simmons, Myrtle Grove (FL) Volunteer Fire Department; Guy A. Vallier, Milwaukee (WI) Fire Department; Paul G. Waller, Sandusky (OH) Fire Department; Matthew’ C. Walter, Green I^ane (PA) Fire Department; and Bruce Ziegle, University Park (IL) Fire Department.
Qualifications board established
The National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications (NBFSPQ) was officially incorporated in July 1990. The board is designed to improve the quality of life safety and fire protection for fire service personnel. It supports the development and utilization of an NFPA standard on certification and accreditation. Once a standard is published, NBFSPQ will manage the operation of a national certification registry and accreditation program.
In August 1989 the Joint Council of National Fire Service Organizations appointed a select committee to determine the future of a national certification and accreditation program. The NBFSPQ board members represent the various fire service organizations that served on that committee. Chairman of the Board Edward H. McCormack Jr. says, “The implementation of the programs envisioned will objectively measure and provide a means for recognition of fire service professionals’ personal competency and achievement.”
A task force appointed by the board will address the following issues:
- Fiscal operations including the appropriate transfer of funds relating to professional qualifications.
- Accreditation procedures of organizations seeking to become nationally recognized certification agencies.
- National registration of certificates.
- Annual reaccreditation of those organizations already accredited.
- Maintenance of records associated with NBFSPQ and its predecessor, the National Professional Qualifications Board.
- A national conference for the purpose of broad-based commentary on the future of accreditation and certification procedures related to fire service personnel professional qualification standards.