Transcript for Pro Board Accreditation
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Accreditation of Programs – Certification of Professionals – Pro Board Accreditation
Jim Estepp, Chairman, National Board of Fire Service, Professional Qualifications: The Pro Board actually is involved with accrediting institutions that train and certify firefighters and other related disciplines. That institution will then be able to certify individuals as opposed to the institution and certify that they have met a standard that is prescribed by the National Fire Protection Association. They have met the proper requirements and procedures of the Pro Board, and in essence, they get a stamp of approval. The national registry is, in essence, a databank that the professional qualifications board maintains. A potential employer, supervisor, or someone who has responsibility for this particular job that a person is seeking can go to the Internet and actually search that person’s name out and see what level of qualifications they’ve been trained to.
Lawrence L. Preston, Certification & Accreditation Manager, Maryland Fire & Rescue Institute: Firstly, anyone associated with the fire service can benefit from having national certification. Be it somebody from a small, rural fire department to the most metropolitan fire departments. The people in the fire service are all facing dangers, and this certification is an indication that they have been trained, and they have demonstrated their competency.
Tristan Tricarico, Firefighter, Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department: Certifications help everyone meet the same standard. It helps us have confidence in each other. If I know that we all have the same certifications, then I know that we should all be taking the same steps and the same precautions.
Willie G. Shelton, Jr., CEM, Executive Director (Interim), Virginia Department of Fire Programs: Many small departments rely solely upon an individual’s certification before they’ll even look at it.
Lawrence L. Preston: We have jurisdictions that hire people that are on the national registry, that will bypass much of their recruit training. And they’re able to come in and start working in the department after a couple weeks’ orientation.
Bob Rose, President, Odenton Volunteer Fire Company: As far as members of my fire company go, I know that there are several that have used certification to get jobs as federal firefighters, to apply for municipal fire departments in other jurisdictions, and have been accepted. Some jurisdictions hire specifically looking for Pro Board certification, and when our members have that in hand, that is a huge benefit to them when they’re looking for a job.
Tristan Tricarico: It helps the hiring process. It’s one of the first things that the department will look for, is that you show the initiative to take the classes and that you have the knowledge. It also helps moving up in the ranks, becoming lieutenants, captains, chiefs.
Bob Rose: If they come in with a Pro Board certification from another state with very little local content training, we can get those people writing.
Lawrence L. Preston: And we’re seeing people go from one department to another and having two or three changes of employment during the course of their career. Having Pro Board certification certainly helps facilitate that transfer ability.
Bob Rose: Portability is a big issue with our members. The Odenton Volunteer Fire Company is located next to Fort Meade, which houses a large defense installation. Many of our members come through that agency. They come in from other states. They might have training and certification from other states that we can readily accept if it’s Pro Board. Our members who come up through our program may want to transfer into other departments, get a job for federal fire department or a local county fire department. Professional certification allows our members the ability to transfer that certification, that training, to other agencies without taking all the training over again from scratch.
Richard Himes, Bureau Chief of Training, Frederick Co., Division of Fire & Rescue Services: I think the Pro Board represents the achievement of an individual and gives them that credential in order for them to be recognized for their accomplishments.
Willie G. Shelton, Jr.: The federal government for the Department of Homeland Security is now in the process of mandating credentialing of fire and emergency services personnel for any federalized event.
Jim Estepp: Those people who get in on the ground floor now and are certified by an accredited institution and become a part of the national registry. Hopefully, there will be identification means carried by each of the first responders that will immediately tell the level of training, tell whether or not they’ve been certified, and exactly what their home department is.
Nick Buongiorne, Fire Captain, Metro. Washington Airport Authority: There’s no list or anything else that can take you through the doors like the Pro Board list can. If you’re on that list of accreditation and you go to an agency that’s on that list, you’ve already got that major hurdle out of your way. They’re already looking at you as a good hire.
Willie G. Shelton, Jr.: The public expects its first responders to be professional. In order to be professional, you have to be accredited and have individual certifications.
Jim Estepp: It just opens a lot of doors. It would be the same as a physician or an attorney who had passed a bar exam and has national recognition that they have accomplished the level of training and the professionalism to meet the job requirements. And it’s an instant way that a potential employer can determine that you have met those requirements.
On screen: This video is dedicated to Chief V. Ken Elmore, Accreditation Manager for the Pro Board from October 2000, until his retirement in July 2006, for his leadership in promoting fire service professionalism throughout his career.
The Pro Board encourages duplication and distribution of this program by our Accredited Agencies. Our goal with this video is to inform policy makers of the value of Pro Board Accreditation and to educate first responders of the need for Certification and Registration in the National Registry. If you would like a customized presentation for your organization, please contact the Pro Board offices at 617-984-7474.
The Pro Board expresses its appreciation to all of the participants who have made this program possible and especially to the Maryland Fire Rescue Institute and to the Virginia Department of Fire Programs for their assistance.