A year after receiving accreditation for its fire suppression training through the National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications (ProBoard), the National Park Service Structural Fire Program is excited to see its first graduates earn their credentials.
By attending a credentialed course, NPS employees and partners are showing they meet or exceed standards set forth by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Credentials document that firefighters have attained a professional status through achievement of demonstrated competencies that are consistent throughout the fire service and across the country. Currently recognized in 32 states, four Canadian provinces, and the United States Department of Defense, the credentials are portable to other positions, departments, and government agencies.
In addition to attaining ProBoard certification this year, students are participating in a revamped Firefighter I/II course. The revised course incorporates online training for the first time and a demonstration of skills in diverse training scenarios and live-fire drills.
“A consistent comment from students over the years is that not enough time is spent on individual topics during the class. Adding an online component has allowed us to delve into topics more before the course and spend extra time on skills in the field. This has also eliminated the need for a task book,” said Mark Gorman, NPS fire operations program manager.
Approximately 50% of students in surveys have stated that the class is too short for the amount of material that needs to be covered. Instead of lengthening the course by a week, online training was researched and provided instead.
“Online training provides the additional information requested by students and has the added benefit of reducing travel and course costs. In addition, we can better prepare our students and assist them in understanding the intricacies of structural and all-hazard firefighting in the 21st century,” added Gorman.
The Firefighter I/II course was officially accredited in November 2011. The structural fire program is currently seeking accreditation for two additional courses -- fire officer and fire apparatus driver/operator.
Watch the ProBoard Fire Service Certification video to learn why credentialing is important in the fire service.
Visit the Structural Fire Program website for more information on structural fire training opportunities or contact Mark Gorman at (208) 387-5244.