Professional Qualifications "Now and Beyond Workshop" for Fire and Emergency Services

Fire Protection Research Foundation report: "Professional Qualification "Now and Beyond Workshop" for Fire and Emergency Services" (PDF, 3 MB)
Author: Casey C. Grant, P.E., and Brian Merrifield, Fire Protection Research Foundation
Date of issue: May 2011 


The fire service and other emergency responders in North America have a well-developed infrastructure to address professional qualifications (Pro-Qual). A key part of this infrastructure are the multiple codes and standards that form the basis for training and professional competency for local, state, provincial, and federal fire protection and public safety personnel.

The NFPA Pro-Qual Project is responsible for eighteen separate standards that directly address specific Pro-Qual subjects. This topic is also addressed directly and indirectly by several other NFPA committee projects. The specific provisions of these documents, as well as programs that depend on them, are continually facing harmonization and coordination challenges. A vision expressed by interested stakeholders is that these challenges are addressed in the continued evolution of the professional qualification infrastructure.

To address these issues and to clarify this vision, a one and one-half day workshop was held on 13-14 April 2011 in Irving, Texas. The workshop was hosted by NFPA with support for administration, implementation and documentation provided by the Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF). This report provides the documentation of this workshop.

The goal of this interactive workshop was to establish a common understanding of how the individual elements of the Pro-Qual system and the applicable NFPA Standards (and related documents) interact to provide best value to all of the Pro-Qual stakeholders. The workshop objectives were:

  • Briefly review the evolution, current status and anticipated direction of the professional qualification system;
  • Identify the characteristics that provide best value to all stakeholders;
  • Identify and prioritize needs addressing the characteristics based on the best overall value; and
  • Establish an action plan to provide guidance to codes & standards to meet these needs.