CFPS: What It Means, Why It Matters, and What Changes Are Coming Soon

The Certified Fire Protection Specialist (CFPS®) is a world-renowned program from NFPA® that recognizes individuals who demonstrate wide-ranging skills and knowledge of fire protection. The program is set to undergo changes soon. This blog reviews what the CFPS credential signifies, its value to the fire protection community, upcoming changes, and why individuals might want to take the exam before the end of the year.

What Is CFPS?

The way in which we protect people and property from fire is complex and takes many different forms. Individuals who have earned the prestigious designation of Certified Fire Protection Specialist understand this in ways that many others within the fire protection field are unable to. Fire protection includes the following aspects:

·       Measures to stop fire before it starts

·       Public education to inform people of the risks and safety measures that can aid in prevention

·       Fire detection methods to know when a fire has started

·       Suppression systems to try to suppress or extinguish a fire

·       Building construction measures to limit the spread of fire and smoke

·       Fire department setup and structure to respond to fires and other emergencies

All of these approaches are used to protect a huge variety of materials, equipment, processes, and facilities that all pose unique hazards and challenges.

Together, all of the factors listed above form a comprehensive fire protection strategy. Many different stakeholders contribute to that strategy and are often responsible for only one aspect or component of that strategy. In many cases, the different people working on providing key components of fire protection have very little insight into what the other people are doing. This is not inherently wrong and can often be managed well enough through a construction or renovation project, but when issues arise and hard questions are asked, those who understandand can communicate how interconnected the different fire protection components arewill be able to find a solution or reach a resolution more efficiently.

What Value Does CFPS Hold?

The skills and knowledge required to attain the CFPS credential add value to the individual, the company they work for, the clients they serve, potential future employers, and the people they are working to protect. Understanding the full picture of fire protection and how one aspect or component plays into the complete fire protection strategy allows for better problem solving when unique situations arise, improves communication between all stakeholders, including authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs), and can help avoid costly mistakes. Individuals with this certification can demonstrate that they have the skills and knowledge to provide this value on projects that they are involved in.

What Changes Are Coming?

The CFPS exam will be updated in January 2024, and at that point, the body of knowledge will change to the 21st edition of the Fire Protection Handbook® (which just came out this year, read more about that here). Additionally, there will be changes made to the CFPS exam blueprint, which lays the foundation for the exam. To ensure its accuracy and relevance, subject matter experts from our Certification Advisory Group (CAG) have been working on updating the job task analysis, and that process is nearly complete. Following that update is a validation survey that aims to gather feedback and input from CFPS-certified professionals to ensure the blueprint accurately represents the skills and knowledge required in the field. The survey allows professionals to share their insights and experiences, which helps validate the relevance and effectiveness of the exam blueprint. By taking these steps, we strive to create an exam blueprint that is truly representative of the skills and knowledge required in today’s dynamic fire protection landscape.

This means that starting in January 2024, the body of knowledge will be changing from the 20th edition to the 21st edition of the Fire Protection Handbook. The breakdown of topic areas and the types of questions will also be revised from the current exam to reflect the most current topics and challenges in the field.

Why Should Someone Consider Taking the CFPS Exam Before the End of the Year?

The upcoming changes to the CFPS program are positive and exciting, and the new 21st edition of the Fire Protection Handbook reflects the latest and greatest in technology and safety practices.  If you’ve been considering taking the CFPS exam and have done preparation or are intimately familiar with the content in the 20th edition of the Fire Protection Handbook, or you need to retake the exam, consider taking the exam in 2023 before the updates and changes take effect. Get all the details you need to apply now.

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Jonathan Hart
Technical Lead, Principal Engineer at NFPA

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