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  • Strategic Plan approved September 2009
    Updated On: Feb 25, 2011
     
    Pennsylvania Fire Service Certification Advisory Committee
    STRATEGIC PLAN
     September 2009
     
    MISSION STATEMENT
     
    The mission of the Pennsylvania Fire Service Certification Advisory Committee (FSCAC) is to promote safety through certification within our Commonwealth’s emergency services. We will accomplish this task by providing ongoing leadership and advocacy for a statewide professional qualification system. Our efforts will enhance Pennsylvania’s preparedness and the delivery of emergency services.
     
    This committee will:
     
    · Assess the certification needs of the emergency services community;
    · Interpret standards, regulations and laws as they pertain to certification;
    · Determine the resources needed to accomplish our certification mission;
    · Provide for planning, advising and overseeing the certification program;
    · Monitor policies, procedures, evaluation methods and implementation
        the Certification Program;
    · Market and promote the certification program;
    · Ensure effective communications between the emergency services
        providers, their organizations and the Certification Program.
    · Provide certification program quality assurance.
     
    As a committee, we shall:
     
    · Ascribe to and maintain the highest standards of integrity and
        professionalism;
    · Ensure accessibility to the system for all interested participants;
    · Use nationally recognized criteria that are fairly and consistently
        administered;
    · Take a visionary approach towards pertinent, long-term issues rather than
        focusing on incidental details;
    · Conduct our business in an atmosphere of open-minded discussion and flexible
        group processes;
    · Be responsive to the changing certification needs of the emergency services
        community.
     
    We shall share our recommendations enhancing safety through certification with the Office of the State Fire Commissioner. By performing this mission, we will ultimately benefit not only the emergency services community, but also all Commonwealth citizens.
    .PROGRAM STAKEHOLDERS
     
    Stakeholders are those individuals, groups or organizations that have a vested interest in the activities and success of the Pennsylvania Fire Service Certification Program. Understanding its stakeholders enables an organization to develop a customer-focus that is responsive to the expectations of its stakeholders.
     
    The stakeholders of the Pennsylvania Fire Service Certification Program can be categorized as either primary stakeholders or secondary stakeholders.
     
    Primary Stakeholders – The primary stakeholders of the Pennsylvania Fire Service Certification Program include those members of the Commonwealth’s emergency services community that voluntarily participate in available certification programs to demonstrate and attest to their individual competency.
     
    Firefighters and their families
    Other Emergency Responders and their families
    Fire Departments
    Other Emergency Response Organizations
    o   EMS
    o   Rescue
    o   Special Operation
    o   Law Enforcement
    o   Homeland Security Agencies
     
    Secondary Stakeholders – The secondary stakeholders of the Pennsylvania Fire Service Certification Program are those individuals, groups and organizations that are direct or indirect beneficiaries of the participation of the above referenced primary stakeholders.
     
    The secondary stakeholders of the Pennsylvania Fire Service Certification Program represent a diverse collection of individuals, groups and organization including the following.
     
    General public
    Professional Associations/Organizations
    Educational and Training Institutions
    o   Secondary Educational Programs
    o   Community colleges
    o   Other Higher Educational Institutions
    o   Fire and Emergency Services Training Academies
    o   Pennsylvania State Fire Academy (PSFA)
     
     
     
    Government/Legislature
    o   Local government
    o   County government
    o   State government
    o   Federal government
    o   Elected officials
    Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA)
    Business/Industry
    Insurance companies
     
    STAKEHOLDER EXPECTATIONS
     
    The various stakeholder groups that exist with respect to the Pennsylvania Fire Service Certification Program have expectations with respect to the certification program and services that are offered. The expectations of each of these respective stakeholder groups, as identified in the following section of this planning document, have been considered in the development of this strategic plan.
     
    Expectations of Primary Stakeholders
     
    • Firefighters and their Families Other Emergency Responders and Their Families
      • Convenience
      • Flexibility
      • Portability of certification credentials
      • Enhancing responder safety and survival
      • Validation of skills
      • Challenging but fair testing
      • Enhanced salary
      • Promotional opportunities
      • Recognition
      • Reasonable cost
      • Marketing activities that provide complete and accurate understanding of certification process
      • Enhanced self-confidence
      • Training tied to certification
      • Remove roadblocks to attaining certification
      • Offer preparatory courses
      • Encourage additional training/certification
      • Provide mechanism for credentialing emergency service personnel
      • Integrating training and certification into higher education system of awarding college credit
     
     
    ·         Fire Departments and Other Emergency Response Organizations
      • Enhance safety of personnel
      • Cost-effective certification process
      • Positive public recognition
      • Marketable standard of performance
      • Enhanced self-confidence
      • Provide professional standard and mechanism for credentialing emergency service personnel
      • Recognition of certification in state grants award criteria
      • Validation of capabilities of individual personnel and overall emergency service
      • Establishing competency of response personnel
      • Ensuring coordination within system
      • Building credibility and trust
      • Quality assurance
      • Assessing competency of contractors
      • Recruitment
      • Justification for salary increases
      • Criteria for use in promotional decisions
     
    Expectations of Secondary Stakeholders
     
    ·         General Public
      • Public expects “the best”
      • Public deserves “the best”
      • Competency and consistency of emergency service delivery
      • Emergency responders with versatile and proven abilities to perform
      • Confidence in those who protect them
      • Cost effective delivery of services
     
    • Educational and Training Institutions
      • Expansion of certification offerings
      • Opportunities for Delegation of Authority
      • Source of revenue generation
      • Effective marketing of Pennsylvania Fire Service Certification Program
      • Quality assurance/consistency of certification offerings
      • Ability to expand/enhance certification offerings
      • Establishing instructor and skill evaluator requirements and qualifications
      • Ensuring quality of student and evaluator performance
      • Credentialing mechanism
      • Validation of training
      • Integrating training and certification into higher education system of awarding college credit
    ·         Government/Legislature
     
      • Local Government
        • Fulfillment of public safety responsibilities as Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ)
        • Cost effectiveness
        • Use of partnerships
        • Justification for certification initiatives
          • Budgetary
          • Reduction in insurance premiums
          • Risk management
     
     
     
        • General liability/Errors and Omissions
        • Validation of emergency service capabilities
        • Ensure emergency responder competency
        • Legal implications associated with performance of public safety duties
        • Ability to assemble specialized resources
        • Public safety communication and dispatch
        • Ensuring continuity of service
      • County Government
        • Ensure emergency responder competency
        • Legal implications associated with performance of public safety duties
        • Ability to assemble specialized resources
        • Public safety communication and dispatch
        • Ensuring continuity of service
     
      • State Government
        • Establish and ensure a baseline competency for emergency responders
        • Ability to identify and assemble specialized resources
        • Ability to mobilize resources for state and federal disaster deployments
        • Ensuring continuity of emergency services
        • Coordination with grant programs
        • Certification as a mechanism for credentialing personnel
     
     
     
     
     
     
      • Federal Government
        • Ability to mobilize appropriate resources
        • Establishment of a baseline competency for emergency responders
        • Coordination of system
        • Portability of credentials
        • Establishment of national credentials
        • Coordination with grant programs
        • Regulatory compliance
     
    ·         Business/Industry
      • Ensuring competency of response units
      • Incipient fire brigades
      • Fire brigades
      • Emergency response teams
      • Hazardous materials responseteams
      • Confined space rescue teams
      • Assessing competency of outside resources
      • Cost effective emergency response and risk management
      • Regulatory compliance
     
    ·         Insurance Industry
      • Claims reduction
      • Safety
      • Cost effectiveness
      • Risk management
     
    PROGRAM STRENGTHS
     
    Program strengths are attributes that are likely to contribute to the future success of the Pennsylvania Fire Service Certification Program. The present program strengths, which serve as a basis for proactive strategic planning, include:
     
    1.      Full-time certification program manager and assistant manager
    2.      Expanded and variable delivery mechanisms that for previously approved certification levels
    3.      Diverse background and expertise of Pennsylvania Fire Service Certification Advisory Committee members
    4.      Available levels of certification have been and continue to be expanded
    5.      Increased participation in certification program
    6.      Affordable cost to certification candidates and their departments
    7.      Voluntary Participation Recognition Program
    8.      Recognition of fire department certified personnel in state grant criteria
    9.      Positions the Commonwealth to be able to support federal credentialing process
    10. Number and diversity of field testing sites to including the Delegated Authorities
    11. Planned Intention to implement FESC initiatives
    12. Preparedness of program to support credentialing
    13. The major career fire departments and a growing number of other career departments that participate in the certification process.
    14. Understanding of and participation in the certification process is improving
    15. Effective use of website and communications
    16. Initiation of semi- annual newsletter
    17. Increased integration between the Pennsylvania Fire Service Certification Program and county and regional training programs
    18. Improvement of consistency in the quality of certification testing from site to site.
    19. Accreditation through IFSAC
    20. Support of the State Fire Commissioner
    21. Implementation of standardized training and measurement program for skills evaluators.
     
    PROGRAM WEAKNESSES
     
    Program weaknesses are factors that are likely to present challenges to the future success of the Pennsylvania Fire Service Certification Program. The present program weaknesses, that must be minimized through proactive strategic planning, include:
     
     
     
    1.      Traditional lack of commitment, funding and support from state, county and local government
    2.      Limited incentive for individuals or fire departments to certify
    3.      Lack of upper management support for certification by fire department leadership
    4.      Limited linking of certification programs to training and educational offerings
     
     
    PROGRAM ENVIRONMENTAL OPPORTUNITIES
     
    The environment within which the Pennsylvania Fire Service Certification Program exists includes social, cultural, demographic, economic, political, legal, and technological dimensions. The environment presents both opportunities and threats to the Pennsylvania Fire Service Certification Program.
     
    Pursuing these environmental opportunities will enable the Pennsylvania Fire Service Certification program to grow and more fully meet the needs of its stakeholders. The environmental opportunities that presently exist for the Pennsylvania Fire Service Certification Program and serve as a basis for this strategic plan, include:
    1.      Linking certification programs to training and educational programs
    2.      Providing incentives to individuals and fire departments that attain certification
    3.      Integrate certification offerings into “academy resident courses”
    4.      Tie certification activities to “Homeland Security” preparedness
    5.      More fire departments are requiring certification for hiring, membership and/or promotion
    6.      Partner with other statewide emergency service organizations
    7.      The role of certification in credentialing emergency response personnel for mobilization during state or federal disasters
    8.      Educate legislators in the interest of securing their support for the Pennsylvania Fire Service Certification Program
    9.      Use of grant funding to support certification
    10. Opportunity to expand to offer dual levels of Accreditation through IFSAC
     
     
    PROGRAM ENVIRONMENTAL THREATS
     
    Environmental threats have the potential to compromise the ability of the Pennsylvania Fire Service Certification Program to survive, grow and fully meet the needs of its stakeholders. The environmental threats that presently exist for the Pennsylvania Fire Service Certification Program and serve as a basis for this strategic plan include:
     
    1.      Political and other external forces
    2.      Budget reductions
    3.      Competition between state governmental agencies for scarce resources
    4.      Experiencing continued growth that is not accompanied by necessary resources
    5.      Changing state and federal laws/regulations
    6.      Lack of mechanism to subsidized the use of grant funding to off-set the costs of certification by direct subsidy to field testing sites.
     
    STRATEGIC GOALS
     
    January 1, 2010 – December 31, 2010 (Year #1)
    ·         Expand Certification Levels
    ·         Rescue Swiftwater
    ·         Fire Officer III
    ·         Instructor III
    ·         Inspector I
    ·         Industrial Fire Brigade
    ·         Update Existing Certification Levels (As Necessary Based on NFPA Standard Revisions)
    January 1, 2011 – December 31, 2011 (Year #2)
    ·         Expand Certification Levels
    o   Fireground Incident Safety Officer
    o   Hazardous Materials Emergency Medical Services - 473
    o   Hazardous Materials Incident Safety Officer
    ·         Update Existing Certification Levels (As Necessary Based on NFPA Standard Revisions)
     
    January 1, 2012 – December 31, 2012 (Year #3)
    ·         Expand Certification Levels
    o   Public Educator II
    o   Juvenile Firesetter II
    o   Ice Rescue
    ·         Update Existing Certification Levels (As Necessary Based on NFPA Standard Revisions)
     
     
    IMPLEMENTATION RESPONSIBILITY
     
    The following individuals, groups and organizations will be charged with the implementation of this strategic plan.
     
    Pennsylvania Fire Service Certification Advisory Committee
    o   Test Site Quality Assurance and Oversight Committee
    o   Program Education and Marketing Committee
    o   Training/Education/Certification Linkages Committee
    o   Compliance Committee
     
    Pennsylvania State Fire Academy
    o   Fire Service Certification Program Manager
    o   Fire Service Certification Program Assistant Manager
    o   Test Site Coordinators
     
     
    EVALUATION
     
    Progress toward attainment of the goals articulated in this plan will be reviewed and evaluated annually. This evaluation process will serve as the basis for annually updating the plan.

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