The Evaluation and Certification program allows fire fighters to measure their skills and knowledge against recognized international standards. Many fire departments also use Certification when assessing fire fighters for advancement or when hiring new members.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a codes and standards organization which publishes consensus based standards, developed by technical committees through user input. It is these standards that we use as a basis for the certification program.
Firefighters who want to gain certification are known as candidates. A candidate challenges the standard or standards they wish to complete. Certification is gained through a combination of recognized prerequisites, written evaluations and practical skills evaluation. Each standard has a different set of prerequisite, theory and skills requirements.
Fire Service certification in Nova Scotia is not mandated by any provincial agency. Certification, rather, is an endeavour to be undertaken voluntarily by individuals or collective members of fire departments, and is an exclusive service provided by the NSFSPQB.
In 1996, a group representing the Nova Scotia Firefighters School, Halifax Regional Municipality, Cape Breton Regional Municipality, the Office of the Fire Marshal and the Fire Officers Association of Nova Scotia met to begin the process of accreditation. As a result of that meeting and many more, the Nova Scotia Fire Service Professional Qualifications Board was formed and registered with the Joint Registry of Joint Stock Companies in 1997. The process then commenced for this board to be accredited.
There are two Fire Service accrediting agencies in North America. They are the National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications, commonly referred to as the "Pro Board", and the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress, commonly referred to as "IFSAC".
The NSFSPQB received their initial accreditation from IFSAC in 2001 and the ProBoard in 2004. To maitain our accreditation we must comply with their requirements, including an audit every five years.
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