Communiqué 2013-04 Attachment: Transition from Ontario Fire Services Standards to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Professional Qualifications Standards

Communiqué du commissaire des incendies

Communiqué 2013-04 Attachment
Transition from Ontario Fire Services Standards to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Professional Qualifications Standards

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. With the transition to NFPA standards, should I stop taking the courses I’m currently enrolled in?

No. Course credits earned now will apply toward programs and levels based on NFPA standards.

  1. How much will Ontario Fire College (OFC) courses cost?

The OFC fee structure is not affected by the transition to NFPA standards.

  1. Does the transition to NFPA standards mean that I will have to take extra exams in addition to the ones I have already written as part of the OFC programs and Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) testing?

No, there will be no additional exams.

  1. Will OFC courses still be available off campus?

Yes, alternative delivery models will continue to be available, including courses by correspondence and in class in regional training centres. As part of modernization efforts, the OFC will continue to explore other means of training delivery, including online.

  1. I have completed the Fire Prevention Officer (FPO) Diploma program at the OFC. Will grandfathering apply to me?

Yes. You will be granted equivalency to the applicable NFPA 1031 level and can apply for an OFM certificate of equivalency.

  1. In regard to evaluations and grandfathering, will I have to write exams?

No. Equivalency will be based on past training accomplishments and work experience.

  1. When a firefighter completes all of the volunteer firefighter modules at the OFC or at a recognized regional training centre, will he or she be granted NFPA 1001 Firefighter I and II or will he or she still have to write component tests to obtain these levels?

The OFC’s volunteer firefighter modules “A” and “B” are each partial equivalents to NFPA 1001 Firefighter I (level 1). Additional knowledge and skill requirements will have to be met to obtain NFPA 1001 Firefighter I. Training will be required to obtain NFPA 1001 Firefighter II (level 2).

  1. I have my “trainer facilitator” designation. Will I still be able to sign off on firefighters’ skills within my fire department?

Trainer facilitators will have to take an online update course to become skill evaluators and to be certified to sign off on firefighters’ skills.

  1. I have obtained various “train-the-trainer” designations (e.g., train-the-trainer for pump operations). Can I still give “train-the-trainer” courses within my fire department?

Persons with “train-the-trainer” designation will have to take an online update course to meet the appropriate NFPA standards in order to keep their designation.

  1. I am part way through the volunteer firefighter modules. With the changeover to NFPA standards, will I get credit for the volunteer firefighter modules I have completed to date?

Yes. Course credits earned to date will apply toward programs and levels based on NFPA standards.

  1. I have a firefighter certificate from the OFM. Can I apply for a certificate attesting equivalency to NFPA 1001 Firefighter I and II?

If you have a firefighter certificate from the OFM, you are already considered as having fulfilled the requirements for NFPA 1001 Firefighter I and II, and would therefore not need any additional certificate.

  1. I have a training officer certificate from the OFM. Can I apply for equivalency to NFPA 1041 “fire service instructor”, and if so, to what NFPA level would my OFM certificate correspond?

Your fire chief may apply on your behalf for an OFM certificate of equivalency, which would give you an equivalency to NFPA 1041 Fire Service Instructor II (level 2).

  1. I have a company officer certificate from the OFM. Can I apply for equivalency to NFPA 1021 “fire officer”, and if so, to what NFPA level would my OFM certificate correspond?

Your fire chief may apply on your behalf for an OFM certificate of equivalency, which would give you an equivalency to NFPA 1021 Fire Officer II (level 2).

  1. Will the OFC still conduct prior learning assessments once the transition to NFPA standards has been completed?

The OFC’s prior learning assessment procedures will be revised to take into account the change to NFPA standards.

  1. What credit will be given to those who have not yet completed all the Company Officer Level 2 courses and to those who already finished these courses? Will this credit give them an equivalency to NFPA 1021 Fire Officer I, II, III, or IV?

Course credits earned to date will apply toward programs and levels based on NFPA standards.

Determining NFPA level equivalency will require a case by case evaluation that will take into account which courses have been completed.

  1. Our fire department has poured considerable resources into training a select number of instructors (Company Officer Level One and Level Two associate instructors). Will these instructors be able to continue to train our personnel if we decide to adopt NFPA 1021?

The Ontario Fire Service Standards are now defunct. Anyone who has completed the Company Officer Level One and Level Two Associate Instructor courses will have to take an online update course to become an associate instructor able to give courses for NFPA 1021 Fire Officer I and Fire Officer II, and would need to obtain their NFPA 1041 Fire Instructor II designation.

  1. I understand that, should our fire department decide to adopt NFPA standards, we will require instructors for Firefighter I and Firefighter II (NFPA 1001) courses. We will also need to provide a program for fire service instructor (NFPA 1041). We have eleven trainer facilitators, and two master trainer facilitators. Can the master trainer facilitators instruct and test members of our fire department and qualify them as trainer facilitators?

Trainer facilitators will have to take an online update course to become skill evaluators and to be certified to sign off on firefighters’ skills. There will no longer be a “master trainer facilitator” designation after the transition to NFPA standards has been completed.

  1. Changes always cost money. How much will the transition cost the fire department?

It is expected that there will be no substantial impact on training from the transition from the Ontario Fire Service Standards to the NFPA Professional Qualifications Standards.

  1. I have taken CO/FPO 101 and CO 401. Should I go ahead and take the course Intro to IMS to complete the requirements for Company Officer Level 1 certification?

Yes. Course credits earned now will apply toward programs and levels based on NFPA standards. In addition, by completing the requirements for your Company Officer Level 1 certification, you will be eligible to write the NFPA 1521 Incident Safety Officer certification exam.

  1. Will I get any credit for my Company Officer Level 1 certificate in order to attain the NFPA 1021 Fire Officer I level?

Yes. Course credits earned to date will apply toward programs and levels based on NFPA standards. In addition, by completing the requirements for your Company Officer Level 1 certification, you will be eligible to write the NFPA 1521 Incident Safety Officer certification exam.

  1. Will I get any credit for my Trainer Facilitator certificate in order to attain the NFPA 1041 Fire Service Instructor I level?

No. The Trainer Facilitator Presentation Skills certificate was designed specifically for the Firefighter Curriculum based on the Ontario Fire Service Standards.

  1. If all that remains for me to do is write the CO 1000 (final exam), do I still need to write this exam?

No, you do not need to write this exam. You will be eligible to apply for an OFM certificate of equivalency under the grandfathering rule.

  1. Will there be a phase-in period for those who wish to complete the current diploma programs? If yes, when will this period end?

There will be no phase-in period. Students will receive credits for courses completed and these will apply toward programs and levels based on NFPA standards. The current diploma programs, that is, programs based on the Ontario Fire Service Standards, will cease to exist on April 1, 2014.

  1. Once the transition to NFPA Professional Qualifications Standards has been completed, will I be able to challenge any of the exams?

No. The OFM Certification Policy and Procedures Manual will not allow challenges to exams in accordance with rules set by the Authority Having Jurisdiction, namely the OFM, and the accrediting bodies International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) and ProBoard.

  1. Does my Fire Prevention Officer Certificate from the OFM (based on the Ontario Fire Prevention Officer Standard) have any value now that the OFM is transitioning from the Ontario Fire Service Standards to the NFPA Professional Qualifications Standards?

Your fire chief may apply on your behalf for an OFM certificate of equivalency, which would give you an equivalency to NFPA 1031 Fire Inspector II (level 2).

  1. I have completed the courses FPO 301, FPO 302 and FPO 401 of the OFC Fire Prevention Officer Diploma Program. Will I need to start over again? Will I get credit for the courses I have taken so far?

No, you will not have to start over. Course credits earned to date will apply toward programs and levels based on NFPA standards.

  1. The existing OFC Fire Prevention Officer Diploma program allows challenge to exams. Will challenges to exams be allowed for any courses based on the NFPA 1031 standard?

No. The OFM Certification Policy and Procedures Manual will not allow challenges to exams in accordance with rules set by the Authority Having Jurisdiction, namely the OFM, and the accrediting bodies International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) and ProBoard.

  1. In the OFC Fire Prevention Officer Diploma Program, after completion of the required courses, there is one final exam required, FPO 800. Will there still be a requirement to write a final examination?

Yes. There will be a final examination for each NFPA 1031 level.

  1. I prefer to complete what I have started. Will there be a “window of opportunity” to allow me to complete the OFC Fire Prevention Officer Diploma Program (based on the Ontario Fire Prevention Officer Standard)?

No. That program will cease to exist on April 1, 2014. However, course credits earned to that date will apply toward programs and levels based on NFPA standards.

  1. The NFPA 1031 standard does not cover all the sections in the Ontario Fire Code, such as Part 4, Flammable Liquids and Combustible Liquids, and Part 9, Retrofit, of Division B. Will the OFC continue to offer courses specific to the Ontario Fire Code, including courses about the sections mentioned above?

The NFPA Professional Qualifications Standards allow for the Authority Having Jurisdiction to add requirements specific to the jurisdiction. In the case of Ontario, the Authority Having Jurisdiction, namely the OFM, will continue to offer courses specific to the Ontario Fire Code, including courses about the sections mentioned above.

  1. Is the change to NFPA Professional Qualifications Standards supported by the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC), the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association (OPFFA), the Fire Fighters Association of Ontario (FFAO), and the Ontario Municipal Fire Prevention Officers Association (OMFPOA)?

Yes. Major fire service associations support the transition from the Ontario Fire Service Standards to the NFPA Professional Qualifications Standards.

  1. Is certification still a voluntary program?

Yes. Certification is still voluntary.

  1. How are competencies going to be demonstrated and evaluated?

The accrediting bodies International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) and ProBoard require that an evaluation of knowledge and skills be conducted by qualified skill evaluators.