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The agency will close at noon on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 for the Thanksgiving holiday. Normal business hours will resume on Monday, November 27, 2017.

Archived news and notes

Archive of news and notices previously published on the home page of the Texas Commission on Fire Protection's website.

Please note that some of the links in this archive page may no longer work. Links to items such as expired committee membership application forms, or e-mail links to employees no longer with the agency, etc., have been marked with a dotted underline.


2015

August 6, 2015

Commission seeks feedback on proposed new certification

At its July 30, 2015 meeting, the Texas Commission on Fire Protection received a request to consider development of a new voluntary certification with three levels: Fire and Life Safety Educator I, II and III. The certification would be based on Chapters 5, 6 and 7 of NFPA 1035. The commission is seeking feedback from the Texas fire service to gauge the level of interest. If you would like to provide input, please complete the brief survey. Thank you!


March 12, 2015

Information on performing NFPA 1851 risk assessments now available

The commission recently determined that all regulated fire departments are to conduct formal risk assessments to ensure that their personnel are provided with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE - structure or proximity) for their assigned tasks. This determination came about following a review of information contained in NFPA 1851 - Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting.

At the January 2015 meeting, the commissioners directed that:

  1. All departments are to perform a risk assessment for their organization (not just ARFF organizations or divisions).
  2. Risk assessments are to be completed no later than Feb. 28, 2017. Other situations may affect this deadline for a department, as addressed in the information packet on the commission's website.
  3. A completed risk assessment must be approved by the head of the fire department.
  4. Commission staff is to assist fire departments by providing guidance and informational material regarding risk assessments.

The commission staff has developed an information packet to assist fire departments in the completion of risk assessments. Included in the packet is an "frequently asked questions" document, several sample "templates" for risk assessment documents, and other guidance. The information is available on the website under the "Compliance" link, or you can contact your compliance officer to obtain the information. Please let us know if we can be of additional service as your department addresses this issue.


March 4, 2015

Remembering TSAFF chief of staff Mike Higgins

Mike Higgins, chief of staff of the Texas State Association of Fire Fighters (TSAFF), passed away on March 2. Higgins was instrumental in helping to establish the commission in the early 90s, and was a staunch advocate for fire fighters and fire fighter safety throughout his career. In the past two decades, he rarely missed a commission meeting, even while he was gravely ill. We will miss him. (Please see the TSAFF's website for more.)


February 26, 2015

Reminder: TPA numbers required on TEEX ProBoard certificates

Please note that after Feb. 28, 2015 all TEEX ProBoard certificates submitted as proof of training for a TCFP certification must have a "training prior approval" (TPA) number printed on them. This includes Fire Officer III, Fire Officer IV and HazMat Incident Commander certificates, which were exempt from this requirement until Feb. 28, 2015.


January 30, 2015

Commission seeks applicants for inspector and ARFF ad hoc committees

The Texas Commission on Fire Protection is seeking applicants for two new ad hoc committees to review and update the inspector and aircraft rescue fire fighter (ARFF) curricula and test banks. If you are interested in serving on one of these committees, please mail, fax or e-mail the appropriate application to the commission (desired qualifications for committee membership are listed on the application forms):

The commission will accept applications through Feb. 27, 2015. Thanks!


2014

October 27, 2014

Commission overview and update, October 2014

On Oct. 27, 2014, Executive Director Tim Rutland provided an overview of the Texas Commission on Fire Protection and its recent activities at the 16th Annual Texas Fire Marshal's Conference. A copy of the presentation is now available online.


October 20, 2014

Proposed rule revisions for inspections, head of department open for comment

UPDATE, February 2015: Rule changes under both chapters were adopted at the January 2015 commission meeting and become effective Feb. 26, 2015. Please refer to the rule revisions in progress page to view the adopted changes.

Revisions to commission rules under Chapter 445, Administrative Inspections and Penalties Link to PDF file, were approved by the commission at its October 16 meeting for publication in the Texas Register.

Also at the October 16 meeting, following extensive discussion, the commissioners directed that proposed changes to Chapter 449, Head of a Fire Department Link to PDF file, be returned to the ad-hoc committee for more review and consideration.

The commission urges stakeholders to review and submit comments Send e-mail on the proposed changes prior to the January 29, 2015 commission meeting. (Please see the agency's rule revisions in progress page to review all current proposed changes to the commission rules.)


Sept. 10, 2014

Notice to individual certificate holders

The commission recently mailed postcard reminders to all individuals who maintain their own certifications regarding the renewal period for 2015. Commission certificates expire on October 31 each year. However, if you recently applied for and received your initial certification, your certificate may not expire until October 2015.

To check your certificate's expiration date:

  • Login to iFido
  • Click the "My status" tab
  • Click on "My current status"

If you have any questions about when your certificate expires, please call the commission's certification section at (512) 936-3829.


Aug. 12, 2014

Update on ISO certification

It has come to our attention that the reference book listed in the commission's Incident Safety Officer curriculum (Certification Curriculum Manual, Chapter 10), Fire Department Incident Safety Officer, 2nd ed., 2007, by David Dodson, is no longer being printed and is available only in very limited quantities. If your training facility intends to submit a course approval request for Incident Safety Officer, please note the limited availability of this required reference.


July 15, 2014

Notice to training coordinators: minor changes to several skills

On July 8-10, 2014, the Texas Commission on Fire Protection had a site visit by a reaccreditation team from the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC), which occurs on a five-year rotation. The IFSAC team reviewed the commission's policies, procedures, test banks and skill sheets, and observed a written and skill evaluation process. The team did not find any deficiencies with the commission's testing and certification processes, but did recommend a few minor changes to test questions and skill sheets. Commission staff members corrected these items during the site visit.

The changes and additions appear in the Fire Fighter I, Hazardous Materials Technician, and Driver/Operator-Pumper skills manuals. To ensure that the commission's testing processes meet 100 percent of the applicable NFPA standards, the changes required immediate implementation. The staff has updated the applicable curriculum and skills manual chapters and has prepared a packet highlighting the changes.

UPDATE - July 17, 2014
Driver/Operator-Pumper training coordinators, please note: Several training coordinators pointed out that the recommended changes to Driver/Operator-Pumper skill sheets 11 and 13 were not feasible. Based on these findings, and through verification with our IFSAC site team, the area that they considered deficient will instead be addressed in skill sheet 10. With the IFSAC site team's approval, skill sheets 11 and 13 will remain unchanged and will contain no reference to drafting. The only change that will occur to the Driver/Operator-Pumper skill sheets is an update to skill sheet 10, adding 5.2.2 and 5.2.4 to the NFPA 1002 reference. We have updated the packet linked above to incorporate this correction. We apologize for the inconvenience - and we'd like to thank our stakeholders for their input.

If you have any questions regarding these changes, please contact Joyce Guinn, testing and course approval supervisor, at (512) 936-3816 or Grace Wilson, curriculum specialist, at (512) 936-3855.


June 27, 2014

Important notice regarding Incident Safety Officer certification

At its Aug. 7, 2014 meeting, the commission will consider a proposed rule revision to §457.3 that, if adopted, will remove the following courses from the list of approved training programs for Incident Safety Officer (ISO) certification:

  • National Fire Academy (NFA) Incident Safety Officer
  • Fire Department Safety Officer's Association Incident Safety Officer

It has been determined that the National Fire Academy ISO course does not address all the requirements of NFPA 1521, Standard for Fire Department Safety Officer, and therefore does not adequately prepare students to take the commission's certification exam. Both of these courses were included in the initial adoption of the ISO certification rules to provide several avenues for training in the absence of a commission-approved ISO curriculum. However, since the commission has now published an ISO curriculum, these courses are no longer necessary.

If the commission approves the proposed rule change at its August meeting, the proposed change will be published in the Texas Register for public comment. The commission will accept comments until its next quarterly meeting (which will take place in November or December), at which time the rule will be considered for final adoption. If adopted, the change will go into effect approximately 30 days following the meeting.

During this interim period, both courses may continue to be used to qualify for the Incident Safety Officer certification exam. However, individuals currently attending either course are strongly encouraged to thoroughly review of the commission's curriculum manual and the listed reference materials before taking the exam.


April 28, 2014

Commission seeks applicants for hazardous materials ad hoc curriculum committee

The commission is seeking applicants for a hazardous materials ad hoc committee. This committee will meet four to six times per year at commission headquarters in Austin. Committee members will be actively involved in intense review and development of fire fighter training issues. Meetings typically last two to three days. Committee members are not reimbursed for their travel expenses.

Applicants must hold, as a minimum, an Instructor I certification and a Hazardous Materials Technician certification from the commission. Active participation in training programs is also required.

Please submit a completed committee membership application by Friday, May 16, 2014. Applications can be faxed to Grace Wilson, FAX (512) 936-3808, or via e-mail to grace.wilson@tcfp.texas.gov.

The first meeting of the hazardous materials ad hoc curriculum committee will be June 9-10, 2014.


February 24, 2014

Commission to begin accepting TEEX-issued ProBoard certificates

On March 3, 2014, the Texas Commission on Fire Protection will begin accepting certain ProBoard certificates issued by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) as a new avenue toward state certification. Qualifying certificates include those issued for TEEX classes taught to the following editions of the applicable NFPA Standards:

Certification Discipline NFPA Standard Earliest Edition Allowed
Basic Fire Suppression - requires Fire Fighter I & II, HazMat Awareness and Operations 1001, 472 2008
Aircraft Rescue Fire Suppression 1003 2010
Fire Instructor I & II 1041 2007
Fire Inspector - requires Inspector I, Inspector II and Plans Examiner I 1031 2009
Driver/Operator - Pumper 1002 2009
Fire Officer I, II, III & IV 1021 2009
Hazardous Materials Technician & Incident Commander 472 2008

Before applying for a commission certification in one of the above disciplines using a TEEX ProBoard certificate, please verify the following to ensure that you qualify:

  1. Check your TEEX ProBoard certificates against the above table. Your class must have been taught to the listed (or later) edition. The certificate must show the edition.
  2. Verify with TEEX that the training course for which you earned a TEEX ProBoard certificate has a "training prior approval" (TPA) number. (Note: Fire Officer III, Fire Officer IV and HazMat Incident Commander certificates are exempt from this requirement until Feb. 28, 2015. All other certificates must include this information.)
  3. If your TEEX ProBoard certificate does not show the "TPA number," contact TEEX. (TEEX must provide verification that a training prior approval number was issued for the course and that the course was taught to a commission-approved NFPA edition. This applies for all TEEX ProBoard certificates except for FO III, FO IV and HazMat IC - see Item 2.)
  4. Review all the requirements for the commission certification for which you are applying. (These may include passing a criminal history check, completing medical training, etc.) Make sure you have completed ALL the requirements for the certification - holding a TEEX ProBoard certificate is only one step in the process of earning a commission certification.
  5. Complete TCFP-002, Application for Certification. Complete all the required fields and check all the appropriate boxes on the form. Review the instructions provided with the form to ensure your application is complete.
  6. Submit the application with copies of any required documentation, along with a check for $85 for each certificate for which you are applying, to the address listed on the form.

For more information or assistance, please call the commission's certification section at (512) 936-3829.


February 7, 2014

Commission appoints Tim Rutland as executive director

Executive Director Tim Rutland

Following a second round of interviews on Feb. 6, 2014, the Texas Commission on Fire Protection selected Tim Rutland as its new executive director. The commission interviewed nine candidates, in September 2013 and February 2014, and expressed its appreciation for all of the candidates.

Prior to his career with the commission, Rutland served 25 years with the Corpus Christi Fire Department, with responsibilities including fire suppression, emergency medical services, hazardous materials response, emergency management, and training.

Rutland began his service with the commission in July 2007 with the training approval and testing staff, and shortly thereafter became the certification and professional development supervisor. He was appointed as interim executive director in April 2013.

Upon the announcement, Rutland stated that the ten months he served in the interim position had been a great privilege, and that he was grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve.


2013

February 20, 2013

Commission seeks applicants for new head of department ad hoc committee

The Texas Commission on Fire Protection is seeking applicants for a new Head of Department ad hoc committee. The committee will review the newly adopted head of department curriculum, as well as the rules, definitions and guidelines for the head of department certification. The commission is seeking a diverse applicant pool for this committee, including paid and volunteer chiefs of small, medium and large departments; heads of a variety of departments, including suppression/prevention and prevention only departments; city managers or county judges and administrators; and fire service leaders with in-state and out-of-state experience. (The commission discussed the proposed ad hoc committee's goals at the January 2013 commission meeting Link to audio file; the head of department discussion begins at approximately 56:00.)

If you are interested in applying for this committee, please mail, fax or e-mail a completed application to: Deborah Cowan, TCFP, PO Box 2286, Austin, TX 78768-2286, FAX (512) 936-3814, deborah.cowan@tcfp.texas.gov. (If you need more space than the form provides, please feel free to attach additional pages.)

The commission will accept applications through April 19, 2013. The curriculum and testing committee will review the applications at its May 9-10, 2013 meeting.


February 15, 2013

Update on new certifications - Fire Officer III and IV, and Hazmat Incident Commander

Three new certifications will be available soon. The commission has adopted the rules for the new certifications, and the agency is preparing them for publication in the Texas Register. (We anticipate that this will occur on or about February 28.)

When the rules have been published, the commission will make the exams for these new disciplines available, and we will update the application for certification form.

The curricula and the TCFP-006 Training Facility Application for Certification are currently available; training facilities may apply for approval to teach these courses at any time.


February 11, 2013

Commission to appear before Senate Finance and House Appropriations Committees

The Texas Commission on Fire Protection is scheduled to appear before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 and the House Appropriations Committee's Subcmmittee on Articles VI, VII, & VIII on Wednesday, February 13, 2013. (The commission is not listed separately on the House Appropriations Committee's agenda, but it is anticipated that the commission will be discussed in conjunction with the Texas Department of Insurance.)


January 2, 2013

New curricula and skills available

The commission has updated the Certification Curriculum Manual with a new curriculum for Incident Safety Officer (Chapter 10) and new curricula and skills for Fire Officer III, Fire Officer IV (Chapter 9) and Basic Wildland Fire Fighter (Chapter 11). The commission has also published new Basic Fire Suppression Skills (Chapter 1). Separate skills manuals for the new sections are also available in the Curriculum Skills Manual.


2012

December 11, 2012

Governor Perry appoints Moore, Poynter to the commission

Governor Rick Perry has appointed Robert Moore of Bryan and Ronald Poynter of McKinney to the Texas Commission on Fire Protection for terms to expire Feb. 1, 2015.

Moore is director of the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) Emergency Services Training Institute. He is a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers, National Fire Protection Association, Board of Certified Safety Professionals, State Firemen's and Fire Marshals Association (SFFMA), and SFFMA Industrial Emergency Services Board. He is also a former assistant fire chief and paramedic for the Channelview Volunteer Fire Department. Moore received an associate degree from Blinn College, completed his Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic certification at Lee College, and is a graduate of the TEEX Leadership Development Program. Moore will replace former Commissioner Les Bunte as the commission's fire service instructor.

Poynter is a regional sales manager at Sklar Instruments and served for more than 23 years as a U.S. Army Medical Service Corps Officer. He is a former fire fighter and paramedic with 8 years of service in Missouri, and a former safety officer and rescue team member of the Missouri Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 1. Poynter received a bachelor's degree from Sam Houston State University and a master's degree in management from Webster University. Poynter will replace former Commissioner Tony Cortes as one of the commission's public members.


December 4, 2012 (updated Dec. 5, 2012)

December fire fighter advisory committee meeting cancelled

The Dec. 6, 2012 fire fighter advisory committee meeting has been cancelled due to a scheduling conflict. The committee has rescheduled the meeting for Jan. 8, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. in Room 1-100.


November 20, 2012

Commission seeks applicants for curriculum and testing committee

The Texas Commission on Fire Protection is seeking applications for the curriculum and testing committee. There are two vacancies on the committee.

The committee meets four to six times per year at commission headquarters in Austin. Committee members are not reimbursed for their travel expenses. Committee members will be actively involved in intense review and development of fire fighter training issues. Meetings typically last two to three days.

Applicants must hold, as a minimum, an Instructor II certification from the commission. Active participation in training programs is preferred.

Please submit a completed committee membership application by Friday, Jan. 4, 2013. Applications can be mailed, e-mailed or faxed to Grace Wilson, Texas Commission on Fire Protection, PO Box 2286, Austin, TX 78768-2286; Fax: (512) 936-3808; e-mail: Grace.Wilson@tcfp.texas.gov. The committee will review applications at its next scheduled meeting on Jan. 23, 2013.


November 15, 2012

Agency holiday schedule notice

The agency will be open during normal business hours on Monday, Nov. 19 and Tuesday, Nov. 20, but will close at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 21. Normal business hours will resume on Monday, Nov. 26.


November 14, 2012

New structural fire fighter skills coming January 1, 2013

The structural fire fighter ad hoc committee met several times over the last year to improve and update the Fire Fighter I and Fire Fighter II performance skills. The new structure skills for January 2013 will become effective on Jan. 1, 2013. Any course approvals that are dated on or after Jan. 1, 2013 will be subject to state performance skills testing with the new versions of these skills.


October 31, 2012

Commission seeks applicants for fire fighter advisory committee

The Texas Commission on Fire Protection is seeking applicants for its fire fighter advisory committee. The committee periodically reviews commission rules and recommends changes to the commission. The committee meets at least twice a year at commission headquarters. The commission cannot reimburse members for travel expenses. An application for committee membership is available. Please mail, fax or email completed applications to: Deborah Cowan, TCFP, PO Box 2286, Austin, TX 78768-2286, FAX (512) 936-3814, deborah.cowan@tcfp.texas.gov . The commission will accept applications through Dec. 17, 2012. (If you need more space than the form provides, please feel free to attach additional pages.) Thanks!


October 30, 2012

October 2012 commission meeting highlights

The following is a brief summary of the Texas Commission on Fire Protection's actions at its October 25, 2012 meeting.

Roll call

New Commissioner Pat Ekiss

In mid-September Governor Rick Perry appointed Chief Pat Ekiss of the Taylor Fire Department to replace former Commissioner Chris Connealy, for a term to run through Feb 2017. Welcome, Commissioner Ekiss!

Presiding Officer Steve Tull also announced that Commissioners Les Bunte and Tony Cortes have submitted letters of resignation to the Governor's Office.

Reports from fire service interest groups and agencies

At the request of Mike Higgins of the Texas State Association of Fire Fighters (TSAFF), the commission devoted a minute of silence in memory of Senator Mario Gallegos, who passed away last week. Higgins noted that Senator Gallegos was a great supporter of the Texas fire service; the Senator filed more than 100 bills designed to protect fire fighters throughout his legislative career.

Texas Fire Chiefs Association (TCFA) Executive Director Betty Wilkes announced the association's upcoming Leadership Summit in Hurst, December 12-13, 2012, and Fire Chiefs' Retreat in Austin, Jan. 10-11, 2013. The TFCA is also launching a Best Practices recognition program - more information will be available at the Texas Municipal League conference in November.

Groundbreaking for the State Firemen's and Fire Marshals' Association (SFFMA) new office complex began last weekend, noted SFFMA Executive Director Chris Barron. The building will include new training and seminar rooms for the fire service; the association hopes that construction will be completed by this time next year. The SFFMA will co-host with TEEX an international conference in McAllen in January 2013. The SFFMA's Firefighters Legislative Day is scheduled for March 20, 2013. An important part of the annual event is the addition of names to the monument to fallen volunteer fire fighters, which was erected in 1896; however, the monument is now, unfortunately, full. The SFFMA is working with the Capitol Preservation Board on design ideas for an expansion to the monument. Barron also submitted a position paper related to the interpretation of HB 3866 for the commission's consideration.

Assistant State Fire Marshal Kelly Kistner noted that the State Fire Marshal's Office (SFMO) is forming a stakeholders' group on fire investigations, and is moving forward with its advisory board group, which will hold its first meeting in January. The SFMO is seeking a public member for the advisory board. Kistner also noted that the SFMO is implementing an internal professional development plan for arson investigators, including advanced training and additional certifications; the SFMO is hoping to expand the program to other entities throughout the state.

The Texas Fire Marshals' Association (TFMA) President Don Jansen recently hosted a joint conference with the SFMO, and is working with fire industry groups, including pyrotechnics and fire alarm groups, to develop new legislation. The TFMA also submitted a position paper on the interpretation of HB 3866.

Final adoptions

The commission approved the following items for publication; these amendments will become effective 20 days from the date of publication in the Texas Register unless otherwise noted.


Chapter 441, Continuing Education

To help ensure that certified fire protection personnel keep current in their fields, the commission adopted a rule change which will require personnel to complete two hours of discipline-specific continuing education (CE) in disciplines to which an individual is appointed. To keep the overall number of required CE hours the same, the commission reduced the "general" CE requirement to 18 hours. (The requirement for individual certificate holders - who are not employed by a department, and who therefore are not "appointed" to any discipline - will remain at 20 hours.)

The commission also adopted a change to re-designate "Track A" and "Track B" training to "Level 1" and "Level 2," respectively.

Chapter 421, Standards for Certification

Texans who hold a state certification or license are required by the Texas Education Code to be current on their student loan payments; the commission adopted new 421.17(e) to include this requirement in its rules for fire protection personnel certification renewal. (The commission staff noted that this year it identified 49 certificate holders who were in default on their loans, and that 36 of those individuals have been brought back into compliance.)

Chapter 401, Practice and Procedure

The commission adopted several changes to this chapter; most of the changes are grammatical corrections or updates. The commission also modified two other chapters and incorporated them into this chapter - Chapter 405, Charges for Public Records, and Chapter 407, Administration. (Chapter 405 is now Chapter 401, Subchapter J, and Chapter 407 is now Chapter 401, Subchapter K.) To better capture the scope of the chapter, the commission changed its title to, "Administrative Practice and Procedure."

Chapter 403, Criminal Convictions and Eligibility for Certification

The commission adopted new sections in this chapter to spell out potential consequences of violations of the conviction reporting rules in this chapter - see new §403.15 (c), (d) and (e).

Proposed amendments, new sections, repeals, and rule reviews

The commission approved the following items for publication; these proposed amendments are now open for public comment.

Chapter 427, Training Facility Certification

The commission approved for publication new requirements to teach wildland certification courses. Basic course "unit leaders" will be required to hold the Basic Wildland and Instructor I certifications, and basic course "lead instructors" will be required to the hold Intermediate Wildland and Instructor I certifications. For intermediate courses, both the unit leaders" and "course leaders" will be required to hold the Intermediate Wildland and Instructor I certifications. (The proposed rule will also require course leaders to be present at the training.)

While the commission approved publication of the proposed rule, Fire Fighter Advisory Committee Chairman Jim Reidy will seek to clarify outstanding issues surrounding the proposed language before the commission's next meeting.

Chapter 441, Continuing Education

The commission approved for publication a proposal to require four hours of wildland-specific continuing education for certified wildland fire fighters. (These hours will be allowed to be included in the 18 "general" hours required for certification renewal.)

Chapter 449, Head of a Fire Department

The commission approved for publication several proposed changes to the Head of Department certification. The goal of the changes is to ensure that regulated heads of departments are fully acquainted with State of Texas requirements for fire service entities and fire protection personnel. In general, the commission is trying to develop a certification that will help ensure that Texas fire chiefs become familiar with state laws and commission rules, without putting and excessive burden on new chiefs, chiefs of smaller depts., etc.

While not fully settled, the basic requirements of the certification will be that the fire chief must:

  • be appointed to the position.
  • complete a standards review.
  • meet with the local commission compliance officer.
  • attend a commission meeting or a fire fighter advisory committee meeting during the first year of employment.

The proposed language also eliminates the certification exam requirement.

The commission may create an ad-hoc committee to help identify other issues surrounding the proposed changes to this certification.

Chapter 451, Fire Officer and Chapter 453, Hazardous Materials

The commission approved for publication proposed requirements for new Fire Officer III and IV certifications,as well as a new proposed Hazardous Materials Incident Commander. The commission also changed the title of Chapter 453 to "Hazardous Materials" to encompass both the HazMat Tech and Hazmat IC certifications).

Rule reviews and re-adoptions

Texas Government Code §2001.039 requires state agencies to review all rules within four years of their adoption date to determine "whether the reasons for initially adopting the rule continue to exist." The commission's review and re-adoption of these rules meets the requirements of the statute.

Appointment of new member to the Fire Fighter Advisory Committee

Chairman Reidy noted Chief Hudgin's resignation from the fire fighter advisory committee (FFAC). Hudgins served in a variety of capacities on commission boards since 1989. The commission will create a subcommittee to review applications for Chief Hudgin's replacement; an application for committee membership is available. (The commission will accept applications until Dec. 17, 2012. The commission will review applications at its January meeting, and will then likely select a candidate at its Spring 2013 meeting.)

Future meeting dates

The commission scheduled its next meeting for January 24, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. at commission headquarters.


October 29, 2012

Renewal time means busy phones

The commission's certification section is currently in the middle of its "busy season," and we're getting lots of calls about individual renewals. If you've recently sent your application for individual renewal and you don't see an immediate status update on your FIDO account, please be patient. It will help our certification section immensely if you wait ten business days before calling to check the status of your individual renewal. Thanks for your patience!


October 24, 2012

Certification wallet cards are now available

New certification wallet cards are now available to certified individuals in the FIDO system. To generate a wallet card, an individual's certifications must be active.


October 9, 2012

Commission seeks applicants for fire investigator ad hoc committee

The Texas Commission on Fire Protection is seeking applications for a new fire investigator ad hoc committee.

The committee will meet four to six times per year at commission headquarters in Austin. Committee members are not reimbursed for their travel expenses. Committee members will be actively involved in an intensive review of fire investigation training issues. Meetings typically last two to three days.

Applicants must hold, as a minimum, a Fire Investigator certification. Active participation in training programs is preferred.

To apply for membership on the committee, please submit a completed fire investigator ad hoc committee membership application by Monday, Nov. 5, 2012. Please mail, e-mail or fax completed applications to: Grace Wilson, Texas Commission on Fire Protection, PO Box 2286, Austin, TX 78768-2286, or FAX (512) 936-3808.

The curriculum and testing committee will review all applications at its meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012.


September 17, 2012

Governor Perry appoints Ekiss to Texas Commission on Fire Protection

Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Pat Ekiss of Taylor to the Texas Commission on Fire Protection for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2017.

Ekiss is the City of Taylor Fire Chief and Emergency Management Coordinator and a certified EMT/paramedic. He is a fire service instructor at the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service Emergency Services Training Institute. Ekiss is past president of the Southern Emergency Response and Preparedness Association, secretary/treasurer of the Texas Fire Chiefs Association, and is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Texas Association of Fire Service Educators, the National Fire Protection Association, the Williamson County Fire Chiefs Association, and the State Fire Marshal's Line of Duty Death Task Force Review Board. He is also a member of the Taylor Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Taylor.

Ekiss received two associate degrees from Weatherford College and is a graduate of the Texas Fire Chiefs Academy's Certified Fire Executive Program.


September 7, 2012

Note regarding signatures on department renewal invoices

Please note that each step taken by a department administrator in FIDO to validate a entity's annual renewal is considered an "electronic signature." The online renewal verification process takes the place of the physical signature that was previously required on renewal invoices submitted to the commission. (The FIDO system records all actions taken by department administrators within the system; the records of these actions serve to satisfy the statutory requirement for a signature.) For more information or questions, please contact the certification section at (512) 936-3829. Thanks!


August 23, 2012

Changes in the works for fiscal year 2013

The Texas Commission on Fire Protection's fiscal year begins on September 1. The agency has been working on several updates for the new year. Coming Sept. 4, 2012:

  • Applications for Basic and Intermediate Wildland Fire Protection and Incident Safety Officer may be submitted. (The updated application form, TCFP-002, includes these new certifications.)
  • FIDO department administrators will be able to print the certificates and IFSAC seals of personnel employed by their departments.
  • All certificates and IFSAC seals will be available in color.
  • A change in the process for entering completed Courage to be Safe classes will make it possible for FIDO administrators to also enter groups of personnel by class date instead of just individually. This should make it much more convenient and efficient when entering completion information for groups of personnel.

Additional note: Because commission forms may be amended and changed during the year, we do not recommend that you keep blank hard copies of forms on file. All current TCFP forms are readily available on the commission's website. Please discard any old forms you may have.


August 20, 2012

2011 injury report now available

The Texas Commission on Fire Protection has published its 2011 Injury Report. The report covers the commission's first full year of reporting. In calendar year 2011, Texas fire protection entities reported 4,180 injuries.

The highest number of reported injuries (1,323, or 32 percent of the total) occurred during rescue/non-fire activities. The leading rescue/non-fire injuries were strains and sprains, followed by exposure to air- and blood-borne pathogens. The second-highest number of injuries (1,179, or 28 percent) occurred during fire suppression activities. Strains and sprains were the most frequently reported injuries in fire suppression, followed by environmental injuries (heat exhaustion, poisonous plants) and wounds.

The 2010 and 2011 reports show similar results, with injuries occurring at nearly the same frequency during the same activities.

Throughout 2012, the commission has been working closely with fire departments throughout the state to identify ways to continue to refine the injury reporting program. For more information, please contact Laurie Taylor, injury reporting specialist, at (512) 936-3831.


August 1, 2012

TDEM offers hazardous material emergency preparedness training

The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) is offering Hazardous Material Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) training to local jurisdictions in Texas. TDEM began accepting training requests for the FY 2012-2013 calendar year on July 1, 2012. Complete information on the course offerings are available at www.preparingtexas.org .


July 18, 2012

Highlights from the July 2012 commission meeting

The following is a brief summary of the commission's actions from the July 11, 2012 commission meeting.

Governor appoints new presiding officer

Governor Rick Perry has appointed Commissioner Steve Tull as the commission's presiding officer, replacing Chris Connealy. Commissioner Tull is a lieutenant with the Waco Fire Department. (Connealy, who formerly held the commission position as the fire chief of a city with a population of less than 100,000, was appointed in June as the State Fire Marshal.)

TSAFF donates $2,500 to commission

The Texas State Association of Fire Fighters presented the commission with a $2,500 grant for improvements and modernizations to the commission's headquarters conference room. The new conference room will be extremely beneficial to the agency, particularly when it hosts work groups and ad-hoc committees. The agency greatly appreciates the association's contribution.

Final adoptions

The commission approved the following items for publication; these amendments will become effective 20 days from the date of publication in the Texas Register unless otherwise noted.

  1. Chapter 427, Training Facility Certification. The commission approved an amendment to §427.305 to require training providers to administer an exam the end of each phase for courses with approved phase programs (currently, the fire investigator and fire inspector courses are the only curricula approved for "phase" delivery). The commission also approved an amendment to clarify that an approved proctor must administer the end-of- training "comprehensive" exams.
  2. Chapter 431, Fire Investigation. The commission approved an amendment to §431.9 to allow criminal justice subjects related to fire and arson for the Master arson certification.
  3. Chapter 437, Fees. The commission approved a fee increase for IFSAC seals, from $10 to $15, effective Oct. 1, 2012.
  4. Chapter 439, Examinations for Certification. The commission approved an amendment to §439.1 to create a five-section test for the new intermediate wildland certification (see below), consisting of Fire Fighter I, Fire Fighter II, First Responder Awareness, First Responder Operations, and Intermediate Wildland Fire Protection. The commission also approved an amendment to §439.11 to mandate that NFPA compliant PPE and SCBA must be available for skills tests in certification disciplines in which an IDLH environment may exist.
  5. Chapter 455, Wildland Fire Protection Certification. The commission approved this new chapter to create new voluntary commission certifications for basic and intermediate wildland fire protection. The commission will waive the exam requirement for qualified individuals who apply for the certifications between Aug. 31, 2012 and Aug. 31, 2013. (Please note that the exam exemption pertains only to specified qualification routes - see the rule itself for details. After Aug. 31, 2013, all candidates for the commission wildland certification will have to pass a commission wildland certification exam.) The commission's wildland ad-hoc committee will have its first meeting on July 31, 2012 at the commission's Austin headquarters.
  6. Chapter 457, Incident Safety Officer Certification. The commission approved this new chapter to create a new voluntary certification for Incident Safety Officer. As with the new wildland certifications, the commission will waive the examination requirement for individuals who apply before Aug. 31, 2013.

Proposed amendments

The commission approved the following items for publication; these proposed amendments are now open for public comment.

  1. Chapter 441, Continuing Education. The commission approved for publication proposed amendments to rename "Track A" and "Track B" CE to "Level 1" and "Level 2," and to reduce the "general" CE requirement from 20 to 18 hours, while adding two hours of "discipline-specific" CE for each certification held by an individual who is appointed in that discipline. (So, for example, someone who holds a basic fire suppression certificate and who is assigned by his or her department as a fire fighter would have to complete two hours of basic fire suppression CE along with the 18 "general" hours, for a total of 20 hours. Individuals who are appointed to more than one discipline may have to complete more than 20 hours; a fire fighter who is assigned both to fire suppression and code enforcement inspections would have to complete the 18 "core" hours along with two hours in fire suppression and two hours in inspection). HazMat Tech will require eight additional hazardous materials CE hours. Although the commission approved this proposal for publication, the fire fighter advisory committee and staff will likely have to "tweak" the language to address some concerns over how the proposal would impact individual certificate holders, who would not be appointed to a discipline.
  2. Chapter 421, Standards for Certification. The commission approved for publication a proposed amendment to §421.17 to require commission certificate holders to be current on any student loans. (The Texas Education Code requires agencies to ensure that licensees or certificate holders are current on their loans; this amendment would ensure that the commission's rules comply with the state mandate.)
  3. Chapter 401, Practice and Procedure. The commission approved for publication a staff proposal to re-name the chapter "Administrative Practice and Procedure." Several proposed amendments, consisting primarily of grammatical changes and other minor wording changes, should help clarify existing requirements. The proposed changes also include creation of a new Subchapter J, Charges for Public Records, which will adopt by reference the Texas Attorney General's schedule for charging for public records, and a new Subchapter K, to adopt by reference the Texas Comptroller's Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) program.
  4. Chapter 403, Criminal Convictions and Eligibility for Certification. The commission approved for publication several minor wording changes to clarify existing requirements. The proposed amendments also strengthen existing requirements to notify the commission of criminal convictions.
  5. Chapter 405, Charges for Public Records. The commission approved a proposal to delete this chapter and replace it with the new Chapter 401, Subchapter J (see Item 3 above).
  6. Chapter 407, Administration. The commission approved a proposal to delete this chapter and replace it with new Chapter 401, Subchapter K (see Item 3 above).

Curriculum changes

The curriculum and testing committee has developed a curriculum for the new Incident Safety Officer certification. The commission approved the proposed new Chapter 10 for the Curriculum Manual. The agency will publish the new chapter shortly.

Injury report recommendations

The commission is charged with producing an annual report on the data gathered through the injury reporting program, with recommendations for reducing injuries. The commission's recommendations include: double-checking PPE for proper donning; maintaining situational awareness; and periodic reviews of SOPs. (The commission's final report will be appended to the State Fire Marshal's annual report.)


June 22, 2012

New online payment program for departmental renewals

Beginning Sept. 1, 2012, regulated entities will be able to submit online ACH credit payments to renew their appointed personnel. To use the new system in September, departments will need to make some arrangements NOW. Please see the notice to FIDO administrators regarding Sept. 1, 2012 renewal payments.

Please note that the online payment option for the upcoming renewal period applies only to entities. (Online payments for individuals will follow at a later date.)

Complete instructions for entity renewals will be available in FIDO once the renewal period begins on Sept. 1, 2012. If you have any questions or concerns please contact a member of our renewal team at (512) 936-3824.


June 22, 2012

Fire Officer I skills update published

Fire Officer I skills 4-6, 4-7, 4-8 and 4-12 have been revised with an effective date of Sept. 1, 2012. (We will update Chapter 9 on Sept. 1, 2012, but we're publishing the changes now to give academies time to prepare.)


June 8, 2012

New website page: 'Director's corner'

Today we're launching a new "Director's corner" page for the commission's executive staff to voice their thoughts. The inaugural post features Executive Director Don Wilson's views on when a volunteer fire fighter becomes a regulated fire fighter. Please let us know what you think - thanks!


June 4, 2012

New 'no injuries' reporting feature in FIDO

We have recently added a new process to the FIDO Injury Reporting section. A new button allows departments to report "No Injuries" for the month. (You can go back up to 24 months to report "No Injuries" for a selected month.)

To report "No Injuries" for a month:

  • Login to FIDO.
  • Go to the "Department" section.
  • Click "Manage Department."
  • Click "Injury Reporting."
  • Click "No Injuries for the Month."

The reason for collecting a "no injury" status is to provide the commission with statistics about how many entities are NOT experiencing injuries. We would like to find out from these departments what they are doing to stay safe.

Please take the time during the next week to complete this new functionality. In July we will begin running reports for the first six months to see how many departments have reported for the calendar year. Thanks - we appreciate your time!


May 29, 2012

Connealy appointed as State Fire Marshal

The Texas Department of Insurance has announced the appointment of Cedar Park Fire Chief Chris Connealy as the new State Fire Marshal. (Please see also the article in the Austin American Statesman regarding Chief Connealy's appointment.) Chief Connealy has served on the Texas Commission on Fire Protection since 2006, and was appointed Presiding Officer by Governor Rick Perry in January 2009.


May 2, 2012

TFSC announces forensic science conference, June 4-5

The Texas Forensic Science Commission and the Court of Criminal Appeals Criminal Justice Integrity Unit will conduct a Joint Conference on Forensic Science, June 4-5, 2012, in the Texas Capitol Auditorium. The conference will include a 90-minute session on the first day about recent trends in arson investigation, taught by Dr. John DeHaan. The conference sponsors encourage Texas fire and arson investigators to attend the free conference. For more information please visit the Texas Forensic Science Commission website.


April 20, 2012

State and local initiatives enhance fire fighter safety

Don Wilson, Chief Kerwood, Chris Connealy at April commission meeting
Paul Maldonado and Chief Eric Metzger at SWFR
Chief Earl Foster and Don Wilson at SWFR

One of the Texas Commission on Fire Protection's most important roles is to help improve the safety of Texas fire fighters. Within the last biennium, the commission initiated two important programs to address the issue of fire fighter safety: the "Courage to be Safe" program, and the fire fighter injury reporting system. Several statewide fire service stakeholder groups provided input into the development of these programs, including the State Firemen's and Fire Marshals' Association (SFFMA), the State Fire Marshal's Office (SFMO), the Texas State Association of Fire Fighters (TSAFF), the Texas Fire Chiefs' Association (TFCA) and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF).

To help improve the safety of Texas fire fighters, the commission is developing an injury investigation reporting document to help investigate "near misses." By making this form available to the fire service, and providing technical assistance when necessary, we hope to help everyone learn from "near miss" events. The intent of the project is to facilitate a complete and unbiased review of all aspects of an event, including:

  • The department's role (for example, department standard operating procedures).
  • Personnel functions and the level of performance and proficiency.
  • Personnel training.
  • Equipment deployed and its performance.
  • Command structure during the event.

To succeed, these reviews must explore both strengths and weaknesses found at the event. The goal of the review is to gain a better understanding of the occurrence and to learn what steps might be necessary to prevent such events from occurring in the future.

"Courage to be Safe" focuses on implementing a culture of safety within fire departments. It includes 16 Life Safety Initiatives. Initiative 9, "Fatality, Near-Miss Investigation," focuses on the importance of learning from "near miss" events. The commission would like to recognize a few departments that, true to their mission and members, took the difficult and sometimes uncomfortable steps to change their culture by evaluating "near miss" events, thus fostering a safety culture within their departments:

  • On June 5, 2011, the Wichita Falls Fire Department had a structure fire in an attached garage. Two of their fire fighters received burns.
  • On June 17, 2011, the Flower Mound Fire Department had a structure fire in a two story residential home. Two of their fire fighters received burns.
  • On September 5, 2011, Hutto Fire Rescue had a structure fire in a residential structure with an attached garage. Two of their fire fighters received burns.

The commission would also like to recognize the entities that are actively participating in the fire fighter injury reporting program. The high quality of information that departments are providing is contributing to our knowledge base. This helps us to provide solid recommendations and up-to-date information about what is happening throughout the state. Our bigger departments, including San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, El Paso and Corpus Christi, have been particularly active. We would like to thank all the reporting departments and their chiefs for encouraging and participating in the program.

For more information about "Courage to Be Safe," fire fighter injury reporting, or any other TCFP initiatives, please contact the agency at (512) 936-3838 or info@tcfp.texas.gov.


March 30, 2012

April commission meeting notebook posted

Links to the agenda and commission meeting notebook for the April 12, 2012 commission meeting are now available on our meeting archives page.

Please note that the commission will consider two newly proposed voluntary certifications for publication: a voluntary wildland certification and a voluntary incident safety officer certification. The commission encourages your participation and feedback on these proposed certifications. (The commission will be reviewing these proposals for first publication. If the commission acts on the proposals at its April meeting, it will be to publish the proposed rules in the Texas Register for a 90-day public comment period. After the public comment period, the commission will then review any comments it receives and consider the rules for possible final adoption at its July 2012 meeting.)


March 12, 2012

Commission seeks applicants for wildland fire fighter ad hoc committee

The Texas Commission on Fire Protection is seeking applications for a new wildland fire fighter ad hoc committee.

The committee will meet four to six times per year at commission headquarters in Austin. Committee members are not reimbursed for their travel expenses. Committee members will be actively involved in the creation of a new wildland fire fighter curriculum, as well as an intensive review of other wildland-related training issues. Meetings typically last two to three days.

Applicants must hold, as a minimum, an Instructor II certification from the commission and a wildland certification/credential from another recognized certifying entity. Active participation in training programs is preferred.

To apply for membership on the committee, a letter of financial support from the applicant's fire chief is required. (If the applicant is a fire chief, a letter of support from either the mayor or city manager is required.) Please submit the letter of support along with a completed wildland fire fighter ad hoc committee membership application by 5:00 p.m., Apr. 16, 2012. Applications should be mailed to the attention of Grace Wilson, Texas Commission on Fire Protection, PO Box 2286, Austin, TX 78768-2286.

The curriculum and testing committee will review applications at its next scheduled meeting on May 30-31, 2012.


January 27, 2012 (updated March 7, 2012)

Texas Forest Service announces upcoming wildfire academies

The Texas Forest Service (TFS) will conduct the Junction Wildland Fire Training Event over two weekends, Apr. 28-29 and May 5-6, 2012. (The event will include a "Courage to Be Safe" program on Apr. 29.) TFS will also conduct the East Texas Interagency Wildfire & Incident Management Academy in Lufkin, May 15-25. For more information, please visit the Texas Interagency Coordination Center's training page.


March 7, 2012

Texas Commission on Fire Protection fills two leadership positions

The Texas Commission on Fire Protection has recently filled two key management positions. Mike Baker will serve as the Standards Director and Paul Maldonado will serve as the Compliance Manager.

Mike Baker has served for more than 30 years in a variety of Texas fire service positions. A native of Marshall, Baker achieved the rank of fire lieutenant with the Marshall Fire Department and later served as fire chief in Bonham, San Marcos and Copperas Cove.

Baker is currently serving as the Second Vice President, of the Texas Fire Chiefs Association's Executive Board, and has taught fire service courses at the Texas Fire Academy and the Texas Engineering Extension Service's Emergency Services Training Institute.

Baker holds an associate's degree in Fire Protection Technology from Kilgore College and a bachelor's of business administration degree from LeTourneau University.

As the Standards Director, Baker will be in charge of implementing the commission's directives regarding fire protection personnel testing and certification, as well as the agency's library, injury reporting system, and curriculum development program.

Paul Maldonado served as the Texas State Fire Marshal for seven years. He oversaw numerous statewide initiatives, including fire safe cigarettes and the "Have an Exit Strategy" campaign.

A native of Caldwell, Maldonado served with the Austin Fire Department for more than 25 years. He has served as Vice President of the International Fire Marshals Association and is a member of the National Fire Protection Association and International Fire Chiefs Association.

Maldonado holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

As the Compliance Manager, Maldonado will oversee the commission's inspection and test auditing programs as well as the commission's field offices.


March 2, 2012

Advisory committee to consider new voluntary certifications

At its upcoming March 8, 2012 meeting, the fire fighter advisory committee will review proposals for two new commission certifications: a wildland certification and an incident safety officer certification.

The commission staff and committee members have received several inquiries about the proposed certifications. First of all, we would like to emphasize that these certifications are being proposed as voluntary certifications. In developing the new rule language, the commission staff has consulted with several fire service stakeholders, particularly with regard to the proposed wildland certification. The certification staff has met with the Texas Forest Service (TFS), the State Firemen's and Fire Marshals' Association (SFFMA), the Texas State Association of Fire Fighters (TSAFF) and the Texas Fire Chiefs Association (TFCA) to work out the details of this certification. Similarly, the commission staff worked with several training providers to work out the details of the proposed incident safety officer certification.

Please review the proposed language. We would like to point out that the proposed wildland certification language is particularly accommodating to current holders of IFSAC and SFFMA wildland certifications, creating a "bridge" between existing certifications offered by other entities and the newly proposed state certification.

The fire fighter advisory committee welcomes comments on the proposed certifications and encourages members of the Texas fire service to attend the March 8 meeting. (From a logistical standpoint, we'd also like to note that the fire fighter advisory committee's review on March 8 represents the "ground floor" of the rulemaking process, so this is a good time to participate and make your concerns known.) Thanks!


February 23, 2012

Advisory committee meeting time change

Please note that the start time for the March 8, 2012 fire fighter advisory committee has changed to 8:00 a.m. The meeting agenda and notebook materials are available on the calendar page.


January 13, 2012

Commission seeks fire school liaison

Chief Mike Hunt, the commission's liaison to the TEEX-ESTI Fire School Advisory Board, has recently resigned his commission position. The commission is soliciting applications for his replacement.

The commission's liaison attends both the Fire School Advisory Board's quarterly meetings and the commission's quarterly meetings to facilitate communications between the two entities.

To apply, the commission would like to see a letter of interest expressing your qualifications, your fire service resume, and a letter of support from your fire chief (or city manager if you're currently serving as a chief). The liaison position is an unpaid, volunteer position.

The commission will review applications for the position at its next quarterly meeting in April 2012. Thanks!


2011

November 3, 2011

Commission appoints Don Wilson as executive director

On Oct. 28, 2011, the Texas Commission on Fire Protection appointed Don Wilson as the agency's new executive director, effective Dec. 1, 2011. Wilson has served as the agency's deputy director of compliance since January 2011.

The commission thanked all the candidates who competed for the position. "We had great candidates," said Chris Connealy, the commission's presiding officer. "We appreciate their ongoing support of the agency and of the Texas fire service."

Jake Soteriou, who has been serving as the agency's interim director since September, will retire Dec. 31, 2011.


September 26, 2011

New CTBS reporting module available

The module for department administrators to report their employees' completion of the Courage To Be Safe program is now available in the Department Management section of FIDO. In accordance with , all certified personnel must complete the program by Dec. 15, 2015. (Employees hired after that date will have one year from the date of their appointment to complete the training.)


September 21, 2011

Comptroller highlights Texas emergency response efforts

As drought has battered our state this year, Texas fire departments have battled thousands of wildland fires across the state, including the massive Possum Kingdom fire back in April and September's Bastrop Complex fire. When wildfires get moving in Texas, fire departments -- paid and volunteer units combined -- are on the front lines battling to save lives and property. Learn more about the men and women behind those efforts as well as the funding, training and personnel challenges facing fire departments, in a special preview edition of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts' September 2011 Fiscal Notes publication, Texans on the Fire Line.


September 15, 2011

Lawmakers provide additional funding for volunteer fire departments

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Texas House Speaker Joe Straus requested that Texas Forest Service expedite the distribution of $27 million for the Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program and made an additional $5 million available to pay for firefighting equipment and other expenses resulting from the unprecedented wildfire season this year.

"Due to the extreme drought conditions and destructive wildfires that have burned millions of acres across the State of Texas this year, we believe it is vitally important to provide volunteer fire departments with the critical resources they need to save lives and protect property when dangerous wildfires threaten their communities," the three state leaders said in a letter sent Wednesday to the director of Texas Forest Service.

The funds will be administered by Texas Forest Service and distributed via grants to volunteer fire departments. As directed, the grant applications will be screened to prioritize funding for volunteer fire departments hardest hit by this year's wildfires.

"Volunteer firefighters are our first line of defense here in Texas so we're thrilled to hear about the additional funding set aside for them and we are thankful to Gov. Perry, Lt. Governor Dewhurst, Speaker Straus and the Legislature for their continued support and leadership. We'll make these emergency grants a priority," said Texas Forest Service Director Tom Boggus.

Texas Forest Service will be getting more information out to volunteer fire departments within the next few days.


September 7, 2011

Attention: Chief training officers and coordinators

We have created a new TCFP-030, Training Prior Approval Application (TCFP-030) form. The new form streamlines the instructor reporting requirements for certification courses. You will no longer have to list your instructors, but instead will attest that your instructors are qualified to teach the applicable certification discipline. If you have any questions regarding the new form or reporting process, please contact Mollie Clakley, training approval and testing program supervisor, at (512) 936-3815.


September 1, 2011

Commission seeks applicants for two new ad hoc committees

The Texas Commission on Fire Protection is seeking applications for a new Structure Ad Hoc committee and for a Fire Officer III and IV committee. Each committee will consist of about six members.

The committees will meet about four times per year at commission headquarters in Austin. Committee members are not reimbursed for their travel expenses. Committee members will be actively involved in either the intense review and development of Basic Structural Fire Fighting training issues, or the creation of new curricula and training programs for Fire Officer III and Fire Officer IV certifications. Committee meetings typically last two to three days.

Applicants must hold, as a minimum, the following qualifications:

Structure ad hoc committee

  • TCFP-certified Instructor I.
  • Demonstrated teaching experience in a TCFP-approved Basic Fire Fighter certification program.
  • Active participation in training programs is preferred.
  • (Structure ad hoc committee application form.)

Fire Officer III and IV ad hoc committee

  • TCFP-certified Fire Officer II (completion of Fire Officer III and IV training preferred).
  • Company or Chief Officer experience preferred.
  • Active participation in training programs is preferred.
  • (Fire Officer III-IV ad hoc committee application form.)

To apply for membership on either committee, a letter of support from the applicant's fire chief is required. (If the applicant is a fire chief, a letter of support from either the mayor or city manager is required.)

Please submit the letter of support along with a completed committee membership application by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 31, 2011. Applications should be mailed to the attention of Grace Wilson, Texas Commission on Fire Protection, PO Box 2286, Austin, TX 78768-2286. Applications may also be submitted by e-mail to Grace Wilson or by fax to (512) 936-3808.

The curriculum and testing committee will review applications at its scheduled meeting in November 2011.


August 3, 2011

Executive director retires; standards director to serve as interim director

The executive director of the Texas Commission on Fire Protection, Gary L. Warren Sr., has announced his retirement from the agency effective Aug. 31, 2011. The commission has appointed the agency's standards division director, John (Jake) Soteriou, as interim director effective Sept. 1, 2011 while it conducts its search for Warren's replacement.

Warren has served as executive director since October 1995. At the Aug. 1, 2011 commission meeting at which he announced his retirement, Warren thanked the commissioners and the Texas fire service for their support throughout the years.

"I would like to thank you once again for the opportunity to have served the fire service of the State of Texas in such a special way...this place will be burned into my memory forever," said Warren.

"Thank you for your service," said Presiding Officer Chris Connealy, "and thank you for your passion for the Texas fire service...you've built an agency with some very good people around you that has certainly advanced the Texas fire service. Where we are today, and more importantly where we progress in the future, all comes from the foundation that you have created. That's something to take great pride in."

The commission has posted the executive director's position and will begin reviewing applications at its Oct. 5, 2011 meeting.


August 2, 2011

Commission sets fees at $85

At its Aug. 1, 2011 meeting, the Texas Commission on Fire Protection approved an increase to the certification, renewal and test application fees. Beginning Sept. 1, 2011, these fees will increase to $85. The fee increase resulted from changes to the commission's FY 2012-13 budget enacted by the 82nd Texas Legislature.


July 20, 2011

August 1 commission meeting materials posted

Links to the agenda and notebook materials for the Aug. 1, 2011 commission meeting are now available on the calendar meeting archives page.


July 1, 2011

Commission rolls out new public website and FIDO application

The Texas Commission on Fire Protection has rolled out a new public website and FIDO application effective 1 July 2011. This new roll out is done to make finding information on our websites/applications easier and to implement the state directive of being part of the texas.gov domain. Please update any bookmarks you have to the new URL addresses. A link to the FIDO application is provided in the menu at the top of this website.


June 7, 2011

Continuing education (CE) requirements for October 31, 2011 renewals

Please note that you cannot submit your application for renewal, fees or CE until Sept. 1, 2011.

The annual continuing education (CE) requirement to renew all certificates held is 20 hours (except for hazardous materials technician). If you also hold a Hazmat Technician certificate, an additional 10 hours of Hazmat Technician-level CE is required (for a total of 30 hours).

This year, the agency adjusted the annual renewal date for "individual certificate holders" from April to October. To make this change, the agency issued "pro-rated" renewals to individual certificate holders, which kept the certificates active from April 2011 through October 2011.

  • If you received one of these "pro-rated" renewals for the period between April - October 2011, you will have to submit 10 hours of CE completed after May 1, 2011 when you renew in October 2011.
  • If you got your INITIAL certificate after Nov. 1, 2010, or if your last certificate renewal covered the period of Oct. 31, 2010 through Oct. 31, 2011 (in other words, you did not get a "pro-rated" renewal), you will have to submit 20 hours of CE completed after Nov. 1, 2010 when you renew in October. (If your department pays for your certificate, you are NOT an "individual certificate holder," in which case this second option likely applies to you. An "individual certificate holder" is an individual who pays for his or her own certification. Most certificate renewals are paid for by employers.)

The commission will mail renewal reminders in August 2011. If you are unsure when you last renewed your certificate, or what period your previous renewal covered, please call (512) 936-3829.


May 27, 2011

Commission votes to publish fee increase proposal

On Friday, May 27, the Texas Commission on Fire Protection voted to publish a proposed increase to the certification, renewal and testing fees to $85. The meeting notebook and recording are available on the commission's calendar archives page. The proposed increase will come to the commission for final adoption on Aug. 1, 2011.


May 20, 2011

Commission to hold special meeting on fee increases

On Monday, May 16, the 82nd Legislature's Budget Conference Committee voted to adopt the House Appropriations budget proposal that has a contingency rider requiring the commission to generate $3,373,385 for the 2012-13 biennium to go into the general revenue fund, predicated on the commission raising the fees to $85.

At the April 28, 2011 commission meeting, commissioners voted to set the certification fee up to $65 in the spirit of trying to minimize the impact of fee increases on the fire service. However, the $65 fee limit will not meet the requirements adopted by the conference committee on House Bill 1.

The commission will have a special meeting on May 27, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. in the William B. Travis State Office Building in Room 1-104 to vote on raising the fees to $85.


May 6, 2011

Commission approves renewal fee increase of 'up to' $65

At its April 28, 2011 meeting, the Texas Commission on Fire Protection approved an increase in the fees for certifications and renewals. The increase will help keep the commission in operation through the next biennium.

The commission adopted rule language under Chapter 437 that will allow it to raise certification and renewal fees to a maximum of $65. The new fees should be in effect starting with the next renewal cycle in October 2011.

In March the commission published a proposal to increase the fees from the current $35 to $85. The commission received many comments during the public comment period on the proposed change. Significantly, the chiefs of the state's six largest fire departments, while generally supportive of the commission, objected to the increase.

After several hours of public testimony and debate at its April meeting, the commissioners voted to approve an increase, although lower than the proposed $85.

"This is one of the most difficult issues the commission has ever faced," said Presiding Officer Chris Connealy.

The 82nd Legislature has not yet finalized the state's appropriations bill for the upcoming biennium, so it is not yet certain whether the agency will raise the renewal fee to the newly approved maximum of $65. The new rule language states that the commission may collect "up to" $65 for the renewals, which will give the commission flexibility to adjust the renewal fee to an amount high enough to cover its expenses and to meet its obligations to return revenue to the state's General Fund - but the commissioners were adamant in their desire not to raise the fees any higher than necessary to keep the agency in business.

As the current legislative session draws to a close, the agency should have a clearer picture of how high it will have to set the certification and renewal fees. We will provide more information as it becomes available.


March 23, 2011

Commission library receives $3,500 grant from State Farm Insurance

On March 17, 2011, the Texas Commission on Fire Protection's Ernest Emerson Fire Protection Resource Library received notice that it was awarded a grant from State Farm Insurance under its Safe Neighbors: Home Safety Grants Program. State Farm Insurance gave $3,514.66 to the Emerson Library to support its P3 Collection Development Program - Prevention, Planning, and Preparedness for Texans.

"This grant will assist in the purchasing of new, high-quality fire and emergency prevention audio visual resources aimed at the children and senior citizens of Texas," said Laura Bucaro, the agency's librarian.

Across the nation in 2009, fires and burns were the third leading cause of unintentional fatal injuries to children age 14 or younger. The relative risk of individuals aged 65 and older of dying in a fire is 2.5 times greater than the general population. Parents, teachers, caregivers, senior groups and local fire departments make up the usual fire prevention and planning instructors for children and seniors. These training resources will be marketed directly to these instructors, with an emphasis on smaller rural locations throughout the state. The library will follow up with borrowers to determine the usefulness and later effectiveness on the served populations. Additionally, State Farm Insurance and the Emerson Library will coordinate an outreach program during Fire Prevention Week (October 2-8, 2011) to educate the citizens of Texas about these resources and their importance in keeping their communities and families safe. Organizations interested in participating in the outreach program should contact Laura Bucaro for more information.

The Texas Commission on Fire Protection thanks State Farm Insurance for its support of the library's collection and its dedication to keeping Texans safe from fires and other emergencies.


March 14, 2011

Commission approves proposal to increase fees

The Texas Commission on Fire Protection held a special meeting on Monday, March 14, 2011, to discuss raising all fees (certification, testing and renewal) from $35 to $85. The commission approved the fee increase for publication. The proposal will now go to the Texas Register for a 30-day comment period, and the commission will consider it for final adoption at its April 28, 2011 meeting. (A recording of the meeting is available on the commission's calendar archive page: March 2011 AM Link to audio file.


February 9, 2011

Governor and legislature recommend changes to the commission

As the 82nd Legislative session opens, the Governor and the Texas Legislature have proposed several cost-saving reforms throughout state government. The Texas Commission on Fire Protection is among many agencies slated for changes.

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have proposed eliminating the agency's indirect administration functions (payroll, accounting, HR, IT, etc.) and attaching the agency's administrative functions to the Texas Department of Insurance. The Governor's budget, on the other hand, proposes merging the fire commission with the Commission on Jail Standards and the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officers Standards and Education to create a new public safety licensing agency, with similar reductions to the agency's indirect administrative budget. Both proposals appear to leave most of the agency's primary functions (i.e., certifications and inspections) intact. (Specifics regarding the budget proposals are available from the Legislative Budget Board and Governor's Office.)

Commissioners and agency staff will be attending a series of hearings before the House Appropriations Committee and Senate Finance Committee throughout the legislative session, which closes at the end of May. The agency encourages members of the Texas fire service to attend the hearings and provide feedback on the budget proposals to the state's leaders.


February 8, 2011

Safety notice regarding Blaze-Fighter gloves

The commission has recently become aware of a safety issue involving the "Blaze-Fighter" glove manufactured by The Glove Corporation. On Jan. 14, 2011, The Glove Corporation issued a safety notice regarding the gloves, and on Feb. 3, 2011 the New York Times published an article regarding the issue as it affected the FDNY. A follow-up article appeared on FireRescue1.com on Feb. 7, 2011. The commission advises Texas fire departments to take appropriate actions to protect their personnel.


February 1, 2011

Attention individual certificate holders - important

The commission is changing the annual certification expiration date for individual certificate holders to October 31 of each year. If your certification(s) expire Apr. 30, 2011, you will pay a one-time pro-rated fee to renew your certificate for six months (until October 31).

All individual certificate holders should review the renewal FAQs and certification notices and alerts for important details regarding the fees and documents that you will submit to the agency for your renewal.


January 11, 2011

Governor Perry appoints McMakin to Texas Commission on Fire Protection

Gov. Rick Perry has appointed John T. McMakin to the Texas Fire Protection Commission for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2013. McMakin is fire chief of the LaRue-New York Volunteer Fire Department Inc. and vice president of the Henderson County 911 Communication District. He is a member of the State Firemen's and Fire Marshals' Association, and a member and past president of the Henderson County Fire Chiefs Association. He is also a past member of the Texas Fire Chiefs Association and the National Volunteer Fire Council. McMakin attended the University of Texas.


January 7, 2011

Online certificate printing now available

Beginning Jan. 7, 2011, the Texas Commission on Fire Protection has put into production the ability for fire departments and individuals to print certificates and seals electronically. This includes all fire protection personnel certifications, IFSAC seals, and training facility certifications. Individuals and departments can print certificates and seals on demand:

  • To print an individual certificate or seal, login to your individual FIDO account.
  • To print a training facility certificate, FIDO administrators should login to their department accounts.

The commission will no longer print or mail certificates or seals. For more information or assistance, please contact the commission's certification section at (512) 936-3838.


2010

December 3, 2010

Duty change process available in FIDO

The ability to appoint to duties, to make changes of duty and to change employment status is now available in FIDO for department administrators. Department administrators can now perform these functions without having to send paperwork to TCFP. Only appointments to Head of Department or Arson Investigation still require agency staff to process them.


December 1, 2010

Training facilities renewal available in FIDO

Departments with training facilities should generate and print their training facility renewal invoice in the "department management" section of FIDO.


November 10, 2010

Attention ARFF training facilities: rule change

The state performance evaluation skills from Chapter Two of the Curriculum Manual (Basic Aircraft Rescue Fire Suppression) have been revised. The skills now reflect the recent rule change that was passed at the Oct. 20, 2010 commission meeting. Please refer to .


October 22, 2010

Commission welcomes two new members

Commissioner PerezCommissioner CortesAt the October 20 meeting of the Texas Commission on Fire Protection, Presiding Officer Chris Connealy swore in two new commissioners: Chief Lenny Perez of the Brownsville Fire Department, and Tony Cortes of San Antonio.

Flag presentationDuring the meeting, commission staff member Jeffrey Morales, who recently returned from an active duty deployment, presented the commission with a US flag that was flown over Iraq. The commission thanked Morales and all members of the military for their service.

Also at the October meeting, the commission approved updates to four curricula: Driver Operator, Inspector and Fire Officer I and II. (A presentation highlighting the changes in the curricula is also available.) The commission also approved for publication a new rule requiring Texas fire fighters to complete the Courage to be Safe program by Dec. 1, 2015. The proposal will come up for final adoption at the Jan. 26, 2011 commission meeting.

The commission is seeking applications for a new member for the fire fighter advisory committee. An application form is available; the deadline for applications is Dec. 17, 2010. The commission will appoint the new member at its January meeting.

Audio recordings of the October commission meeting are available on the calendar archives page.


August 24, 2010

Appropriations process for next session begins

Commission Presiding Officer Chris Connealy, Commissioner Micheal Melton, Executive Director Gary Warren and other agency staff attended a Joint Budget Hearing (Real Media file) on Friday, Aug. 20, 2010. The hearing was the first step in the state leadership's review of the agency's Legislative Appropriations Request for FY 2012-2013.


July 29, 2010

Important notice: New certification renewal procedures for departments

The agency will NOT mail certification renewal statements to departments this year.

Beginning early September 2010, the commission will make available a new web-based renewal process in the FIDO system. Regulated entities will be able to get their renewal invoice by following the procedure below.

The designated person in a department (Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 account holders) will:

  • Log on to the fire department's FIDO account.
  • Review the information regarding the department's personnel and make necessary employment changes.
  • Review the continuing education (CE) for certified employees and validate CE.
  • Validate that the information is correct and accurate.
  • Generate and print the invoice that will appear.
  • Obtain the head of the department's signature on the invoice.
  • Mail the invoice, with EXACT payment, to the commission.

In late August, the commission will mail each regulated entity a "time to renew" notice. The notice will include general information regarding the new procedures. The FIDO renewal module will include specific step-by-step instructions.

Please contact a member of the certification staff at (512) 936-3838 if you have any questions about the upcoming renewal process. Thanks!


July 6, 2010

Attention training facilities: performance skills changes

Due to recent rule changes in of the Standards Manual, some skills had to be revised:

  1. Driver Operator: Routine Inspections, Maintenance and Documentation Skills 1, 2 and 3, were revised and are now called Preventive Maintenance Skill 1 and General Skill 2. There is not a Skill 3.
  2. Fire Officer I: Human Resource Management Skills 3 and 4 were combined to become Human Resource Management Skill 3. There will not be a Human Resource Management Skill 4.
  3. Fire Officer I: Community and Government Relations Skills 6 and 7 were combined to be Community and Government Relations Skill 6. There will not be a Community and Government Relations Skill 7.
  4. Instructor II and Instructor III skills: Some wording has been removed or revised on the first page of some of the skills in these chapters.

For more information, please contact Larry Whitis, curriculum and test development supervisor, phone (512) 936-3822.


June 1, 2010

Governor appoints Cortes to commission

Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Tony Cortes of San Antonio to the Texas Commission on Fire Protection for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2015. Please join us in welcoming our newest commissioner!


Feb. 26, 2010

Attention fire chiefs and heads of departments:
Please assign an "online account owner"

In order to meet new online information-gathering requirements (including online injury reporting), the commission is implementing several changes to its website security. The commission recently mailed a letter to the heads of all regulated entities requesting the assignment of a "department online account owner." In the letter, the commission has asked department heads to mail a letter on the department's letterhead to the commission designating an "online account owner."

(UPDATE 9/23/2010: The agency has published a form, TCFP-019, FIDO Account Owner Designation, for departments to request re-assignment of the department's Account Owner.)


Originally posted Jan. 25, 2010. Reposted Feb. 16, 2010

Commission passes mandatory fire protection personnel injury reporting rules

During the 81st Legislative session, the Texas Legislature passed a law (Texas Government Code, §419.048) requiring the Texas Commission on Fire Protection to begin gathering and analyzing fire service injury data. At its January 2010 meeting, the commission adopted new rules (Texas Administrative Code, new section ) requiring regulated entities to report injuries to the commission. Agency staff will mail instructions to fire chiefs about how to set up online departmental accounts and how to access the online injury reporting form within the next few weeks.


Originally posted Dec. 3, 2009. Updated Jan. 6, 2010.

Important notice regarding criminal history checks

Beginning Jan. 1, 2010, two important changes went into effect for criminal history background checks for prospective fire protection personnel. These changes affect WHEN and HOW criminal history checks are performed. For detailed information, please see:

  • Overview for fire departments appointing personnel to duties.
  • Overview for individuals applying for their first certification with the commission (for personnel not currently employed by a fire protection entity).

2009

Oct. 30, 2009

Former commissioners honored

Commissioner Stalder honored (photo by Chief Roy Mercer, Sugarland Fire Department)At the Texas Commission on Fire Protection's October meeting, Amy Baillargeon of the Governor's Office and Presiding Officer Chris Connealy presented former Presiding Officer Kelley Stalder and former Assistant Presiding Officer Juan Adame with plaques and letters honoring their service to the State of Texas. Both commissioners began their service with the Texas Commission on Fire Protection in 1995.

Commissioner Adame honored (photo by Chief Roy Mercer, Sugarland Fire Department)"In the fire service, I'm always impressed by those individuals who go beyond expectations," said Presiding Officer Chris Connealy. "We're expected to go to our job, we're expected to put in a hard day's work, but we're not necessarily expected to get involved with other issues surrounding the profession. These two gentlemen...are heroes of mine; they epitomize service above self. They've given so much to the Texas fire service. I don't know that any of us truly know the level of service that they've provided to make our profession better, safer...when people of this caliber donate their time and sacrifice family, time and other pursuits to serve the needs of the greater good - being the Texas fire service - you've got to admire the heck out of them."


June 8, 2009

Governor appoints four new commissioners, re-appoints two

Governor Rick Perry's office has announced the appointment of four new members of the Texas Commission on Fire Protection: John W. Green of San Leon, Carl Gene Giles of Carthage, Kimberly A. Shambley of Dallas, and Steven C. Tull of Valley Mills. The Governor also re-appointed Les Bunte Jr. of Bryan and Yusuf Farran of El Paso. Congratulations to the new and returning commissioners!


Jan. 20, 2009

Governor appoints new presiding officer

On Jan. 15, 2009, Governor Rick Perry designated Commissioner Christopher M. Connealy as Presiding Officer of the Texas Commission on Fire Protection. Connealy is replacing Commissioner Kelley Stalder of Parker as presiding officer.


2008

Dec. 4, 2008

Governor appoints three to Texas Commission on Fire Protection

Governor Rick Perry has appointed Art Pertile of Katy, Micheal Melton of Gilmer, and Rhea Cooper of Lubbock to the Texas Commission on Fire Protection. Pertile was re-appointed; Melton replaces Commissioner David Abernathy, whose term has expired; and Cooper replaces Commissioner Juan Adame, whose term has also expired. The new terms will run through Feb. 1, 2013. Please see the Governor's appointment announcement for more about the newly appointed commissioners.


Oct. 20, 2008

Commission ends wallet cards

At the Oct. 16, 2008 commission meeting, the commission decided that the agency will no longer provide printed certification renewal cards (wallet cards) to departments or individual certificate holders. Certifications may be verified as needed on this website on the certification verification page.

UPDATE: Individuals can now print their own certification cards from their FIDO accounts.


May 1, 2008

Texas Forest Service launches fire department directory

Fire departments are the primary responders to emergencies and disasters; however, because there has been no central registry for fire departments within Texas, it can be difficult to assess the state's overall capacity to respond. In response to this the Texas legislature enacted HB1915 during its last session to "develop a complete list of fire departments and fire fighting resources within this state."

The listing, or Fire Department Directory (FDD), is a cooperative effort involving the Texas Forest Service, Firefighters' Pension Commission, Office of Rural Community Affairs, Texas Commission on Fire Protection, Texas Engineering Extension Service, Texas State Fire Marshal's Office of the Texas Department of Insurance, State Firemen's and Fire Marshals' Association of Texas, Texas Fire Chiefs Association, Texas Fire Marshals Association, Texas State Association of Fire and Emergency Districts and the Texas State Association of Fire Fighters.

The Texas Forest Service has published a handout and presentation about the new directory. The FDD is currently available as an online, web-based system to capture the essential information on fire departments across the state. The system is available to fire departments, agencies and associations. Fire departments are encouraged to participate directly and can request access online at http://tfsfrp.tamu.edu/fdd or by email at fdd@tfs.tamu.edu.