IFSAC is the acronym for the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress, an organization that accredits international, national, or regional fire service certification programs, with emphasis on the certification testing process. IFSAC is a peer-driven organization that not only ensures compliance with IFSAC policy and procedures, but improves the quality of an entity's program. Specific information about the organization is available on the IFSAC website.
When one or more of an entity's certification testing programs are accredited by IFSAC, it means that IFSAC has reviewed the processes and has verified that the program or programs meet a nationally recognized standard. IFSAC only accredits programs that are administered by a state's official certifying entity. TCFP is the official certifying entity in the state of Texas.
When determining if an organization's testing program is eligible for accreditation, IFSAC reviews:
A representative designated by IFSAC's Certificate Assembly Board of Governors is permitted to observe any testing process upon receiving notice of intent to observe the test at least forty-eight (48) hours prior to the test. TCFP shall provide the dates, time, and location of any testing process upon request for such information from IFSAC administration.
The accredited entity in the State of Texas is the Texas Commission on Fire Protection. IFSAC has reviewed and accredited many of the commission's certification testing programs. The commission earned Fire Fighter I and Fire Fighter II accreditation for its basic structure fire protection program on May 3, 1997. Additional programs have been added since then, with a total of 23 seals being offered as of May 2018. IFSAC re-examines accredited programs every five years. An IFSAC site team visited and assessed the commission in 2014, with all of the commission's programs receiving high marks and being approved for another five years.
In addition to state certification, the commission offers IFSAC seals in the following disciplines:
Specific requirements for each available seal are found on the Prerequisites screen here.
When an individual demonstrates proficiency in a particular area by passing a certification examination and meeting any other requirements of the standard, the individual is eligible to obtain an IFSAC seal. Possession of an IFSAC seal demonstrates "reasonable assurance of the content and quality of the testing program offered by the entity" to other institutions and programs. It says that the individual has successfully met the requirements of the applicable NFPA standard.
If, for instance, you move to another state that participates in IFSAC, that state may accept your IFSAC seal as proof of training to the level stated on the seal. Each jurisdiction establishes its own certification requirements. Other states may or may not recognize Texas state certification as proof of training, but states that participate in IFSAC are required to establish a reciprocity process for IFSAC seal holders. Some private fire protection providers are requiring their employees to hold IFSAC seals in various disciplines, particularly those organizations contracting to provide services at federal facilities.
Fire fighters who come to Texas from another IFSAC jurisdiction can use seals they have obtained as proof of training. For example, out-of-state applicants who document to the commission that they possess Fire Fighter I, Fire Fighter II, HazMat Awareness and HazMat Operations seals are eligible to apply for Basic Structure Fire Protection state certification (assuming they have also completed the required minimum level of medical training).
Application for IFSAC seals occurs within your FIDO account. Eligibility to apply only displays when all requirements for a seal in each discipline are met. The fee for each seal is $15.