Professional Qualifications and Training
DFPC's Professional Qualifications and Training Section is an educational institution with a short but rich history. The “Voluntary Certification Program for Fire Fighters” began on June 21, 1979, when House Bill 1243 was signed into law. In the early years, the Division of Fire Safety was one man operation. Dean Smith was hired as the original Director and implemented the very first firefighter certification testing program. Director Smith would take the exams home and he and his wife Joyce would sit at their kitchen table and hand grade exams.
Over the years, additional staff was brought on and working committees for each level of certification were established. The second hire for the Division of Fire Safety was Support Services Section Chief Theresa Staples who is still with the Division today. For years, Chief Staples worked with additional staff to develop the certification programs we currently offer. Today, the Professional Qualifications and Training (PQT) Section is comprised of 5 full time staff members with support from additional members at DFPC.
The PQT Section provides educational offerings through statewide extension efforts for Firefighter, Hazardous Materials Responder, Driver Operator, Fire Officer, Youth Firesetter Prevention, Fire and Life Safety Educator and Fire Instructor programs offering certification levels for each discipline. The Section also hosts 3 fire schools annually that offer National Fire Academy courses and supports other fire educational and training programs necessary to support the needs of the fire service.