Posted August 22, 2016
To Whom It May Concern
In 2015 the Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM) reached out to the South Carolina Fire Marshal’s Association (SCFMA) to ask if there was an interest in our association sitting in on meetings to revise the OSFM issuing procedures and qualifications for a Certified Fire Marshal (CFM) card. SCFMA accepted this invitation based on the experience of some of our membership in being able to qualify for issuance of the OSFM Resident State Fire Marshal card. These issues had been voiced to our association for years but our addressing of these issues to the OSFM seemed to always fall on deaf ears. Over the course of several meetings the following was shared and understood.
The purpose for OSFM in revising the process of issuing cards was based on two primary reasons. The first was the change in title of the card from In-Resident State Fire Marshal to Certified Fire Marshal (CFM). The second was creating a true credentialing process that would provide integrity recognition to the card and the person to whom the card was issued.
The primary motivator for both of the aforementioned purposes by OSFM was the knowledge of many fire departments in the state using the In-Resident State Fire Marshal card to legitimize their credentials of authority to enforce the fire code in their jurisdiction. This was not the intention of the original card for it was only intended to be used for enforcement of OSFM regulations in the absence of a Deputy State Fire Marshal. Due to the use of the card in this fashion, OSFM felt that this put them in a position that would cause some liabilities if not addressed.
Through OSFM’s process of exploring how to change the issuing and reissuing of cards the SCFMA came to understand issue and reissue of the CFM based upon the following criteria.
- The holding of an OSFM CFM is not mandatory for any jurisdiction in the state. It is by OSFM regulations that any Fire Chief of a department is authorized to enforce the OSFM regulations within their jurisdiction.
- The primary credentials for issuance of a CFM are based upon the adoption of the International Code Council (ICC) Standards as mandated by the South Carolina Building Codes Council. By adoption of the ICC standards the OSFM will accept ICC certification of fire inspectors as the primary method of qualification of issuance of a CFM card. In addition, the OSFM will also accept NFPA certifications as well as any other nationally recognized qualifications that meet the OSFM criteria for reduction of liability. In addition, the OSFM will also consider a Fire Chief’s recognition of any designee as worthy to have the CFM issued to them as long as there is method of compliance with the continuing education requirements in place. Examples of continuing education are training classes, seminars, conferences and etc. The only necessary requirement of the training is the award of continuing education credits. OSFM also indicated they would consider any special issuance of the CFM on a case by case basis.
- OSFM was not going to certify anyone to carry the CFM due to OSFM is not in the business of certifying fire inspectors.
During the course of these meetings SCFMA attending members provided input which was accepted and applied to the process. The final version is an OSFM program not an SCFMA program. Although SCFMA participated in the process the final program is administered by the OSFM. SCFMA agreed to work with the OSFM on coordinating our training with the quarterly updates presented by OSFM to eliminate duplicity. SCFMA also conveyed to OSFM that we would continue to provide quality training to our membership at a reasonable cost and to communicate changes to fire code compliance in our state. SCFMA does accept the program, as we have come to understand it, to be a program that will benefit both the OSFM and the state fire service.
The SCFMA Executive Board
Posted April 19, 2016
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Since our 2015 Spring Conference, we have had a few political events that have affected, or are threatening to affect, how we perform our jobs. As many of you know, we lost again on residential sprinklers. There was a meeting in Columbia, which I was not aware of, that the Homebuilders Association and Firefighters Association made several statements that hurt what was hoped for on new laws for residential sprinklers.
We also were notified about a Senate subcommittee meeting on December 1st about the IRC code being move to a 5 year adoption cycle. I wrote a letter to the committee members and only received 2 responses, with one of those being a real response from Senator Tom Corbin. He advised me that this will be a long process and we will have time to comment on this.
Please spread the word when any of us receive news of meetings that are going on in our state. I think we take for granted that we all know when these are happening, but in truth we don’t always know.
I am looking forward to the Spring Conference June 6-10th at Springmaid and hope to see each of you there. Register early so we have the correct number of books and materials.
See you soon,