JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – The Center for Public Safety Excellences Commission on Professional Credentialing has recognized Johns Creek Fire Department’s Timothy “Chad” McGiboney and Chris Coons with international professional designations of Chief Fire Officer and Fire Marshal based on their experience, education and career training.
The Chief Fire Officer (CFO) Designation Program was created to recognize fire officers who have demonstrated excellence and outstanding achievement throughout their career.
The CFO candidates must demonstrate they have developed a strategy for continued career improvement and development. The highly competitive CFO designation – only 1 percent of U.S. firefighters have attained it – assures departments that their leaders have the educational and technical competency necessary to meet the demands of a modern fire department.
Johns Creek Fire Chief Jeff Hogan said this is a continuation of the department’s goal begun two years ago to have all four of the department’s senior chief officers certified. Hogan and Deputy Fire Chief Pat Wilson have already received the CFO designation.
“[The CFO] speaks to the officer’s involvement, especially one your chief officers. It means he went above and beyond to meet the certification qualifications,” Hogan said.
Certification goes beyond just the physical training and skills for fighting fires. The process looks at their administrative abilities such as budget preparation and logistics as well as education level, size of command and community involvement.
Professional contributions and recognitions are also considered, as well as letters of recommendations from immediate superiors.
The meat of it is looking at what the applicant has done administratively in his job to improve the department. That ranges from managing a budget to finding better ways to serve the public and improve the efficiency of the department. In all, it is a process that can take as much as 10 months.
“It is not an easy thing to attain. And once you have it, you will do the work necessary to maintain that certification,” Hogan said.
McGiboney, the city’s fire marshal, received both the CFO and FM (Fire Marshal) designations to become one of only 33 fire professionals in the world to receive the FM designation and one of fewer than 12 people worldwide with dual CFO and FM designation.
“McGiboney has a rich knowledge of the emergency services profession and has far surpassed critical core competencies for personnel serving in senior fire officer positions,” said CPSE Deputy Director Debbie Sobotka.
Coons, like McGiboney, the department training chief, received his CFO rating after a peer review and evaluation by the Commission on Professional Credentialing.
“Coons demonstrated though his education, leadership and management skills that he possesses the requisite knowledge, skills and abilities required for the fire and emergency services profession,” Sobotka said.
Each credential is valid for three years and requires continued training and reviews in order to maintain the professional designation.
“I am very proud of both men and the contributions they bring to our department,” said
Hogan. “It is very rare to find four individuals in a department of this size to have their certification.
“It shows their dedication to be the best in their field personally and their dedication to make this department better,” he said. “Once upon a time, all you needed to be a fireman was a high school diploma. Those days are long gone.”
Today, a modern fire department has to be run much the same as a corporation, providing customer service and budgeting resources and personnel.
“We are building the leadership to be a 21st century department and CFO certification is a big tool to do that,” Hogan said.