Los Alamos County Fire Department Achieves International Accreditation for the Fourth Time
Accreditation—it’s not “just a plaque on the wall”. It’s a journey.
Someone once said that athletic activities would be a big waste of time if they didn’t keep score. No one really wants to watch a lot of physical effort between two groups of individuals unless they can determine who did the best job of playing the game. In our industry, the two opposite sides are the fire service effort as waged against the problem or accident. In the context of the accreditation concept, the CFAI has adopted the use of two different ways of keeping score. They are called baselines and benchmarks.
• A baseline is defined as a database from which something can be judged. It also refers to current and historical performance.
• A benchmark is defined as a standard from which something can be judged. It refers to future performance goals. Searching for industry best practice will help define superior or benchmark performance for which an organization can strive to meet.
Community Driven Strategic Plan
If we want to improve in our continuous drive for excellence, we must determine the organizational direction for excellence and develop a strategy for getting there. A properly developed strategic plan steers an organization from “business as usual” towards attainment of excellence by tackling areas needing improvement.
Community Risk Assessment—Standard of Cover
Matching resources to the risk using a methodology in identifying community hazards and risks, fire station distribution relative to the unique hazards, risks, population densities and service demand. The concentration of resources is established along with call type critical tasking, equipment needs and performance measures.
Fire & Emergency Services Self-Assessment Manual
The primary purpose of an internal self-evaluation is to determine the current, or baseline performance of each of our services and programs. The second is to determine industry best practices and local expectations for the services and programs resulting in the development of plans for improvement. These plans must have a direct relationship to the department goals and objectives. The final reason is to provide a process by which to evaluate our services and programs in relation to improving the quality of the department and increasing the safety, effectiveness and efficiency of the agency.
What is "Accreditation"?
Accreditation is a comprehensive self-assessment and evaluation model that enables organizations to examine past, current, and future service levels and internal performance and compare them to industry best practices. This process leads to improved service delivery.
CPSE's Accreditation Program, administered by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) allows fire and emergency service agencies to compare their performance to industry best practices in order to:
• Determine community risk and safety needs and develop community-specific Standards of Cover.
• Evaluate the performance of the department.
• Establish a method for achieving continuous organizational improvement.
The CFAI accreditation process provides a well-defined, internationally-recognized benchmark system to measure the quality of fire and emergency services.
For more information on the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) visit their webpage.