Posts Tagged Commission on Fire Accreditation International

Skokie Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

The Skokie Fire Department has received Accredited Agency status with the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) for meeting the criteria established through the CFAl’s voluntary self-assessment and accreditation program. The Skokie Fire Department is one of more than 200 agencies to achieve internationally accredited agency status with the CFAI and the Center for Public Safety.

Skokie was first CFAI accredited in 2001 and, in 1995 achieved a Class 1 rating for the Insurance Services Office.

CFAI is dedicated to assisting fire and emergency service agencies throughout the world in achieving excellence through self-assessment and accreditation to provide continuous quality improvement and the enhancement of service delivery to their communities. The CFAI process is voluntary, and provides an agency with an improvement model to assess their service delivery and performance internally, after which they work with a team of peers from other agencies to evaluate their completed self-assessment.

The process in achieving accreditation through the Commission on Fire Accreditation International is an ongoing process with a comprehensive review by a peer assessment team every four years. This year marked the department’s fourth time receiving this prestigious designation. Staff and several members of the department work together throughout the year to achieve and maintain this status, although all of the Skokie Fire Department’s personnel work hard each and every day to carry out this mission as they serve the community.

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Naperville Fire Department news

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The Naperville Fire Department has been awarded its fifth consecutive accreditation from the Center of Public Safety Excellence.

Accreditation enables organizations to study internal performance as well as past, current and future service levels and compare them to current research and industry best practices. The Naperville Fire Department has been internationally accredited through the Commission on Fire Accreditation International and the Center for Public Safety Excellence since 1997 and, along with Greensboro, North Carolina, is one of only two agencies to achieve accreditation five consecutive times.

Naperville was one of 37 agencies that traveled to the Fire-Rescue International Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina in July to complete their journey in achieving accreditation. This final phase involves a public hearing, a presentation by the peer assessment team leader and a question and answer session with the 11-member commission.

To be recommended for accreditation, a fire department must complete a rigorous self-assessment and compile a strategic plan and a risk hazard assessment. The Naperville Fire Department prepared for the accreditation process by incorporating these requirements into the day-to-day operations.

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A look back at consolidation north of the border

Excerpts from the

The consolidation of seven municipal fire and rescue departments on the North Shore (WI) 20 years ago has saved the communities millions of dollars while providing a superior level of service, the Public Policy Forum says in a new report.

Those seven municipalities together would have paid a total of $2.8 million more annually in operating costs in 2014 to achieve an equivalent level of service, if they had not combined the departments into one unit, says the report, “Come Together: An analysis of fire department consolidation in Milwaukee County’s North Shore.”

Success of the North Shore Fire Department prompted Public Policy Forum President Rob Henken to remind other municipalities in southeastern Wisconsin that consolidating a variety of services — fire and rescue, police, health and even school districts — could save taxpayer dollars.

The numbers alone — 146 municipalities and 92 school districts in the seven-county region — show there is plenty of opportunity, Henken said.

While North Shore communities talked for 10 years before consolidation occurred in 1995, it could not have succeeded without the willingness of public officials to take a risk, Fire Chief Robert Whitaker said. Whitaker was there. He has been a firefighter with the department the entire 20 years and was promoted to chief in 2010.

“It took elected officials willing to work together and willing to lose a little of their local control,” Whitaker said. “Another challenge is loss of identity. A municipality’s name is no longer on the firetruck. It is not on a firefighter’s uniform. But when you show up at a home in an emergency, no one asks you where you are from.”

“Now, when you look back, you can see the progress,” he said. “We’re providing a much better service at a lower cost.”

This month, the department gained accreditation of its training and services by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. It is one of only 218 fire and rescue organizations in the U.S. that have achieved the recognition, Whitaker said.

To achieve those results, fewer resources are deployed today compared with the seven separate departments of 20 years ago, according to the forum report. There are 10 fewer firefighters. But the North Shore department’s full-time professional force comes with better training and quicker response times than in the past, when some police officers also had firefighting duties and some firefighters were paid-on-call.

The number of fire stations has been reduced from seven to five. The number of vehicles has been reduced from 31 to 15. Annual operating savings in 2014 for each North Shore municipality started at $14,279 for River Hills and climbed to more than $1 million for Shorewood, according to forum researchers. The other five communities and estimated annual operating savings are: Bayside, $258,483; Brown Deer, $624,717; Fox Point, $294,720; Glendale, $106,867; and Whitefish Bay, $410,110.

And the seven communities together would have paid $3.4 million more to replace all vehicles owned prior to consolidation than the North Shore department spent on vehicle purchases in 20 years, according to forum researchers.

The Village of Richfield contracts with the Washington County Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement services. West Milwaukee buys fire and EMS services from Milwaukee.

In 2012, the Public Policy Forum encouraged five southern Milwaukee County communities to consolidate their fire departments. That hasn’t happened. Franklin, Greendale, Greenfield, Hales Corners, and Oak Creek could save $1 million annually in operating costs and about $4 million over five years in vehicle replacement costs if they formed one fire department, the report says.

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Countryside FPD receives 4th accreditation

The Chicago Tribune wrote an article about the Countryside FPD being accredited for the fourth time.

The Countryside Fire Protection District … received accredited agency status with the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) for the fourth time. Countryside first received accreditation in 1998. The district is one of only a few agencies that has been through the process four times. There are 185 accredited agencies world-wide; 13 of which are in Illinois, and have achieved International accredited agency status with the CFAI and the Center for Public Safety Excellence .

In May of this year, a peer assessment team of four evaluators visited the Countryside Fire Protection District to review their self-assessment document, operations, and practices over five days. Team leader Travis Halstead stated that “Countryside has set the bar high and reached it”.

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