The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) was awarded one of the industry’s most prestigious honors at the Fire Rescue International Conference held earlier this month in Chicago, Illinois. The department was re-accredited by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI). First accredited in 2007, MCFRS is currently one of 186 agencies worldwide with this distinction and is the only internationally accredited fire and rescue department in Maryland and the Washington Metropolitan National Capital Region.
“Our career and volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel are among the best in the nation, and this prestigious award is testament to that,” said County Executive Isiah Leggett. “To be evaluated against national standards and international best management practices successfully is a reflection of our commitment to providing the highest level of service to residents.”
The accreditation model provides a comprehensive review, self-assessment and evaluation process that enables fire and emergency service agencies to examine performance levels and compare them to industry best practices. Departments are required to develop a community-driven strategic plan, standards of cover assessment and an extensive risk analysis of the community they serve. The model examines more than 260 performance indicators and 82 core competency areas that are part of the assessment process conducted by subject matter experts from across the country. The process is aimed at increasing transparency of operations and leads to improved service delivery by helping fire departments to:
• Determine community risk and safety needs;
• Evaluate the performance of the department; and
• Establish a method for achieving continuous organizational improvement
“Accreditation is recognized worldwide as a measure of excellence in the fire service. The accreditation process is a detailed and rigorous one, and achieving re-accreditation in Montgomery County was a total team effort,” said Fire Chief Steve Lohr. “Our staff has worked diligently to meet and exceed the most stringent standards and the highest benchmarks in public safety. The award is not a culmination but a blueprint for the future and validates our efforts to provide world-class emergency services in Montgomery County.”
About the Commission
The Commission on Fire Accreditation International is governed by eleven members representing a cross-section of the fire service industry, including fire departments, city and county management, code councils, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the International Association of Fire Fighters. The full Commission meets biannually to review all agencies applying for accredited status.
The CFAI is dedicated to assisting the fire and emergency service agencies throughout the world in achieving excellence through self-assessment and accreditation in order to provide continuous quality improvement and the enhancement of service delivery to their communities. The process is voluntary, and provides an agency with an improvement model to assess their service delivery and performance internally and then works with a team of peers from other agencies to evaluate their completed self assessment. Additional information about the Commission can be found at http://www.publicsafetyexcellence.org/.
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