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Fire Department Accreditation and Self Assessment Overview . Chris Riley, Fire Chief, City of Pueblo & President, CSFCA. What is Accreditation?. Comprehensive fire and emergency service evaluation Method of measuring a fire department’s performance

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fire department accreditation and self assessment overview

Fire Department Accreditation and Self Assessment Overview

Chris Riley, Fire Chief, City of Pueblo & President, CSFCA

what is accreditation
What is Accreditation?
  • Comprehensive fire and emergency service evaluation
    • Method of measuring a fire department’s performance
  • Overseen by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI)
    • Founded in 1996
    • Governed by a five-member board
    • General organizational operation by an 11 member commission

“A non-profit organization dedicated

to the improvement of fire

and emergency service agencies

through self-assessment, accreditation, professional credentialing,

emergency management facilitation

and other programs.”

Who is the Center for

Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) ?

provision of services quandary
Provision of Services -- Quandary
  • Do more with less
  • Increased expenditures require expanded services
  • Accountability for level and quality of service
  • No nationally accepted set of performance criteria
why conduct evaluation of fire service programs
Why conduct evaluation of fire service programs?
  • When you are trying to cope with change
  • To provide for periodic evaluation to ensure safe operations
  • When there is a change in leadership
  • To raise the level of professionalism
management quandary
Management Quandary

“Management in today’s fire service

might be characterized as being

a twenty-five year job,

with a ten-year strategic plan,

five-year tenure, and

a one-year appropriation.”

benefits of conducting a self assessment process
Benefits of Conducting aSelf Assessment Process
  • Promotes excellence within the agency
  • Encourages quality improvement continuously
  • Provides an evaluation of the agency and services
  • Identifies areas of strengths and weaknesses
  • Provides a means for agency growth
  • Provide a system for international recognition
  • Provides a mechanism for developing concurrent documents such as strategic plans, risk assessments, written standards of cover, desk top manual
other accreditation examples
Other accreditation examples
  • APCO
  • Universities
  • Park Service
what is the process for accreditation
What is the Process for Accreditation?

Four main stages:

  • Applicant
    • Receive Fire & Emergency Service Self Assessment Manual and supporting documents
    • 18 mos to complete the self assessment
  • Registered
    • Access to CFAI network
    • Receives CFAI newsletter
    • Discounts on CFAI publications
  • Accreditation Candidate
    • After agency has completed the self assessment
    • CFAI will assign the peer assessment team
    • Agency conducts Peer site visit
  • Accredited
    • After the Commission grants accreditation
    • On the 5th anniversary, Agency submits the application for re-accreditation
steps to accreditation
Steps to Accreditation
  • Agency completes Self-Assessment document
  • On-site peer assessment is conducted
  • Assessment team submits final report to agency and CFAI with recommendation
  • CFAI hears report from team leader with agency representative present
  • CFAI awards or defers Accreditation
self assessment categories
Self Assessment - Categories

Self-conducted performance evaluations of the following 10 categories:

  • Governance and Administration
  • Assessment and Planning
  • Goals and Objectives
  • Financial Resources
  • Programs
  • Physical Resources
  • Human Resources
  • Training and Competency
  • Essential Resources
  • External Systems Relationships
self assessment performance indicators
Self Assessment – Performance Indicators
  • Each Category includes a number of criterion (45 total) and performance indicators (total of 244)
  • Some criterion may not be applicable if your agency does not provide the service, i.e., Marine and Shipboard Firefighting
  • Performance indicators define the areas where an agency can demonstrate they are addressing criterion
  • Some performance indicators are designated as Core Competencies (77 of the 244 performance indicators
self assessment core competencies
Self Assessment – Core Competencies

Core Competency

  • An area where an agency must respond when undergoing the actual accreditation process
  • Considered fire protection basic practices
  • All77 Core Competencies must be responded to and approved by the Peer Assessor team to be Accredited
self assessment performance indicator responses
Self Assessment – Performance Indicator Responses
  • Consists of four parts
    • Description
      • What an agency has done to meet the intent of the Performance Indicators or Criterion
    • Appraisal
      • How well the agency thinks that current activities meet the needs of the item
    • Plan
      • Future plans in responding to the intent of the item and noted improvements
    • Reference
      • A list citing the supporting exhibit(s) used
self assessment exhibits
Self Assessment - Exhibits
  • Back up responses to Performance Indicators with proof - exhibits
  • Exhibits
    • Any document from a variety of media that
      • Chronicles a requirement
        • E.g., A contract that details the scope of work contracted for to correct a deficient water supply due to main size
      • Demonstrates compliance to a requirement
        • E.g., Inspection and test results of hydrants along the replaced section of fire main
    • Standard Operating Procedures
      • You must be doing what you say you are doing!!
steps for writing responses
Steps for Writing Responses
  • Assign staff members to review the Categories, Criteria, and Performance Indicators to get a feel for the overall system. Use internal expertise to respond to specific areas.
  • Assign a person to review the Research and Information Collection Guide for the entire Category.
  • Assign specific Performance Indicators to staff members with knowledge or expertise in that area.
steps for writing responses1
Steps for Writing Responses
  • Have staff WRITE what they have learned about your department’s level of activity. Exhibits that have been found, observation, pertinent facts, and other details.
  • Evaluate and analyze this information. Identify rates of change, direction of change, nature of change, reasons for change, and amounts of change.
  • Interpret the data as information.
  • Prepare a plan statement about what to do with what you know.
peer assessment
Peer Assessment
  • Purpose of Peer Review:
    • To verify information provided by the agency’s Self-Assessment team in the documentation
    • To formulate well-rounded team findings, opinions, and recommendations regarding the credibility of an agency to meet its mission
  • Agency is responsible to prove compliance with requirements for Accreditation
  • Assessment team validates the proof provided
the big four or how to begin
The “Big Four” (or, how to begin)
  • Risk Assessment
  • Goals & Objectives
  • Standard of Cover
  • Strategic Plan
risk assessment
Risk Assessment
  • A comprehensive risk assessment must be conducted
  • Include all fire and non-fire risks
  • Publish risk assessment results
goals objectives
Goals & Objectives
  • Develop a formal goals and objectives program
  • Include all functional areas of the organization
  • Obtain employee buy-in
standard of cover
Standard of Cover
  • Developed from risk assessment and goals & objectives program
  • Public document that defines level of service to the staff, line fire fighters and the public
  • Service Level Objectives
  • Fractional vs average times
strategic plan
Strategic Plan

Typically a 5-year plan, that addresses:

  • Where are we going?
  • How do we get there?
  • What is our blueprint for action?
  • How do we know if we are on track?
time to begin
Time to Begin!
  • Assign Accreditation Manager
  • Form Teams
  • Assign Performance Indicators and Core Competencies
  • Begin the process of writing
  • Accreditation Manager reads/approves them all
  • Fire Chief review
commission meeting
Commission Meeting
  • The Commission meets twice a year
    • Fire Rescue International Meeting
    • Spring Meeting
  • Peer Assessment visit should be completed two months prior to the Commission meeting
  • Typically, the chief, accreditation manager, and a member of city government attend
    • Accredited vs. Deferred

Chief Chris Riley

Work: 719.553.2830, Cell: 719.248.2683

Paul Cooke, Executive Director, CSFCA

Cell: 303.919.2721