Every fire organization—whether volunteer, combination, career, federal, or private—can use the accreditation model in setting goals, crafting strategic and action plans, and continuously evaluating and improving services provided to the public.
The Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) comprehensive self-assessment process promotes excellence and encourages quality improvement by enabling fire and EMS agencies to:
- Assure colleagues and the public that they have definite missions and objectives that are appropriate for the jurisdictions they serve
- Provide a detailed evaluation of the services they provide to the community
- Identify areas of strength and weakness within the department
- Create methods or systems for addressing deficiencies while building organizational success
- Encourage professional growth for both the department and its personnel
- Provide a forum for the communication of organizational priorities
- Foster national recognition by colleagues and the public
- Create a mechanism for developing strategic and program action plans
Achieving Accredited Agency status takes work, but it's well worth the effort.
The self-assessment process demands the largest portion of time to achieve accreditation. Although there is a substantial commitment of time and resources, departments nationwide have realized the value of the self-assessment process and accreditation model because you are documenting policies and procedures that you should have in place already. You are simply documenting what you are doing.
The accreditation process results in the development of planning documents, including short-term action and long-term strategic plans—important tools in the budgeting process and a basis for justifying departmental programs and services. Accreditation has the potential to dramatically improve a department, its services, and its vision for the future.