Accreditation awarded at CPSE conference
Battalion Chief Rita L Reith, MPIO, Indianapolis Fire Department
Chief Ernest Malone is proud to announce that today, the Indianapolis Fire Department, has earned an official “International Accreditation” designation from the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI). Chief Malone and his support staff were interviewed today, at an 11:20 am hearing, by the CFAI, at the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) conference in Orlando, FL. The accreditation was awarded after the hearing. The designation comes after an extensive 4-year process, which culminated in a national peer review. IFD hosted the peer review team in Jan 2020, after which, the team unanimously recommended IFD for accreditation. The CFAI commission wholeheartedly supported that recommendation. Accreditation is valid for 5 years.
The IFD pursued international accreditation as administered by the CFAI, through the CPSE. The process, which began in 2016, requires an embedded culture of quality throughout an organization. Both achieving and maintaining accreditation are significant undertakings that demands the combined best efforts of all members of an agency. Accreditation necessitates the development and maintenance of several key documents including a Strategic Plan, Self-Assessment Manual (SAM), Standards of Cover (SOC) and a Community Risk Assessment.
The first step of the accreditation process asked each bureau of the department to identify its key responsibilities and contributions to the overall organization. Then each area was challenged to assess how well its current actions were meeting the needs of both the community and the department. Finally, and most importantly, it required plans to be made, implemented, assessed and revised as needed, to help ensure further improvement of each bureau, and ultimately the department. As a result of the process, firefighters are better prepared, better equipped, and better positioned. While many of the accreditation-related changes occurring within the department are happening within the administration, it is the firefighters on the street who receive the most benefit. These plans will continue as we progress through Chief Malone’s Five-Year Master Plan for the department.
IFD Chief Malone states: “From the onset, we viewed the process of achieving international accreditation as a journey, not a destination. This initiative provides an internal and external review of both us as an organization, and the services we provide our community. Conducting a comprehensive assessment and identifying areas where we could improve was both a responsible course of action, and in direct alignment with the mission and values we hold as a department. One of the reasons we sought to achieve accreditation is that the program has been developed to provide a commonsense approach, which seeks to enhance the service delivery of fire departments. The effort not only includes the traditional roles of the fire service, but also addresses preparing for challenges in an ever-changing world we will face tomorrow. Our duty to protect our communities has not lessened, nor has it gotten any easier. It continues to grow in complexity, hazard, and risk. This is a responsibility that as public safety professionals we proudly accept. Therefore, we must be willing to continuously review our organizations and their operations, to identify areas that are meeting the needs of our stakeholders, while also revealing areas in which there are opportunities for improvement. This pursuit of excellence in our organization is an initiative that is fully supported by Mayor Joe Hogsett, in addition to our partners in labor, IAFF Local 416 and President Hank Harris. I am honored to be the Chief of an outstanding, progressive fire department such as IFD. I believe the professional way the men and women of this department perform their duties is second to none, and I am so very proud to serve with them.”
According to the Center for Public Safety Excellence, out of over 30,000 fire service agencies throughout the U.S. and Canada, only 270 are internationally accredited. 11% of the U.S. population is protected by an accredited agency. IFD is the 5th agency in the State of Indiana to receive international accreditation. The others are Clay Fire (South Bend), Grissom Air Reserve Base (Grissom ARB), Fishers Fire Dept. and Carmel Fire Dept. The IFD is a performance driven, full service, all hazard mitigation public safety agency. Our organization’s mission is to save lives, protect property and the environment while serving our community with courage, commitment and compassion. Our promise is to provide CPR. Which for us means courteous, professional and respectful care to the citizens and visitors of Indianapolis. Through participation in this process, the Indianapolis Fire Department has already become a more efficient, data driven, better equipped and higher performing organization than we were prior to entering the accreditation process.