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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 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 • 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 • 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? • 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 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 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 • JCAHO • CALEA • APCO • Universities • Park Service
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 • 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-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 • 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 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 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 • 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) • Risk Assessment • Goals & Objectives • Standard of Cover • Strategic Plan
Risk Assessment • A comprehensive risk assessment must be conducted • Include all fire and non-fire risks • Publish risk assessment results
Goals & Objectives • Develop a formal goals and objectives program • Include all functional areas of the organization • Obtain employee buy-in
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 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! • 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 • 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
Questions/Comments? Chief Chris Riley Work: 719.553.2830, Cell: 719.248.2683 email@example.com Paul Cooke, Executive Director, CSFCA Cell: 303.919.2721 Paul@coloradofirechiefs.org