The City of Red Deer Emergency Services department is now one of only five departments in Canada that are internationally accredited from the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI). There are approximately 140 accredited departments in the world.
The final step to achieve accredited status took place on Aug. 25 when Emergency Services department staff and CFAI audit team members presented the detailed report to an 11-person panel. The panel is comprised of representatives from the International City Managers Association; International Association of Standardization (ISO), International Associations of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and Fire Fighters (IAFF), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and others. The commission panel unanimously voted in favour of accrediting the City of Red Deer Emergency Services department.
“We have achieved accredited agency status because of the efforts of all the staff and their professional attitude towards the system,” said Emergency Services Manager Jack MacDonald. “If the staff didn’t believe in the system and each other, the steps towards accreditation would not have been possible.”
Prior to the Aug. 25 commission meeting, a four person CFAI audit team spent months reviewing the Emergency Services department’s assessment manual, reports and other documentation. In June of this year, the audit team spent four days in Red Deer completing additional on site reviews and interviews to ensure that all areas of the department’s assessment met the CFAI process.
The CFAI accreditation process is comprised of over 280 performance criteria with more than 80 core competencies. These performance criteria assess the quality of emergency services provided as well as all the support services needed to effectively deliver these services. Internationally recognized best practices must be met to achieve accreditation status. The assessment had participation of staff from the Emergency Services department and several other City departments including financial services, engineering, information technology services, human resources and emergency management (disaster preparedness).
“There is no doubt in my mind that we have been thoroughly examined. I believe this has been the most comprehensive review of its kind ever completed in the department’s history. It acknowledges our achievements but also recognizes that we are not perfect. Recommendations for improvements will help us to better serve the community into the future,” said Deputy Chief Ted Hickey.
“Achieving accredited agency status is truly an amazing accomplishment for our department and the City,” said Hickey. “There are so many different services provided by Emergency Services that this not only acknowledges our departments work, but the entire organization’s professional dedication to serve our citizens. “
CFAI is committed to assisting and improving fire and emergency service agencies around the world in achieving organizational and professional excellence through its strategic self-assessment model and accreditation process to provide continuous quality improvement and enhancement of service delivery to the community.