Last month we highlighted the accreditation process and the procedural aspects of achieving accreditation as provided for on the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) website. Details were provided about the process and how North Collier Fire Rescue can achieve accreditation. This month we would like to discuss “What’s in it for you?” What benefit does the public receive from North Collier Fire Control and Rescue District being added to the 239 fire departments (to include Department of Defense fire installations) in the Country that have achieved this status? Per the National Fire Protection Agency’s website, there are 29,727 total fire departments in the United States – this equates to just .008 or 0.8% of fire agencies that are accredited.

For example, when seeking out a legitimate, quality University program, you should consult with the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Furthermore, if your area of academic interest includes Business and Accounting, you need to consult The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) as this global association provides a rigorous, outward focus self-analysis on a school’s ability to engage and prepare the brightest business minds. As depicted on their website, there are 780+ accredited schools in the world that meet said standard of excellence (http://www.aacsb.edu/about) – not many considering the total number of colleges and universities around the globe.

The benefits of accreditation, like those found within the halls of business academia, are worth the personnel investment of time and resources. The process of self-assessment allows our organization to actively develop baseline measures, then, prepare benchmark standards against like agencies that are accredited against the same standards of excellence. In essence, we can measure our organization against an external, reliable and validated criterion as developed from within the CPSE. The accreditation benefit(s) to our citizenry include, but not limited to, continual monitoring and verification of operational data analysis, appropriate methodologies in place for legal and financial assessment, constant examination of annual goals and objectives against budgetary allocations, and, continual assessment of external relationship development.

Moreover, there are potential future collaborations with the CPSE and the Insurance Services Office (ISO) to assist accredited fire departments with ascertaining a better Public Protection Classification for their community. This could mean lower property insurance premiums for new business owners and established policy holders. Another future potential benefit of possessing accredited status includes the Biennial State EMS audit process and a more streamlined approach to achieving a Pass rating.

The North Collier Fire Control and Rescue District is a growing family within a dynamic community environment. Your fire district is a community leader and prides itself on excellence through quality service. As we strive to retain and continually improve our standards of excellence, accreditation provides the future building blocks to benchmark our agency against Industry Best Practices. You can be proud that your Fire District is attempting to be in the 0.8% of total fire departments in the country to achieve accredited agency status through the CPSE.

Accreditation is an investment of time, energy, money, and personnel resources, is it worth it? Ask yourself, would you rather do business with an accredited business rated A+ through the Better Business Bureau (BBB), or an entity that does not conform to their accreditation qualifications. The answer should become rather clear…

For more information about accreditation, please visit www.cpse.org. North Collier Fire Rescue will continue to keep you posted about the process.