Wilson Fire/Rescue earns reaccreditation
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Wilson Fire/Rescue Services has once again earned international accreditation, ranking it among the best agencies in both preventing and responding to emergencies.
The Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) voted unanimously Aug. 1 to approve Wilson Fire/Rescue’s accreditation. That vote followed a lengthy self-assessment process and the visit of an outside assessment team earlier this year.
“All of the members of the Wilson Fire/Rescue Services continue to make our community very proud,” said Chief Don Oliver. “The professionalism, dedication and commitment to continuous improvement was demonstrated during the Commission’s hearing in Denver. After our team leader presented the findings of the team site visit, there was not a single question of our department.”
The accreditation process requires Wilson Fire/Rescue examine how it prevents fires and responds to emergencies, in comparison to the industry’s “best practices.” The process forces the department constantly to assess risk, assess performance, and develop a plan for even better service.
As a result, Wilson residents have better protection, said Battalion Commander Ben Smith. “The whole intent of the process is continuous improvement.”
Wilson Fire/Rescue has become known as a leader among other emergency response agencies. For example, the department recently hosted firefighters from Hampton, Va., who are beginning their own accreditation process.
The exchange of “best practices” and other ideas provides for better fire protection in all agencies linked through CFAI, Smith said.
Also, city residents and business owners may pay less for fire insurance as an indirect result of the accreditation process. The department’s quest for improvement and attention to detail likely contributed, Smith said, to the City of Wilson improving its Insurance Service Office (ISO) rating from Class 3 to a Class 2.
This was the third time Wilson Fire/Rescue has achieved accreditation from CFAI, part of the Center for Public Safety Excellence headquartered in Chantilly, Va. The department was first accredited in 2002 and then renewed in 2007 and now in 2012. The next full review will be in 2017, although there is an annual compliance report necessary to maintain accredited status.