The Snoqualmie Fire Department was front and center at Monday’s city council meeting, sharing news that it had received accreditation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence, which is the international accrediting agency for fire departments. The accreditation took three years to achieve.
CFAI (Commission on Fire Accreditation International) accreditation is a process of agency self-assessment and designed to show the community that the “agency is performing to industry best practices and is holding itself accountable through an external peer review.”
According to SFD Chief Mark Corriera, the department began the accreditation process three years ago when staff members attended a training. The department completed its self-assessment – which meant documenting over 250 performance measures and explaining how the department was meeting, or planned to meet them – and then worked to fill in areas that were missing.
Once the department completed its documentation, Correira said a peer team was established consisting of four fire chiefs from around the country who evaluated the department’s work, interviewed staff, city officials, the public safety committee, dispatch agency and neighboring departments to confirm SFD was performing as it had documented.
On March 12th, the SFD Leadership Team, Mayor Larson, Bob Larson, and Council Public Safety Chair Katherine Ross traveled to Anaheim for a Commission Hearing that included an examination of SFD programs, finances, and a department response critical evaluation. Following the hearing, the Snoqualmie Fire Department was unanimously approved for accreditation.
Chief Correira said, “One of our organization’s core values is to gain public trust by providing exceptional levels of service to those we serve. This value has been validated by the Center for Public Safety Excellence and we are extremely proud of this accomplishment.”
He added, “This was a department-wide effort with support from City Administration and the City Council. We could not have been this successful without all of these groups involved, and we should all celebrate being in the top 1% of fire departments internationally.”
There are 266 accredited fire departments internationally. Five are in Washington State: Bellevue, Spokane Valley, Puget Sound Fire [Kent Regional Fire], Snoqualmie and Navy Region NW. Snoqualmie FD is the first volunteer/career combination department in the state, and possibly the smallest per daily staffing levels, to become accredited.