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Accreditation is a comprehensive assessment and evaluation model for fire and emergency service organizations. The accreditation process helps to determine community risks and fire safety needs evaluate the performance of an agency, and provides a method for continuous improvement. The accreditation and certification bodies change requirements over time, requiring accredited agencies to continue to evolve and improve.
The commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) is governed by an 11-member commission representing a cross-section of the fire service industry, including fire departments, city and county management, code councils, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the International Association of Firefighters. The full commission meets bi-annually to review all agencies applying for accreditation or re-accreditation status.
No. CFAI is the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. ISO is the Insurance Services Office. ISO ratings are somewhat limited in their application because they are related mostly to firefighting operations. As noted in the ISO's Fire Suppression Rating Schedule, "The Schedule is a fire insurance rating tool and is not intended to analyze all aspects of a comprehensive public fire protection program. It should not be used for purposes other than insurance rating."
CFAI accreditation takes a far broader look at an organization. Within the accreditation, the model are ten categories that fire agencies use as the basis to benchmark and evaluate performance. These categories are:
The ISO is a national insurance engineering service organization that assigns a public protection classification (PPC) to jurisdictions based on fire agency services. Insurance companies typically establish insurance rates for individual occupancies or groups of occupancies based on the PPC. The PPCs are established using the ISO's Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS). once widely used by fire departments to evaluate system performance, the FSRS's use is somewhat limited in that it only evaluates fire protection (not EMS or wildland fuel modification, for example). Also, the FSRS does not consider efficiency (e.g., how many resources are deployed in comparison to the number of actual calls). Though not as widely used today, ISO ratings are still appropriate to consider as part of a more comprehensive system performance review. Combined with other assessments, ISO standards are useful, but not by themselves.
To analyze a community's fire protection, the ISO uses a grading system of 1 to 10. A community protection factor of 1 is the highest possible grade with insurance rates likely to be lowest for the community (rating increase by 1 for every 10 credits, eg., Class 1 = 90 plus credits, Class 2 = 80 to 89.99, Class 3 = 70 to 79.99, etc.). A community with a Class 10 rating means that there essentially is no recognized fire protection system or availability of water for fire suppression. Only a very small number of communities with very effective water distribution systems and highly capable career fire departments are able to achieve a rating of 1. The Rockford Fire Department is currently an ISO Class 2 and is vigorously pursuing a Class 1 PPC.
The three components evaluated by ISO in making a final determination of PPC are:
Self-Assessment is a discovery process that provides the ability to evaluate programs and activities in relation to improving the quality of the organization by increasing the safety, effectiveness, and efficiency of the District. There are 45 specific criteria used to sub-categorize the 244 Performance Indicators within the ten measured categories. 77 of the 244 Performance Indicators are Core Competencies and must be met without exception to achieve accreditation.