• Fire Department earns accreditation

  • After five years of preparation, Fort Leavenworth Fire and Emergency Services is officially an accredited agency through the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. The status was made official at a hearing Aug. 9 in Atlanta.

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    After five years of preparation, Fort Leavenworth Fire and Emergency Services is officially an accredited agency through the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. The status was made official at a hearing Aug. 9 in Atlanta.
    Fort Leavenworth is the sixth U.S. Army Garrison to earn accredited status joining Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Knox, Ky.; Fort Drum, N.Y.; Fort McCoy, Wis.; and Fort Detrick, Md.
    “This is a tremendous accomplishment. … For our community both on and off post, it really gives trust and confidence that we are prepared to respond in both places,” said Garrison Commander Col. Harry Hung. “For me and the Garrison, this unique process collects specific actionable data to address and resource concerns and issues such as how to improve response time and maintenance.
    “Finally, this accreditation is a commitment to continuous improvement and external evaluation,” he said. “Many of our Garrison organizations have a compliance checklist, but this accreditation takes that and goes a step further by driving the best global practices that can and should be implemented for our (Fort Leavenworth Fire Department).”
    Fire Chief William Maciorowski said achieving the accreditation was a team effort.
    “(Getting the accreditation) involved everybody, so it was a real team process, and it formalizes a lot of our processes and procedures through documentation,” Maciorowski said. “The whole point of this program is continuous improvement. It is a process, not a project, so really the hard work starts now of maintaining this and demonstrating continuous improvement over the next five years.”
    The process to achieving accreditation began in 2014, shortly after Maciorowski became chief.
    “I have been involved with the accreditation program since 2001, and I’ve worked for two other garrison fire departments that were accredited, and I helped them do theirs, so I wanted to bring that program here,” he said. “It is a voluntary program.”
    To achieve accreditation status, CFAI follows a model, which covers 10 categories. They include governance and administration, assessment and planning, goals and objectives, financial resources, programs, physical resources, human resources, training and competency, essential resources, and external systems relationship. Within the 10 categories there are 256 performance indicators, according to the Center for Public Safety Excellence’s official website.
    “There is a lot to the program,” Maciorowski said. “The performance indicators measure how we as a fire department do business.”
    A majority of the process included data collection.
    “How long does it take to get a 911 phone call? How long does it take to get the crew out of the fire station and get on scene and respond?” Maciorowski asked. “For first time accreditation, you need to have a least three years of solid data.
    Page 2 of 3 - “By documenting everything that we’ve done, we’ve got all of our documentation done so that everybody knows who we are, what we do, how we operate, how we conduct business,” he said. “Then, with our community risk assessment, it made us take a hard look at the entire installation to determine hazards and risks across post, and are we as a fire department properly organized and outfitted and trained to meet the hazards and risks.”
    Once all the data was collected and ready, the documentation was officially submitted in January 2019. Then a four-person team of fire professionals from around the country came for a four-day visit in May 2019.
    “They came on site to verify and validate that what we put in writing we’re actually doing,” Maciorowski said. “Once they are done with the assessment, they write up their report and before they leave, they do an out-brief.
    “The team only found eight items that we needed to improve on, which is historically very low for a first-time agency that is going to be accredited,” he said.
    Following the site visit, the team recommended accreditation and turned its report over to the CFAI commission and the hearing took place, Maciorowski said.
    Maciorowski, Assistant Chief of Fire Prevention and Accreditation Manager Dean Turner, Hung, U.S. Army Safety/Fire Emergency Services Program Manager AJ Eversley, and Peer Assessment Team Leader Chief Ken Horn attended the hearing. Maciorowski and Hung both gave opening statements, and CFAI Commissioner Steve Dirksen asked questions.
    “(CFAI) likes to find out if, since we were assessed, you’ve fixed anything since then,” Maciorowski said. “Two of the eight items were already fixed.”
    By the end of the hearing, the accreditation was official.
    “The accreditation is good for five years. During that five years, we have to do an annual compliance report,” Maciorowski said. “It’ll make us review all of our processes annually and update our risks and any of our programs as they change. That may drive new training requirements or new changes in construction or things that require us to make sure we’re providing the right service.”
    Turner agreed.
    “It is a constant evaluation of the program. As long as you’re constantly evolving. It is a road map for success and continuous future accreditations,” Turner said. “This allows the community to fully recognize they do have an accredited fire department that is going to meet the community needs and is always looking to what the community needs are and working towards meeting them.”
    Maciorowski said the accreditation makes the FLFD stand out since it is the first fire department in Leavenworth County to achieve accreditation.
    Page 3 of 3 - “The accreditation just contributes to us providing the best service to the best hometown in the Army,” he said.
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