El Paso – After three years of evaluation, measuring, process development and hard work, the El Paso Fire Department was awarded with International Accredited status by the Commission on Fire Accreditation (CFAI) on August 2, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. “We wanted to apply a process by which we compared ourselves to industry best practices and internal goal compliance. The process prescribed by CFAI was the best model we could locate,” said Fire Chief Otto Drozd. “Our ultimate goal was not focused on receiving accredited status; rather it was on developing best practice performance measures that held us accountable towards providing higher levels of competent service to our residents,” Chief Drozd added.
The Accreditation model is a comprehensive self-assessment and evaluation model that enables fire and emergency service organizations to examine past, current, and future service levels and performance and compares them to industry best practices. The model consists of over 248 performance behaviors expected of a professional fire department. It typically takes a fire department 3-5 years to become accredited. The CFAI is a sub-committee to the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE), located in Chantilly, VA. The CPSE is a nonprofit organization that promotes the continuous quality improvement of fire and emergency service agencies that serve communities worldwide by providing training and career resource information. There are an estimated 33,000 fire departments in the United States. El Paso is now one of 154 fire departments that have received this prestigious award and one of only three metro-sized fire departments in the nation to carry the distinction of being internationally accredited and an ISO Class One Fire Department.
“I’m proud for how this represents our community to our peers around the world and I’m honored to have worked with such amazing talent that exists within the El Paso Fire Department. This was not an easy process but a rewarding one that, I believe, has grown us into a better emergency service provider,” Assistant Chief Michael Calderazzo said. Calderazzo served as the Accreditation Manager of the process.
“This award is not the capstone of achievement for us; rather it is the beginning of a professional journey by which we are held accountable towards providing quantifiable service delivery to our community and developing plans for even greater levels of performance, ultimately becoming an accredited agency is a reflection on the men and women of the El Paso Fire Department who provide professional, timely and caring professional emergency services to our community,” said Chief Drozd.