News: Fire department earns accredited status
Story by Cpl. Scott L. Tomaszycki
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. - The Cherry Point fire department earned accreditation from the Commission on Fire Accreditation International in March for proving they are in line with the best practices and procedures of firefighting.
The CFAI is an agency that inspects how fire departments perform and either grants or denies accreditation based on findings of an investigation and interviews.
“In January, we had a peer team from CFAI come down, and they looked all over the fire department, saw the performance indicators and really went in depth for how we do business in the fire department,” said John L. Wilson, a fire captain and the accreditation manager for the fire department. “They looked in our records and documentation. They wrote up a final report and had some recommendations.”
Wilson said the accreditation program is fairly new, with Cherry Point becoming the sixth Marine Corps fire department to receive accreditation status. Many DOD fire departments are currently working to achieve accredited status.
“Some of the key items they (look at) are promoting excellence within your fire emergency service organization and encouraging quality improvement through continuous self-assessments,” said Wilson. “We look at the program and ask if there are any improvements that can be made.”
Wilson said each supervisor actively seeks ways to improve and makes recommendations based on analysis within their area of expertise.
After the initial accreditation, the department will be reassessed every five years. In order to maintain its status, the Cherry Point fire department will need to stay on top of firefighting methods and practices.
“In 2018 we have to do it again, but we’re not starting from scratch,” said Wilson. “We’re improving every year on what we’ve got and making changes.”
Wilson said parents would never send their children to a college that wasn’t accredited because there is no guarantee of a quality education. The fire department’s new status is a credential saying Cherry Point can expect quality and professional service provided by the department.
“Everyone in the department deserves recognition for the successful accreditation,” said Ken Lavoie, the fire chief of the air station. “Going through the process and reaching accreditation makes everyone on the installation safer and makes us a better department.”