West Metro Fire Rescue has received Accredited Agency status with the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI), an honor held by just 301 fire service agencies around the world. West Metro has held accredited agency status since 2012. This reaccreditation marks the third time that the commission has evaluated West Metro, focusing on the level of service provided to residents and businesses, and the district’s commitment to the community.
Accredited agencies are often described as being community-focused, data-driven, outcome-focused, strategic-minded, well organized, properly equipped, and properly staffed and trained. In addition to the accreditation, West Metro is also ISO Class 1 certified – one of just 114 agencies to achieve both accreditation and the top ISO rating.
“The accreditation process is detailed and exhaustive, and it doesn’t allow us to rest on our past successes,” said West Metro Fire Chief Don Lombardi. “It demands that we continue to improve our response times and quality of service. Being reaccredited means our focus is where it should be – on how well we live up to our commitment to protect lives and property.”
The CFAI process is voluntary and provides an agency with an improvement model to assess their response to emergency incidents and internal performance. An on-site visit from a peer team, made up of members from other fire agencies, evaluates a detailed self-assessment. The assessment encompasses 11 major categories including response times, training, resource deployment and public education. Agencies must also compile a strategic plan and conduct a comprehensive community risk/hazard assessment.
Part of West Metro’s strategic plan focuses on potential challenges in emergency response across the fire district, which has assisted in determining where best to place resources. Sometimes the need can be met by reallocating existing crews and fire apparatus within the district. Sometimes it means adding service. In August, the district added a new ambulance (medic) at West Metro Station 17, bringing the total number of medics to 13. Medic 17 will provide service to the busy north side of the district, enhancing response for medical and fire calls. West Metro is planning to add more ambulances and crews in the early part of next year.
“The majority of our calls are medical emergencies,” said Chief Lombardi. “And with an aging population in many areas of the district, we’ve seen increasing demand on West Metro medic crews. Our citizens need us to step up.”
The accreditation process occurs every five years. West Metro’s reaccreditation is effective through August 2027.
Ronda Scholting is West Metro Fire Rescue’s Public Information Officer.