Fire department leaders across the nation are recognizing the importance of leading their departments through Fire Department Accreditation. Across the United States, there are 259 (Year 2018) accredited fire departments; this represents an increase of 42 departments since August 2015. There are a total of five Tennessee fire departments included in this prestigious number: Alcoa, Brentwood, Bristol, Kingsport, and Maryville. This is also an increase of one department since August 2015.
Accreditation is a way to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of a fire department by determining community risks and fire safety needs, accurately evaluating the organization’s performance against a consensus standard of excellence, and providing a method for continuous improvement. Measuring professionalism and service delivery of fire and emergency services is a new concept for most cities.
Every day, fire chiefs, city managers and local elected officials make critical decisions about fire protection and emergency medical services for their communities. Now more than ever, there is constant pressure to do more with the same resources and in some cases less resources. Most city managers are hard-pressed to justify increasing expenditures unless they can be attributed directly to improved or expanded service delivery. There are a number of methods and a variety of techniques to measure fire service performance. Everyone agrees that the process should allow citizens, elected and appointed officials, and fire service personnel to see the success.