March 23, 2021
The Charleston Fire Department has received Accredited Agency status with the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) for meeting the criteria established through the CFAI’s voluntary self-assessment and accreditation program. Accreditation is a comprehensive assessment and evaluation model for fire and emergency service organizations. The accreditation process evaluates the performance of the agency and helps to determine community risks and fire safety needs. The assessment process identifies strengths and weaknesses within the department, evaluates the services the department provides to the community, creates methods for addressing deficiencies, and encourages professional growth for both the department and its personnel. Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said, “I’d like to congratulate the Charleston Fire Department on this remarkable accomplishment. Their continued dedication to improving the quality of service provided is admirable, and the citizens of Charleston are lucky to have such fine men and women serving our community.” “Maintaining CFAI accreditation status over the last five years has been an important task for the Department,” said Fire Chief Dan Curia. “Achieving reaccreditation status emphasizes our ongoing commitment to providing a high level of service to our citizens while striving to improve our department. This would not have been possible without the tremendous support of Mayor Tecklenburg, City Council, and the members of our community.” The accreditation status is awarded on a five-year cycle. The Charleston Fire Department initially achieved accreditation in 2015, with annual reports submitted to the Center for Public Safety Excellence, Inc. (CPSE) to demonstrate ongoing compliance and progress on identified deficiencies. Every fifth year, the agency must undergo a full assessment, during which an evaluation team of peers from around the country reviews programs, documents, and conducts an on-site visit. Although the reaccreditation assessment was due in 2020, extensions were provided to allow assessments to be conducted safely during the pandemic. Of the approximately 29,705 fire departments in the United States, just 284 hold accredited agency status, 29 of those being in South Carolina. Additionally, only 102 of those fire departments have the distinction of being an accredited agency and have achieved an ISO Class 1 rating. The Charleston Fire Department is one of only three agencies in South Carolina to have earned both distinctions.
Submitted by Michael A. Julazadeh