Fire Chief Stephen Gamble with the accreditation plaque from the CFAI.

Fire Chief Stephen Gamble with the accreditation plaque from the CFAI.

Langley Township wins international accreditation for fire department

It is the first internationally accredited agency in the Township

The Township of Langley Fire Department is the first agency to become an internationally Accredited Agency in the province of British Columbia.

The accreditation team of the Township Fire Department appeared before the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) in Atlanta, Georgia, on Aug. 8 – the final step in the department’s journey towards earning accreditation from the Commission.

Having answered numerous questions and satisfied a panel of eleven commissioners from across Canada and the U.S., the Township received Accredited Agency Status for meeting the criteria established through the CFAI’s voluntary self-assessment and accreditation program.

The Township’s department is the ninth agency in Canada to earn Internationally Accredited Fire Organization standing.

“Accreditation is about self-improvement,” said fire chief Stephen Gamble. “This is a huge step towards enhancing our decision making processes when it comes to serving the community. Through accreditation, the Township Fire Department’s performance and professionalism will be raised regarding the resources we deploy, the services we provide, our cost-effectiveness, and how we report to the public.”

“As good as we are today, we want to make it better tomorrow,” Gamble said.

The chief added that the rigorous accreditation program will provide better data and information for council and senior management to help with decision-making related to its Fire Department resources and programs.

“We are thrilled to be the first in B.C. to achieve accreditation,” said Township Mayor Jack Froese. “Having this status will allow the Fire Department and council to plan for the future and ensure we continue to provide the best service possible to our residents, businesses, and visitors.”

The department is the second largest accredited department in Canada to utilize both career and paid call firefighters, after the Ottawa Fire Department.

“A lot of effort went into earning this accreditation and we appreciate the hard work that made it happen,” said Township chief administrative officer Mark Bakken. “This process demonstrates the Fire Department’s commitment to providing the highest quality of service to our community, and is an investment that will pay off for years to come.”

The Township’s bid to secure accreditation began in February 2017. With Township deputy fire chief Monty Armstrong serving as accreditation manager, the process involved hundreds of hours of consultation and the development of three documents: a Community Risk Assessment/Standards of Cover, a Six-Year Master Plan, and a Self-Assessment Manual that required the department to meet 252 performance indicators.

These documents were validated during a site visit held this June by a peer team made up of fire officials from across Canada and the U.S. The team conducted independent interviews with Township staff and made the recommendation that the Township should be accredited.

The accreditation includes 17 recommendations for the Township to work towards over the next five years when the Department will then move forward on its second accreditation application. Annual progress reports must be provided to the CFAI, and the Township will serve as an ambassador of the accreditation model and assist other municipalities to achieve Accredited Agency status.

During the accreditation process, the Township Fire Department asked for public input through an online survey. Additional surveys focusing on more specific questions will be held as the Township strives to meet the recommendations and maintain its Accredited Agency status.

The Township of Langley Fire Department is one of more than 250 agencies to achieve Internationally Accredited Agency status with the CFAI and the Center for Public Safety Excellence, Inc.

The CFAI is dedicated to assisting fire and emergency service agencies throughout the world in achieving excellence through self-assessment and accreditation, to provide continuous quality improvement and the enhancement of service delivery to their communities. The CFAI process is voluntary and provides an agency with an improvement model to assess their service delivery and performance internally, then works with a team of peers from other agencies to evaluate their completed self-assessment.

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