The Danville Fire Department has been awarded international accreditation, which is recognized worldwide as a measure of excellence in fire service. Danville is one of six accredited municipal fire departments in Virginia and 208 agencies worldwide.
International accreditation is a voluntary self-assessment program established through the Commission on Fire Accreditation International, which provides a model to improve the fire and rescue agencies.
"We invited the most intense scrutiny available,” Fire Chief David Eagle said Wednesday. “The standards are high. Few departments achieve accreditation, so what this means is that we are among the best of the best.”
The commission analyzed every aspect of the fire department – administrative, operational, call processing time, turnout time and response time. The department met more than 300 performance indicators, core competencies, and criteria in areas such as fire suppression, fire training, strategic planning, fire prevention education programs, finances, physical and human resources and firefighter safety – all of which were verified through an on-site peer review by experts from around the country.
Literally, Eagle said, thousands of hours over a three-year period went into the process, requiring input from every level of the organization.
“It was time well spent,” Eagle said. “Subjecting our fire department to outside peer reviews and investigations ensures that we are doing our best to protect our city.”
In order to maintain accreditation, Danville must complete an annual compliance report. “This is not a milestone but a mile marker,” Eagle said.
The commission is a committee of the Center for Public Safety Excellence, which is a nonprofit group that promotes continuous quality improvements to emergency services throughout the United States. The commission's goals are to promote organizational self-improvement, help fire departments improve services to the community, and to award accreditation status in recognition of excellent performance.
The Danville Fire Department has been serving the community since 1884. Today, 144 firefighters and staff work in seven stations.