A task force consisting of a group of highly qualified and dedicated professionals developed the accreditation model. These chief fire officers, trainers, city and county administrators, and academic professionals worked together to develop the self-assessment model, the basis for accreditation. The model provides a proven methodology to continually evaluate and improve services. The process helps organizations stay in touch with the communities they serve and meet the needs of their citizens.
Included in the accreditation model are the following 10 categories that fire departments use to evaluate their performance:
- Governance and administration;
- Assessment and planning;
- Goals and objectives;
- Financial resources;
- Physical resources;
- Human resources;
- Training and competency;
- Essential resources; and
- External systems relationships.
Within each category are criteria that measure or index a service or practice so that a judgment can be made. Within each criterion are performance indicators that define the desired level of ability to demonstrate a particular task as specified in the accreditation model. A total of 244 performance indicators are evaluated in preparation for the accreditation with 77 of these being core competencies that cannot be failed.
The accreditation model also includes a comprehensive research and information guide to assist the department in the self-assessment process. This manual is subject to continuous improvement and revision. The manual includes checklists, exhibits, benchmarks, references and activities to assist the fire department through the process. In addition, several appendices necessary for the accreditation process have been developed to address topics including defining the elements of response time, creating standards of response coverage and developing master or strategic plans.