CFD receives 5-year accreditation status

COVINGTON - The Covington Fire Department has achieved accreditation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence for the second time.

The five-year accreditation is based on performance in 10 categories: governance and administration; assessment and planning; goals and objectives; financial resources; programs; physical resources; human resources; training and competency; essential resources; and external system relationships.

"This accreditation is a self-improvement process," CFD Chief Don Floyd said. "You look at yourself and do a self-assessment. It's not something you accomplish and put on the shelf for the next five years. It's a working document and it gives you goals and strategic plans."

The CFD was first accredited in 2003, becoming the fourth department in the state and the 89th department in the world to achieve that status.

The 2008 accreditation paperwork, which included the CFD's Self Assessment Manual, Standards of Coverage and Strategic Plan was submitted in May. A peer review team, representing agencies in the U.S. and Canada, conducted an on-site visit in June.

"(They) validated our agency and recommended to the commission accredited agency status for another five years," Floyd said.

Floyd said there were recommendations made for growth and improvement.

"One of them, of course, is an increase in staffing since we are growing at such a rate. We are in need of a third station within the city limits of Covington and that's one of the things pointed out by the commission," he said.

Another recommendation was for the fire department to have more advanced technology "so we can retrieve data and analyze it a little more efficiently," Floyd said.

Floyd and Capt. Rob Christopher, accreditation manager, appeared before the Commission on Fire Accreditation at the International Association of Fire Chiefs in Denver, Colo., in mid-August and the department was awarded accredited agency status. CFD is now one of four Georgia departments and one of 129 in the world to attain accredited status.

Another remarkable achievement for the department is that it is beginning its 20th year without a fire-related death.

"I think it's a culmination of (the accreditation), our fire safety program, our inspection and code enforcement program - all of it coming together so people are more aware of what's going on in their lives and know more about fire safety," Floyd said.