Fire chiefs in a line

The Valley Regional Fire Authority Achieves Accreditation Status

After 3.5 years of focused work and thoughtful evaluation, the Valley Regional Fire Authority is proud to announce it has achieved accreditation status.

Accreditation is an international recognition of achievement. There are approximately 300 accredited agencies in the world. Seven of those agencies are in Washington State. Achieving accreditation shows communities that these agencies continually self-assess, look for opportunities for improvement, and are transparent and accountable through third-party verification and validation. “It is a testament to our dedicated professionals for the quality of work and customer service that is demonstrated daily at the VRFA,” says Deputy Chief/Accreditation Manager Dave Larberg.

In October, assessors from the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) spent four days at the VRFA reviewing, interviewing, and touring fire stations and facilities. At the end of their visit, the group recommended accredited status to the Commission on Fire Accreditation International Board (CFAI). On December 15, Fire Chief Brad Thompson and selected staff appeared before the CFAI Commission Hearing Board, where the VRFA received final approval for accreditation.

Accreditation is a voluntary process where agencies demonstrate adherence to best practice standards and are held accountable through an external peer review. In 2018, the VRFA began this process which required a close look into every aspect of the agency. The VRFA enlisted community and staff members to determine and prioritize areas that needed improvement, creating a five–year Strategic Plan. Other valuable documents developed during the accreditation process included; Standards of Cover, Community Risk Assessment, Capital Facilities Plan, and a comprehensive Self-Assessment Manual. After this self-assessment phase, assessors from CPSE visited for a thorough review of these documents, a tour of our facilities, and interviews with VRFA staff. After their visit, they recommended the accreditation status for the VRFA.

“Accreditation provides a roadmap for continual improvement and a culture of professional excellence. This culture will guide us as we look to serve our growing community while fulfilling our mission, vision, and values,” says Fire Chief Brad Thompson.

CPSE assessors provided a list of suggested improvements. Accredited agencies must evaluate recommendations annually and are considered for re-accreditation every five years.