June 16, 2021

Virginia Beach Fire Department Awarded National Accreditation Status for Fifth Consecutive Time

The Virginia Beach Fire Department (VBFD) has received Accredited Agency status with the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) for meeting the criteria established through the CFAI's voluntary self-assessment and accreditation program. The CFAI model is designed for agencies to seek continual improvement by performing an in-depth self-assessment based on the local community compared against industry best practices. VBFD was first accredited in 2001 and then reaccredited in 2006, 2011, 2016 and now 2021.

VBFD is one of only 16 agencies in Virginia to be fully accredited by the Commission and one of only 290 emergency response agencies in the world to be recognized for public safety excellence. Only 12% of the U.S. population is protected by an accredited agency.

VBFD Battalion Chief Jonathan T. McIvor led the department's reaccreditation process and team during the past five years. To maintain accreditation involves submitting an annual compliance report with review each year for four of the years with every fifth year involving an onsite visit by a peer assessment team made up of fire professionals from all over the US and Canada. The peer reviewers validate and verify the submitted documents which include a Community Risk Assessment - Standards of Cover document along with a Community-driven Strategic Plan and Self-Assessment Manual. The peer team then provides a recommendation to the 11-member board of commissioners. The final determination for accreditation is determined after a hearing between the agency and the board of commissioners.

According to CFAI, agencies have reported that the process is not easy and that they spend approximately 2,000+ hours preparing the required accreditation documents and up to 13,000 hours addressing all things they learn from the self-assessment. The entire process can take three to five years to work through to achieve accredited status.

Fire Chief David Hutcheson stated, "We are very proud to have once again reached this extraordinary milestone. We have used the CFAI's process as a proactive tool to plan for the future of this agency and identify areas where we can improve on the quality service we provide. The men and women of the VBFD are professionals in every sense of the word and strive daily for excellence in service delivery and to raise the department to the next level of quality customer service to our community."

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