Surprise Fire-Medical Department (SFMD) is accredited by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI). The department became an Internationally Accredited Agency (IAA) in March of 2020 and joined the elite ranks of just 284 fire/rescue departments worldwide, to achieve this prestigious designation. In 2020, the Commission unanimously voted to approve SFMD’s accreditation for five years (through 2025). In addition, SFMD is only one of 95 departments in the country and one of six in the state that possess an ISO rating of ONE.
This comprehensive evaluation model, together with a rigorous self-assessment, and external evaluation by independent industry experts, promotes accreditation excellence while encouraging quality improvement, leading to higher service delivery levels for the residents and visitors of Surprise.
The IAA accreditation process enables department services to:
- Assure stakeholders that SFMD operates with a definite mission and objectives that are appropriate for the members we serve
- Provide a detailed evaluation of the services provided to the community
- Identify areas of strength and weakness within the department
- Create methods or systems for addressing deficiencies while building organizational success
- Encourage professional growth for both the department and its personnel
- Establishes a forum for organizational communication of organizational priorities
- Fosters national recognition by the public and colleagues
“Understanding the importance of continuous improvement is the benchmark of the accreditation model,” said Fire Chief Tom Abbott. “SFMD strives to provide the highest quality emergency services and preparation while always looking to improve. We have received recommendations that we’ll be working toward for the next five years through the accreditation process.”
The accreditation process enables fire and emergency service agencies to examine past, current, and future service levels and internal performance and compare them to industry best practices. Accreditation allows the organization to determine community risk and safety needs, develop community-specific Standards of Cover, evaluate the department’s performance, and establish a continuous improvement method.
SFMD strives to achieve continuous organizational improvement through the development of annual strategic initiatives and opportunities for further professional enhancements. The IAA accreditation process has resulted in developing and maintaining key planning documents, including a Comprehensive Risk Assessment, Strategic Plan Self-Assessment Manual, and Standards of Cover. These documents were carefully reviewed, validated, and verified by a CFAI-assigned mentor and experienced Peer Review Team.