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I recently retirede from an Accredited Department and was the Accreditation manager for 5 years. I have some insight on the process and a lot of documents if needed. I believe the process to be a very good process and we were a better department because of it.

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Thanks, Chief:

I agree only good can come from this. How did your strategic planning process go? Was that something your department had already engaged in during previous years, or did it come with accreditation?

In your experience are most departments doing this on the career side? Is it better to handle it internally or farm it out to a consultant? My feeling is keeping it in house with someone who can objectively view the department and separate himself/herself from the personal aspects of being a department member.

The fear on my department's end, at least from what I gather, is that we are going to move from a volunteer department to a career department. Operating as a township department on many levels has opened up numerous opportunities for standardization, which gives all five companies buying power. But, it has put a lot of administrative responsibilities to people at the township level, which I think is feeding fears. I think the fear that we are going to become career vs. volunteer with a "township chief" is one of the hardest obstacles we have yet to overcome.
We are a small department, 97, and we are considering beginning the accreditation process. Is it absolutely necessary to have a "full time" accreditation manager or can this be handled by someone in a current staff position (40-hour)? Should our accreditation manager and/or myself serve as a peer assessor before we begin the process?
Yes
You do noit need a full time accreditation manager. You do however, need one person to be the manager. This person will have to be registered with the Center.
I served as the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department's (AFRD) Accreditation Manager for over five years. I have served as an instructor, Peer Assessor, and Team Leader for the Commission Fire Accreditation International (CFAI). We (AFRD) originally sold the accreditation process to our members with the wrong emphasis. The principle reason for engaging on the process is the Self-assessment. The CFAI Self-assessment phase gives your department the credible evaluation you need for improvement. Organization assessment is the reward of the process not the award of accredited status.

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