The Spokane Valley Fire Department learned last week that it is now one of 144 departments around the world that have earned international accreditation from the Commission on Fire Accreditation International.
Only six other departments in Washington have earned the certification, and all are on the West Side. The department has been working on the effort since 2005, but only really began focusing a significant amount of time on it three years ago, said Fire Chief Mike Thompson.
The department did a detailed analysis of calls and response times plus reams of other required paperwork. A team visited the department earlier this year to conduct interviews and inspect everything from mutual aid agreements to the regional ambulance contract the department administers. “It tells us that we’re doing a lot of the right things,” Thompson said.
Thompson said he is pleased with the work done by his staff during the process. “They did a phenomenal job,” he said. “It takes a team. One person cannot sit down and do it all.”
But the fact that the department has earned accreditation does not mean it can sit back and rest on the achievement. Progress reports are required annually, and the district must request re-accreditation in five years. It’s a “continuous improvement process,” Thompson said.
The department serves Spokane Valley, Otis Orchards, Liberty Lake and Millwood as well as some parts of unincorporated Spokane County.