Public Safety Org Reaffirms Abington Twp. Fire Dept’s Excellence

Commission on Fire Accreditation International re-accredited the A.T.F.D. following a rigorous review of performance indicator achievements

ByLeza Raffel, Patch Contributor

Internationally Recognized Public Safety Organization Reaffirms Abington Township Fire Department’s Excellence

The Commission on Fire Accreditation International re-accredited the A.T.F.D. following a rigorous review of achievement in 300+ performance indicators, including fire suppression, fire fighter training and safety, and strategic planning.

A.T.F.D. received its original CFAI accreditation in 2014, and is the only all-volunteer fire department in Pennsylvania to be accredited.

Abington, PA… The Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) has reaffirmed Abington Township Fire Department’s place among a select group of highly accomplished emergency service providers by voting on March 12 to re-accredit the 100 percent volunteer department.

Both the original Abington Township Fire Department (A.T.F.D.) 2014 accreditation and the recent re-accreditation confirm the high level of fire service excellence the township’s five fire companies and 220+ volunteers provide to those who live, work, learn, or visit in Abington Township. Both times, the A.T.F.D. met over 300 performance indicators, core competencies, and criteria in areas including fire suppression, fire training, strategic planning, fire prevention education programs, finances, physical and human resources, and firefighter safety and health.

CFAI accreditation is a rare achievement. The A.T.F.D. is Pennsylvania’s only all-volunteer fire department to achieve this honor. In fact, the achievement is rare even among paid fire departments: Only 10 percent of the U.S. population is protected by a CFAI-accredited agency.

To be accredited and re-accredited, A.T.F.D. was required to provide CFAI with extensive proof of performance. This included detailed analyses of many types of risk throughout the township, a measure of the minimum A.T.F.D. response to various types of emergencies, and a strategic plan for the fire department’s future.

After reviewing the documents, the CFAI sent a Peer Assessment Team to Abington to verify and validate the printed information. Following a five-day site visit, the Peer Assessment Team recommended that CFAI confirm accreditation status for the A.T.F.D. Fire department representatives attended a hearing before the Commission, which voted to accept the Peer Assessment Team’s recommendation and re-accredit the A.T.F.D.

This documentation takes a significant effort, but even that pales in comparison to the day-in, day-out effort the volunteers of the Abington, McKinley, Weldon, Edge Hill, and Roslyn put into training, emergency response, fire prevention and other community outreach, and more, explained Fire Services Administrator David Schramm. “Accreditation is a long process, but it is important to department leaders because it recognizes our volunteers’ accomplishments and hard work,” he said. “We’re happy and proud that those achievements have been recognized by this notable and prestigious accrediting organization.”

Additionally, the self-evaluation involved in the accreditation process helps the A.T.F.D. learn more about its strengths and the areas where room for improvement remains. During the site visit, the Peer Assessment Team also identifies opportunities for improvement, and in order to maintain accreditation, the A.T.F.D. must submit annual compliance reports explaining how the team’s recommendations are being met in a fiscally responsible way.

CFAI is a component of the Center for Public Safety Excellence, which is a nonprofit group that promotes continuous quality improvements to emergency services throughout the United States. The Commission’s goals are to promote organizational self-improvement, help fire departments improve services to the community, and to award accreditation status in recognition of excellent performance.

The Abington Township Fire Department is a dedicated team of volunteer firefighters comprised of five individual fire companies unified as one department with a mission to provide excellent fire, rescue, fire prevention, and public education services to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the community. The fire department headquarters is located at 1176 Old York Road in Abington.

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