Orland Fire Protection District receives the nation’s highest accreditation honor
The Orland Fire Protection District (OFPD) Wednesday was awarded “International Accredited Agency” status, the highest possible rating for effectiveness as a firefighting agency, presented by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) and the Center for Public Safety Excellence, Inc. (CPSE).
The “Accredited Agency” status recognizes the Orland Fire Protection District’s overall effectiveness in every possible firefighting rescue scenario, hazardous material, emergency medicine, training, financial and personnel management, and information.
Accredited agencies are often described as community-focused, data-driven, outcome-focused, strategic-minded, well-organized, adequately equipped, and properly staffed and trained. It includes a detailed review of fire and emergency service operations categories, such as Governance and Administration, Assessment and Planning, Goals and Objectives, Financial / Human / Human / Essential Resources, Community Risk Reduction Programs, Training and Competency, External Relationships, and Health/Safety.
Additionally, the OFPD already has twice received the nation’s highest Insurance Services Office (ISO) score of ISO 1 in 2018 and 2023, a designation insurance companies rely on to determine insurance rates for district homes and businesses; “ISO 1″ is the highest possible rating which results in the lowest insurance rates with significant savings for home and business owners.
“We are proud to say that we are one of the best Fire Districts in the country and can prove that by succeeding in receiving the highest ratings from every major professional agency that evaluates and monitors fire departments and districts,” said OFPD Fire Chief Michael Schofield.
“This rating is tough, and only a handful of the world’s fire districts have received it. We went through a very regimented and rigid evaluation conducted by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International and the Center for Public Safety Excellence, which sent four fire chiefs from Canada, the East and West Coast, and Missouri who made firsthand evaluations of our performance, structure, and abilities. This is a great honor for the Orland Fire Protection District and all its firefighters/paramedics, employees, and the district taxpayers, knowing they cannot get a better Fire District that responds to every possible situation.”
There are over 45,000 fire departments in the country. The Orland Fire Protection District is one of more than 318 agencies in 12 countries to achieve Internationally Accredited Agency status with the CFAI and CPSE.
And now, the Orland Fire Protection District is one of only 120, both an ISO Class 1 rated fire district and Internationally Accredited. There are only 12 Accredited agencies in Illinois.
“You cannot overstate the significance of these achievements because they directly save lives. Unquestionably, no one does it better than the Orland Fire Protection District,” said OFPD Board President John Brudnak.
“This is a great honor not only for the district and its residents but for every man and woman who works at the Fire District who risk their lives every day to ensure all our residents’ safety.”
Schofield said the evaluation required the creation of a “Strategic Plan” for emergencies and district management, a 300-page “Community Risk Assessment – Standards of Cover (CRA/SOC),” which identified any possible risks and vulnerabilities with deployment and response baselines and benchmarks strategies that meet or exceed national standards. Finally, a “Self-Assessment Model” containing over 252 performance criteria was created and evaluated by a nationwide Peer Assessment Team, including a three-day site visit. It took more than one year for completion and evaluation by the agencies.
“This was no easy feat. We are one of only 318 fire departments out of 12 countries to be accredited. We are also one of only 116 fire departments/districts that are accredited and ISO1 rated together,” Schofield said.
“The benefit is transparency in what we do and how we do it. It is also a road map for our future. We are the only accredited department in our region and one of a handful also an ISO1.”
Schofield thanked the members of the OFPD Board of Trustees, including Brudnak, Jayne Schirmacher, Beth Damas Kaspar, Angela Greenfield, and Tina Zekich.
“We could not be at this point without the continued support of the board of trustees that always strives for continuous quality improvement to make the District better, faster, safer, and smarter in all we do,” Schofield said.
Schofield also thanked the members of the district who “work hard every day to make us the most respected fire district in the region, if not in the state.” He applauded the OFPD Accreditations team consisting of Deputy Chief Nick Cinquepalmi, Battalion Chiefs (BC) John Purtill and Joe Moore (ret.), Accreditation Manager Randy Reeder (LT. ret.), Firefighter Michael Dorenz, Training Officer Michael Seifert, EMS Director Josh Girdick, FPB Director Michael Ercoli, Dispatch Director Gina Cortez, Finance Director Kerry Sullivan and “all the Division heads and staff that put in many hours to achieve this important safety recognition.”
The OFPD is already recognized for having one of the highest Cardiac Arrest “Save Rates” in the Country, with over 72 percent survival in 2023, compared to a national average of only 10 to 15 percent.
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