Columbus Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services Seeks to Keep Accreditation in Georgia

The Columbus Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services is on track to continue as one of only 106 internationally accredited departments.

The team leader in charge of reviewing the department's annual compliance reports has recommended that the Commission on Fire Accreditation International allow Columbus to retain its accreditation, a status it has held since August 2002.

"You've got to demonstrate you're providing the best possible services," said Fire Chief Roy Waters. "You are providing the best quality of patient care on the EMS side and the best fire suppression you can provide anywhere... . You've got to meet the most stringent criteria."

Waters said the accreditation must be applied for, recommended and approved every year. The department spends months compiling data in 10 categories -- governance and administration, assessment and planning, goals and objectives, financial resources, programs, physical resources, human resources, training and competency, essential resources, and external systems relations -- before submitting the documents to a team leader.

Columbus' team leader, Steve Nuttall, is in Washington, Waters said. Nuttall reviews all the information, then makes a recommendation to the international commission.

Waters said the recommendation is assurance that the accreditation will be retained.

"Once the team member recommends you, you're going to get it," Waters said.

The city should have confirmation in about a month on the accreditation, Waters said.

Columbus is one of five departments in Georgia that are internationally accredited. The others are the Atlanta Fire Department, Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services, Covington Fire Department, and Fayette County Department of Emergency Services.

The international commission is separate from the Insurance Services Office rating, which assigns ratings that play a part in determining home insurance rates. ISO ratings are from Class 1 to Class 10, with Class 1 being the highest rating. Columbus maintains a Class 2 rating.

Distributed by the Associated Press