RICHMOND, Va. – The Defense Logistics Agency firefighters are making sure their colleagues at other federal agencies get the training they need to obtain fire service accreditation.
Forty representatives from fire departments across the Department of Defense came to DLA’s installation in Richmond, Va., in late January for a three-day workshop on achieving accreditation.
During the Jan. 18-20 training at Defense Supply Center Richmond – the home of DLA Aviation – attendees learned about the value and process of earning accreditation through the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. Participants included firefighters from various DLA organizations and DOD firefighters from around the country, including California and Florida.
Chief C.J. Hipshire, DLA's top firefighter in Richmond, said the workshop was held at the request of his department, which earned its accreditation in March 2009 and must maintain it with annual compliance reports to CFAI. According to CFAI's website, 142 agencies have earned accreditation through its program, and only 13 of those are DOD agencies.
CFAI chairman and Chief Fire Officer Ernst Piercy, who is also the fire chief at the Air Force Academy in Colorado, conducted the training. He told attendees that the overarching goal of accreditation is to improve and enhance delivery of service to communities and the world at large.
Piercy taught attendees how the fire accreditation organization helps fire departments determine community risks and safety needs and establish a method for achieving continuous improvement.
To become accredited, CFAI evaluates agencies in a number of areas such as goals and objectives, financial resources, governance and administration and training and competency.
"Fire service accreditation, which is similar to hospital or university accreditation, is a process that is designed to ensure fire service agencies are leading their organizations in accordance with nationally accepted practices," Piercy said. "DLA's fire department in Richmond is one of only a dozen in DOD to achieve accredited agency status, a fact they can be very proud of."
He added that the accreditation workshop represented the largest class held at a DOD installation.
DLA Aviation Assistant Fire Chief Mark Shreve said that it was emphasized to the firefighters that accreditation is a process, not a project.
"A project has an end, and a process is ongoing," said Shreve. "That's something CFAI is really trying to push."
Hipshire said that everyone who attended found it beneficial.
"One of them told me, 'Chief, I just want to thank you for the workshop, because it really opened our eyes to why we're doing the process of accreditation,'" he said.
As the Department of Defense’s combat support agency, DLA provides the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, other federal agencies, and joint and allied forces with a variety of logistics, acquisition and technical services. The agency sources and provides nearly 100 percent of the consumable items America’s military forces need to operate, from food, fuel and energy, to uniforms, medical supplies, and construction and barrier equipment. DLA also supplies more than 80 percent of the military’s spare parts.
Headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Va., DLA has about 27,000 employees worldwide and supports about 1,900 weapon systems. DLA’s business revenues were nearly $41 billion in Fiscal Year 2010. For more information about DLA, go to www.dla.mil, www.facebook.com/dla.mil or http://twitter.com/dlamil.