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Truax fire department receives accreditation

The 115th Fighter Wing Truax Fire and Emergency Services fire department from Madison, Wis., poses with an accreditation plaque in Orlando, Flo., March 16, 2016. The 115 FW Truax Fire and Emergency Services fire department became the first in Dane County and the ninth in the state to be accredited. (Photo courtesy of Master Sgt. Gary Peck)

The 115th Fighter Wing Truax Fire and Emergency Services fire department from Madison, Wis., poses with an accreditation plaque in Orlando, Flo., March 16, 2016. The 115 FW Truax Fire and Emergency Services fire department became the first in Dane County and the ninth in the state to be accredited. (Photo courtesy of Master Sgt. Gary Peck)

The 115th Fighter Wing Truax Fire and Emergency Services fire department sits in an accreditation hearing in Orlando, Flo., March 16, 2016. The 115 FW Truax Fire and Emergency Services fire department became the first in Dane County and the ninth in the state to be accredited. (Photo courtesy of Master Sgt. Gary Peck)

The 115th Fighter Wing Truax Fire and Emergency Services fire department sits in an accreditation hearing in Orlando, Flo., March 16, 2016. The 115 FW Truax Fire and Emergency Services fire department became the first in Dane County and the ninth in the state to be accredited. (Photo courtesy of Master Sgt. Gary Peck)

MADISON, Wis. -- The 115th Fighter Wing Truax Fire and Emergency Services fire department became the first in Dane County and the ninth in the state to be accredited during an accreditation hearing in Orlando, Florida, March 16.

The Commission on Fire Accreditation International hearing was the final benchmark during the more than 2-year accreditation process.

"Our accreditation team completed 213 training hours and a total of 2,668 administrative hours to get the department internationally accredited through CFAI," said Master Sgt. Gary Peck, 115 FW Truax Fire and Emergency Services chief.

According to the Center for Public Safety Excellence website, accreditation is a way for fire departments to compare their best practices with departments across the world. They are evaluated on various topics, including training, assessment, planning, administration and financial resources.

"Accreditation truly is a comprehensive assessment, a report card, that evaluates the levels and quality of services a fire department provides its citizens," Peck said. "It's a means to prove the department is doing a good job in areas like response time, business practices and training records, among other things. This process has forced us to become a better organization. It's forced us to become data-driven. It has forced us to do things in a way that we can now document how we're doing it, and why we do it."

Maj. Daniel Statz, 115th Civil Engineer Squadron commander, traveled to Orlando to witness the accreditation process first-hand.

"I was very proud of the team," Statz said. "This group remained dedicated to the goal for over 18 months, taking personal time out of their schedules to complete the training."

According to Statz, this process made them look more outside of the base to the community while focusing on best practices versus Air Force Instructions.

"It has made our department more of a community partner and has provided a common task for all members to participate in to improve service to our customers," Statz said. "Accreditation is only the first step. We now have to keep pace with other best practices around the world to sustain accreditation status."

The team is currently establishing a five year improvement plan to maintain the organization's high expectations.

"The accreditation doesn't mean our hard work is finished," Peck said. "We've always held ourselves to a very high standard, and now that we've been accredited, our expectations are even higher."
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