Truax firefighters receive international accreditation

  • Published
  • By SMSgt Paul Gorman
  • 115th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Truax Field Fire and Emergency Services became the second Air National Guard fire department in the U.S. to be accredited by the Center for Public Safety Excellence’s Commission on Fire Accreditation International March 23 following a round of hearings in Orlando, Florida.

The accreditation emphasizes continual process improvement through a five year cycle of third-party validation, and annual compliance reporting.

According to CFAI Program Director Karl Ristow, the Truax Field FES commitment to excellence is seen in its work to be a risk-driven, community-focused organization.

“Their work has yielded a new business plan that will prepare them to meet all challenges, seek quality in all they do and be a leader; not only in the U.S. Air Force, but also in the fire service, and ultimately in the community they serve.” Ristow said.

As part of the 115th Fighter Wing’s Civil Engineer Squadron, the fire department safeguards unit personnel, aircraft and facilities 24/7; while simultaneously providing primary fire and emergency medical service to all of Dane County Regional Airport.

Chief Master Sgt. Joshua Loescher, chief of fire and emergency services, oversees the 32 civilian and 27 military fire professionals currently assigned to the station. Last year alone the department supported 570 responses, 90 of which were calls for off-base mutual aid.

Loescher considers CFAI accreditation a significant milestone for Truax Field FES; one that will require the utmost dedication.

“The process requires complete transparency and extreme humility,” Loescher said. “Every five years a panel of highly experienced fire chiefs are going to arrive on our doorstep and completely expose every inefficiency, inadequacy, and procedural shortfall within our department. But all of those inefficiencies, inadequacies and shortfalls become opportunities for organizational improvement.”

A CFAI inspection team comprised of civilian fire officers from around the country conducted their initial review of Truax FES operations in May 2021. In order to maintain accreditation, department leadership is tasked to implement their recommendations, and document their efforts in a comprehensive annual report.

Ristow believes the unit’s accreditation can be beneficial to Air National Guard as a whole. “They are using processes that will ensure they stay at the tip of the spear for fire and emergency services should they choose to do so.” he said.

To Loescher, the end goal easily outweighs any discomfort the process might entail.

“The 115th Fighter Wing is a top tier organization, so my reasoning for doing this is that the personnel who make us a top tier fighter wing deserve to have a top tier fire department protecting them,” said Loescher. “And this process is the most comprehensive way to accomplish that.”