The Beverly Hills Fire Department has embarked on a multi-year process to attain accreditation by the Center for Public Safety Excellence, an international nonprofit that evaluates fire and emergency services.
The process involves a comprehensive review of the department’s policies, services and goals, as well as public input. If the department receives accreditation, it will join the Burbank, Culver City, Torrance and Pasadena fire departments as the only agencies in the Los Angeles area to be certified by the Center for Public Safety Excellence. Only 266 agencies are accredited by the center nationwide.
Michael Liongson, fire administrator for the BHFD, said the accreditation would give the department prestige and demonstrate that it operates under the highest possible standards. The BHFD is already rated as a Class 1 department by the Insurance Services Office and is a full-service emergency response agency.
“It’s for continued improvement of the fire department. We always want to be better,” Liongson said. “It provides a blueprint for what we are going to be doing in the next five years. It’s one of the things we are trying to do to provide the best level of service for the community.”
The department held a workshop last month in which 23 members of the public rated the department’s services. Liongson added that community input is an important part of the process and will be weighed by the Center for Public Safety Excellence.
Fire department personnel were not allowed to be part of the community input meeting, so as not to influence participants. The results of public input are being reviewed and are still confidential.
“It was a good, diverse group of people representative of the community,” Liongson added. “They filled out a survey that rates our levels of service.”
The next step will be for fire authorities to conduct self-assessment and undergo internal strategic planning to identify goals for the future. The process is ongoing and the strategic planning process will likely be complete at the end of the year.
Once that part of the process is complete, the BHFD will submit the information and supporting documentation to the center, which will begin a peer analysis. The center will send auditors to the department to conduct an evaluation and verify the information about services. The audit is expected to last three to four days and is a complete evaluation of all aspects of the department.
“If we pass, then we go to the [center’s] commission for a hearing,” Liongson added. “The committee is the final step. We are looking at 2021 for this to be complete.”
The Beverly Hills Fire Department provides fire suppression and emergency response services, emergency medical services and community risk reduction. The latter involves ensuring buildings are safe and habitable, as well as educating and helping residents and business owners prepare for emergencies such as earthquakes and wildfires.
BHFD Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Matsch said the Center for Public Safety Excellence accreditation will be an important achievement.
“Becoming accredited will help BHFD identify the communities’ concerns and future emergency response needs. Aging in place, fire prevention, emergency medical service levels and fire preparedness are just some of the areas we want to ensure are commensurate with community expectations,” Matsch said. “This accreditation process will allow us to evaluate our service levels and ensure we are fully prepared to provide the best emergency response team for all hazards associated under the fire department umbrella.”
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.