analytics than was seen in Plano. For example, in Plano, all the
fire stations are in place; additional response vehicles may be
needed for district reliability (concentration of resources), but the
distribution of stations is already in place. In Frisco, the need
for a greater distribution of fire stations still drives the primary
needs of the department. The city has added a fire station every
two to three years for the past two decades. This trend will
most likely continue for the next two decades. The challenge for
Frisco is ensuring correct and timely station placement as the
city develops to ensure timely responses.
The Frisco Fire Department reports response times as well as
call volumes for current and future districts to the city coun-
cil every month. This information is ever present, as the city
council must balance limited funds for a growing city. However,
not all data are related to response times. A great example is
when the department looks at total commit times to determine
when a new ambulance is needed or the analysis of metrics to
determine when additional people are needed for vacation and
sick time relief.
The reality is that it doesn’t matter what city you live in or work
for; the need for data analytics is necessary to move your organization forward. When it comes to your organization’s performance,
the old management adage is still true: “You can’t manage what
you don’t measure.” Without measurement, you have no idea if
you are improving, remaining the same, or digressing.
KEVIN HAINES is a captain with Frisco ( TX) Fire
Department. He serves as a peer assessor team leader
and the department’s accreditation manager. He also
works with the CPSE technical advisor program as a
community risk analysis and standards of cover facilitator.
He has been in the fire service for more than 21 years and
has a master’s degree in public administration from the
University of North Texas, Denton.
BY TOM JENKINS, CFO, CEMSO
WHEN OUR DEPARTMENT FIRST BEGAN THE accreditation process, it appeared that most of the value was in the external validation of data,
policies, and practices. Although important, the most tangible benefit of the accreditation model has been what the
self-assessment process has offered. The self-assessment
process involves a review of the various performance indicators provided in the Fire and Emergency Service Self-Assessment Manual. The ability to assess your department in
an honest and comprehensive manner is a skill honed by
too few fire departments, so it can be difficult to complete
The self-assessment process has given our members,
regardless of rank or assignment, confidence that our
department is always in a constant state of improvement.
While we’re never going to be perfect, the commitment
to assessing our failures and successes is something that
makes accredited departments different from the ordinary
ones. Emphasis must be placed on developing an internal
capacity to do this work.
Teamwork is essential to self-assessment. Although the ac-
creditation manager is an important player in the process, the
real work has to be done by interested subject matter experts
within the department. It is the inclusion of these individu-
als, who have more knowledge of departmental policies and
practices than they do accreditation, which produces the real
“win” with the entire process. Although department leaders
often recognize the value of accreditation, all accredited agen-
cies struggle to gain the knowledge and buy-in from the rank-
and-file firefighters. Allowing them the privilege to participate
in this process is the “currency” of accreditation.
Indoctrinating accreditation through the self-assessment
process is one of the easiest ways to educate members what
accreditation is about and how it can change the organization
over time. Often, accreditation is seen by firefighters as a