After years of effort – and more than just a little nervousness from some of the top brass – the Spokane Valley Fire Department became fully accredited by the Center of Public Safety Excellence.
On Monday, the department’s Board of Commissioners learned the good news and got their first look at a commemorative plaque that was presented to Fire Chief Mike Thompson.
The Spokane Valley Fire Department is the only such organization on the east side of Washington to become accredited by the CPSE along with the Commission on Fire Accreditation International -- and only one of six in the state to do so. Such accreditation has only been around 16 years, and in that time only 144 departments worldwide have made the cut.
To reach the milestone, Thompson said, the department had to meet and catalogue strict response times. The effort helps the department track its progress in many different areas, and those performance benchmarks must be maintained for the next five years in order for the department to keep its accreditation status.
The effort was coordinated by Capt. Jeff Bordwell, the department’s accreditation manager.
Accreditation inspectors pored through the department’s data and interviewed personnel to make their determination. The announcement came on Aug. 24 in Atlanta, Ga., when the CFAI Board of Commissioners named the SVFD as officially accredited.
“I’m really proud of this,” said board Chairman Monte Nesbitt. “The whole process was very professionally done.”
“Three cheers for everybody,” added Commissioner Joe Dawson.
Also on Monday, the commissioners heard about the continuing plans for an early-morning ceremony on Sept. 11. that will kick off with the posting of the colors at 6:40.
The ceremony will then take place in the under-construction meeting room of the fire commissioners – making it their first official gathering at the site. Still, since the area is still under construction, those in attendance shouldn’t expect to be able to walk around the site.
Fire commissioners last month chose wording submitted by Mark Hill, captain at the Greenacres Fire Station, for a community memorial plaque that will be played in the foyer of the new Spokane Valley Fire Department Administration Building, now under construction adjacent to Fire Station 8, 2120 N. Wilbur. Seven others also submitted wording for the plaque, which will be placed in conjunction with a 1,200-pound steel beam recovered from the wreckage of the World Trade Center.
A dedication ceremony will be held at 6:59 a.m. – the time the first tower fell on Sept. 11, 2001 – on the 10th anniversary of the New York City terrorist attacks on Sunday, Sept. 11.
The wording on the plaque will read:
Let this beam of rigid steel
Formed at the hands of men
Not represent the human atrocities
Committed on Sept. 11, 2001
Let it instead stand to bear witness
To the strength of our resolve
As a Nation of people.
Let it hold silent vigil
And remind us all
Of the brave men and women
Who will be there for us
In our time of need.
The commissioners also decided to add wording: “This beam from the World Trade center, forged by steel from fire, was placed here on 9-11-2011 by the hands of our community.”