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Video: Columbus Fire Department A Step Closer to Accreditation Status

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- For four days, leaders from the Center For Public Safety Excellence inspected the Columbus Fire Department, determining if they’re worthy of accreditation.

“We’ve been looking at all aspects of the fire department. From the way that it was established, how they plan long term, how they finance the department, all of their programs, their facilities, etc. We presented a 50 page report that we’ll forward to the commission and fire accreditation with our recommendation and findings,” said Will Gray, Peer Team Leader for the Center for Public Safety Excellence.

Those findings were presented to city leaders with great reviews.

“We’re going to give them a successful recommendation. Now the commission makes the final call, but about 95% of the time the commission supports the peer teams findings. They’ve got a little bit of work to do once we leave but I’ll fight for them when we sit before the commission,” said Gray.

Leaders had very few suggestions, but one included improving the training classroom areas within the 5 stations. Out of 30,000 fire departments in the nation, only 180 have accreditation status. If they’re approved, this will put Columbus Fire Department in the top 1%.

Chief Kenneth Moore says the findings are a testament to their hard work.

“There are none in the State of Mississippi, we are trying to be the first. Everything we’ve done for two years is a continuing learning process. We have to be re-evaluated in five years, so it’s a constant improvement and that;s what we’ve set out to do,” said Moore.

Accreditation also means a safer environment for Columbus residents.

“When you dial 911, you’ll get a fire truck faster. And when you get a fire truck, they’ll be better educated, they’ll be better ready to respond. And then they’ll go back and evaluate how they did regularly. So the citizens will continually get better service. They’ll also analyze the city so when a new risk comes to town, a different kind of structure that may burn differently or if an older population moves in here. They’ll begin to train better to meet the needs of those people,” said Gray.

In march, the public safety team, along with the Columbus Fire Department will travel to Las Vegas and present their findings to the commission.