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Ky. fire department achieves Class 1 rating

Lexington Fire Department is one of only seven departments to attain three top accrediations


The Lexington Fire Department is one of over 300 fire departments in the United States to receive Accredited Agency status with the Commission on Fire Accreditation International.

Chris Leach/TNS

By Christopher Leach
Lexington Herald-Leader

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Lexington Fire Department announced Wednesday it had received Accredited Agency status with the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI), making the department one of over 300 fire departments in the United States to achieve such status.

Additionally, LFD is only one of seven fire departments in the U.S. to be accredited by CFAI, achieve a class I ranking from the Insurance Services Organization and be accredited in EMS education through the Commission of Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, putting LFD in the top 0.1% of fire departments in the country.

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The other departments to achieve those three benchmarks are the Atlanta Fire Rescue Training Academy; Fire and Emergency Services in Columbus, Ga.; Fire and EMS Academy in Jackson County, Mo.; the Clayton County Fire Department in Georgia; the Columbus Fire Department in Ohio and the El Paso Fire Department in Texas.

“We’re one of seven,” said Mayor Linda Gorton at a press conference. “If all that sounds a little complicated, the bottom line is very simple: Our fire department is among the best of the best in the United States.”

Chief Jason Wells said the process of becoming accredited with CFAI started years ago under former chief Kristin Chilton’s leadership. District Chief Jeremy Cooper described the process as an “institutionalized and documented quality improvement process” that featured self-assessment, community analysis and strategic planning.

The CFAI provides agencies with an improvement model during its evaluation for accreditation, according to LFD. The fire department then worked with a team of peers and other agencies to complete their self-assessment.

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Wells said the peer assessment team identified three practices that should be emulated elsewhere: Its partnerships with Bluegrass Community & Technical College , the University of Kentucky and the Community Paramedicine Program.

“As with all things in the fire service, this was truly a team effort,” Cooper said at the press conference.

LFD became accredited on Feb. 27, 2024, after a unanimous vote by CFAI commissioners. The department was celebrated during a ceremony in Florida, which Gorton was present for.

“This international accreditation represents the hard work and immense quality of our members, both active and retired,” Wells said at the press conference.

LFD collaborated with multiple divisions of Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government and community stakeholders during the accreditation process, according to Cooper. Gorton said the accreditation will benefit Lexington residents and surrounding communities, who often call on LFD during major emergencies.

“The fruits of this process will be tangible for years to come as we continue to work towards serving our community with dedication, professionalism and excellence,” Cooper said.

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