On Tuesday, December 5, the San Marcos Fire Department was recognized by the Texas Fire Chiefs’ Association and received the Best Practices designation. This is the first time a City of San Marcos public safety department has earned a third-party accreditation.
In order to receive the designation, SMFD had to complete performance requirements outlined by the Association. Fire departments that seek this designation must show evidence that they excel in all aspects of fire service operations including administration and organization, emergency medical service, training, special operations, records and information management, fire operations, and many other categories that keep our community safe.
Captain Liz Baldinger was one of the driving forces behind the accreditation. She organized all the supporting documents necessary for over 100 best practices in eleven categories that are audited by the Association. Because of the extensive and lengthy application process, it took about three years to file the initial application, gather, and submit all the required documentation.
“We already know the great work our fire department does daily,” said Fire Chief Les Stephens. “This designation verifies that from an unbiased, third-party perspective. We’re proud to be honored on the state level.”
In addition to independent confirmation of the quality work that SMFD is doing, the designation will also serve as a guide to the fire department as it continues to serve the San Marcos community.
“Safety is always top of mind at the San Marcos Fire Department,” said Assistant City Manager Chase Stapp, who also served as Director of Public Safety. “We don’t just want to recognize the great work that our firefighters and staff do, we also want to continue it.”
The Texas Municipal League Intergovernmental Risk Pool encourages fire departments across the state to apply for this recognition program. Since 2012, when the Best Practices Accreditation Program started, 33 fire departments have been recognized. The San Marcos Fire Department is now the 34th department to be recognized. To keep its designation, SMFD will need to apply again in three years.
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