The San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District was awarded national accreditation, which is considered a mark of outstanding work and responsible use of taxpayers' money.
The 11-member Commission on Fire Accreditation International, based in Chicago, unanimously voted Thursday morning to award the accreditation, making the local fire department the first in Contra Costa County and the sixth in California to achieve the status.
The national accrediting agency sent a team of inspectors to the San Ramon Valley to audit and assess the local agency. They evaluated the department based on the condition of its equipment, overall response times, emergency preparedness and its relationships with other agencies and the community.
The inspectors lauded the fire department on all those points, but suggested that it set up new response time standards for different fire types. The accreditation team especially praised the department for its transparency with both its employees and the public.
"Pursuing … accreditation over the past three years has been one of the most significant and important endeavors ever undertaken by the District," said Fire Chief Richard Price. "Accreditation required the combined best efforts of all members of our organization and strengthened an embedded culture of quality and best practices in this agency."