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The Fire Department continues to raise the bar.

Members from Goodfellow’s Fire Department stand together for a photo in the fire house on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 24, 2019. The Fire Department has won several awards for their pursuit of excellence, including the Small Fire Department of the Year award from the U.S. Air Force in 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Abbey Rieves/Released)

Members from Goodfellow’s Fire Department stand together for a photo in the fire house on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 24, 2019. The Fire Department has won several awards for their pursuit of excellence, including the Small Fire Department of the Year award from the U.S. Air Force in 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Abbey Rieves/Released)

The U.S. Air Force level Small Fire Department of the Year award, from 2017, on display at the Fire Department on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 24, 2019. The Fire Department has spent years enhancing on their already high standards to make sure they are providing the best service possible to the base and surrounding community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Chapman/Released)

The U.S. Air Force level Small Fire Department of the Year award, from 2017, on display at the Fire Department on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 24, 2019. The Fire Department has spent years enhancing on their already high standards to make sure they are providing the best service possible to the base and surrounding community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Chapman/Released)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Goodfellow’s Fire Department has spent years of dedication on the goal of continuous improvement. Along the way, their hard work has been noticed at both Air Education Training Command and Air Force levels resulting in several awards, including the Air Force’s Best Small Fire Department of the Year award in 2017.

“We have won AETC Small Fire Department of the Year the last several years and AETC Fire Prevention of the Year two out of the last three years,” said Deputy Fire Chief Richard Alter, 17th Civil Engineer Squadron. “There is the AETC level and after that is the Air Force level. We have been trying to win at the Air Force level for a long time, and we finally broke through and won the Air Force Small Fire Department of the Year in 2017.”

The Fire Department has a playbook of sorts, due to them being an accredited agency, which helps them with their ongoing process of continuous improvement.

“We became accredited in 2016, but it was a five year process leading up to that,” said Alter. “The Commission on Fire Accreditation International is the governing body that recognizes excellence in the fire service. It is a checklist driven program consisting of over 250 best practice performance indicators, each of which we have to verify with four-part lines of effort. This strategic process has helped keep our entire organization on a course for excellence because we must to meet each of the 250 benchmarks.”

Assistant Fire Chief Jason Garcia, 17th CES, shares Alter’s opinion on the benefits of being accredited.

“One of the main goals of CFAI is the drive for continuous improvement,” said Garcia. “We build everything on enhancing baseline efforts. How do we provide a better service for John and Jane Doe, the people that we are serving? With that as our driving focus, it really does help us succeed. The awards are great, but they are because of the standards we set for ourselves and desired levels of service the base community expects.”

For the Fire Department to function as well as it does, it requires support throughout the organization.

“I think we have a great team,” said Alter. “Our leaders, both internal and external work well together. Everyone takes pride in what they do. To me whenever you are recognized for your efforts, it gives you a sense of satisfaction that the organization you are working for is top notch.”

The firefighters pride in their work and their team increases with each award.

“We have proven that we are an excellent agency with great employees, innovative tools, and exceptional training,” said Garcia. “Getting these awards really makes you realize our continuous efforts are being recognized by others and you’re at the top of your game. It makes me feel proud that our dedicated team of airmen are being told by the Air Force and AETC that they are the best.”