- The problem: Time-consuming assessment prep and self-assessments
- The solution: A compliance management system
- The benefits of accreditation software
For fire departments, like many other organizations, becoming accredited demonstrates dedication to higher standards and serves as a professional symbol of competency. Accreditation shows that your department is committed to continuous improvement and performing with excellence and authority. The accreditation process can be rather cumbersome and daunting, however, and this is only made worse when using traditional, paper-based management methods.
The problem: Time-consuming assessment prep and self-assessments
Manual fire department accreditation preparation and self-assessment is laborious and time-consuming. Paper-based processes make documents hard to track, update, and collect before accreditation assessments. And when an accreditation standard changes, it’s difficult for fire departments to efficiently update affected policies and replace all old copies. Moreover, when departments don’t know if all staff are using the most recently updated versions of SOPs, they struggle to ensure accountability.
These manual processes ultimately create liability and compliance risks if staff are not informed and policies are not up-to-date with fire department accreditation standards. This not only jeopardizes your ability to achieve and maintain accreditation, but also shows how working toward accreditation helps fire departments mitigate liability issues and lawsuits.
By switching to a digital compliance management system, fire departments can streamline the entire accreditation preparation process and map policies to the appropriate standards to ensure accreditation readiness.
The solution: A compliance management system
With a digital compliance management system, you can cut your accreditation preparation process from years to just months. PowerDMS' PowerStandards accreditation software helps you ensure policies follow national best practices, map them to standards requirements, and track progress toward completion of assessments.
Easy access to standards manuals
PowerDMS partners with 60+ state and national accrediting bodies, giving departments access to over 250 standards manuals. The PowerStandards accreditation management solution lets you upload policies, procedures, and other proofs of compliance (documents, videos, images) and intelligently link policies to standards. Then, you’ll receive automatic alerts when an update may impact a policy linked to that standard.
Streamlined task management
The accreditation software’s digital highlighting feature lets you highlight and label areas of a document to emphasize how it meets the standards. And the task management and collaboration tools create automated, recurring tasks associated with standards. This lets you:
- Create one-time or recurring tasks associated with individual standards to ensure policies and SOPs always remain up-to-date.
- Assign specific standards to team members to upload narratives and evidence of compliance, which appear as tasks on their To-Do List.
- Use dashboards to track staff progress towards completing assigned tasks to ensure timely preparation.
Improved assessment prep and tracking
You can also perform mock assessments before an onsite visit to ensure your department is fully prepared. Reviewer and visitor tools allow reviewers to leave comments or upload documentation to specific fire department accreditation standards that you can view to make appropriate changes and secure for future reference or records.
Additionally, PowerStandards lets you set statuses to “Met” or “Not Met” on each standard and keep a record of the agency's performance that can be exported for analysis in the final visit report. And during the assessment, you can use the system’s dashboards to track progress towards achievement, including status reports broken down by standard.
The benefits of accreditation software
PowerStandards helps fire departments significantly reduce costs and staff time required for accreditation. You can prepare for assessments up to 50% faster compared to paper-based processes. Using manual methods, the fire department accreditation process can take as long as three years – meaning you can reduce your next fire department audit to just 18 months and reduce the extensive labor costs associated with it. Plus, compliance management software can save money on paper and printing costs: customers save an average of $11,000 by switching to the PowerStandards system.
By mapping your policies to your accrediting body’s standards to ensure they stay up-to-date, PowerStandards also supports compliance and ensures accreditation is an ongoing process – easing the burden of trying to prepare 6-12 months from an onsite visit. And with the ability to track progress throughout your re-accreditation cycle, the software gives everyone in your department visibility to assessment readiness and shows how close you are to completion.
To learn how PowerStandards compliance management software speeds up document preparation and fire department accreditation self-assessments, request a free demonstration of the system on our website.