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Photo of Hickory Fire Department staff, City management and CFAI representatives with the Accreditation Award plaque

Hickory Fire Department awarded International Accredited Agency status

The Hickory Fire Department (HFD) is proud to announce it is now an Internationally Accredited Agency with the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI). 

This designation is awarded to agencies that meet or exceed the rigorous standards and criteria established through the CFAI’s voluntary self-assessment and accreditation program.  

Hickory Fire Department is one of approximately 300 agencies to achieve Internationally Accredited Agency status with the CFAI and the Center for Public Safety Excellence, Inc. (CPSE). HFD joins an elite group of just 17 accredited career departments in North Carolina.  

Hickory Fire Chief Matt Hutchinson stated, “The achievement of Accredited Agency status demonstrates the commitment of our department to provide the highest quality of service to our community. We have been able to use the Commission on Fire Accreditation International’s process as a proactive mechanism to plan for the future and locate areas where we can improve the quality of the services we provide.” 

The CFAI accreditation process enables fire and emergency service agencies to examine past, current, and future service levels and internal performance and compare them to industry best practices. Accreditation allows the organization to determine community risk and safety needs, develop community-specific Standards of Cover, evaluate the department's performance, and establish a continuous improvement method. 

Chief Hutchinson continued, “During this process, we focused on performance measures and learned to leverage technology to make data-informed decisions that prepare the department for future growth. One example has been the use of automatic vehicle location equipment, which identifies the closest vehicle to an emergency. As a result, that vehicle is dispatched to the incident and therefore allows faster response and resources to a scene. Other areas of focus included recommendations of exhaust removal systems and gear washers to assist with firefighter safety and wellness.”  

Deputy City Manager Rodney Miller added, “This accreditation shows to the community that our fire department is data-driven, outcome-focused, strategic-minded, well-organized, adequately trained, and properly equipped.”  

In addition to the CFAI accreditation, Hickory Fire Department also holds an ISO Class 1 Rating through the Insurance Services Office. An ISO Class 1 rating is the highest rating possible and ranks the Hickory Fire Department among the nation’s best, as less than 1 percent of fire departments achieve this distinction.

CFAI is dedicated to assisting the fire and emergency service agencies throughout the world in achieving excellence through self-assessment and accreditation to provide continuous quality improvement and the enhancement of service delivery to their communities. The CFAI process provides an agency with an improvement model to assess their service delivery and performance internally and then works with a team of peers from other agencies to verify and validate their completed self-assessment. 

For more information on CFAI and its process, visit

To learn more about Hickory Fire Department and current career opportunities within the department, visit



Photo caption: Hickory Fire Department received its official accreditation from the CFAI at an accreditation hearing on Feb. 29. Pictured (left to right) are Hickory Fire Department Accreditation Manager Marcus Scott, Hickory Fire Chief Matt Hutchinson, CFAI Commission Chair Steve Dirksen, Hickory Deputy City Manager Rodney Miller, and Peer Team Leader Dave Dauer.