Fire Service Gains Silver in Business Excellence
The New Zealand Fire Service has improved its business and organisational practice to reach some of the most demanding standards in the world.
To prove it, the Fire Service has just been awarded Silver status in the prestigious Business Excellence Awards.
The New Zealand Business Excellence Awards are based on an international system, assessed and scored in an intense four- stage process. They are the only awards in the country which are fully aligned to the internationally respected US Baldrige business model which is based on the common characteristics found in high performing organisations.
Four years ago, the Fire Service received a Bronze award and the organisation has worked hard to do even better this year.
“This award shows that the Fire Service is at the forefront of business and organisation practice and is committed to introducing further improvements,” said Chief Executive and National Commander Mike Hall..
Since it adopted the Business Excellence philosophy in 2001 the Fire Service has introduced a variety of strategic organisational improvements.
“We use almost $400 million a year of public money and simple ethics dictates we spend this as effectively and efficiently as possible,” he said.
Using Business Excellence principles, the Fire Service has developed its own, internationally-recognised management system for fire stations to get a nationally consistent approach to business planning, incident reporting, scheduling and completion of tasks and reporting of organisational achievements.
It has redeveloped its training and progression system for its 10,000 paid and volunteer firefighters. It has also developed its own geo-spatial mapping analysis and reporting tools to help identify at-risk communities and reveal trends in emergency incident responses.
There is now a major focus on fire safety education and advice. More resources are being put into researching public fire knowledge and awareness to provide an appropriate suite of educational collateral and fire safety advertising.
The Fire Service is also systematically modernising its fleet of 850 vehicles and investing in new information and communication technology.
“Last year just 14 people died from preventable fire deaths which is the lowest per capita number of deaths on record. It is a world class result,” said Mr Hall.