Dexter Area Fire Chief is leading by example


Striving for excellence and working on improving are important to the Dexter Area Fire Department, so it makes sense that its chief officer would model that for the rest of his team and to the community he serves.

As recent evidence of this, DAFD Fire Chief Robert Smith was again re-designated as “Chief Fire Officer” by the Commission on Professional Credentialing (CPC).

A letter on June 1, from CPC Program Manager Rick Mason announced this development:

“You have earned the professional designation as witnessed by a team of your peers and members of the Commission on Professional Credentialing. You have demonstrated through your education, leadership and management skills that you possess the requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities required for the fire and emergency services profession.”

“On behalf of the Commission on Professional Credentialing, we commend your efforts and dedication in achieving this personal and professional milestone,” said Mason in his letter to Smith.

This program is completed through the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE), which is a nation-wide not-for-profit 501(c) (3) corporation with the goal of helping high-performing fire departments and emergency services professionals in their efforts to continuously improve.

One way it does this is by offering programs for credentialing to fire and emergency services professionals, which as it says on its website, helps instill the principles of life-long learning and self-accountability and helping them grow and plan for a successful career.

The designation is valid for three years, according to Mason’s letter, and for Smith to keep re-designating he will need to continue to demonstrate his continued development as a CFO in four areas: professional development, professional contributions, Active Association Membership and Community Involvement.

DAFD Fire Chief Robert Smith. photo courtesy of the DAFD

The Sun Times News followed up with Smith about this.

“To me, the re-designation means that I am doing the right things,” said Smith of what this means to him and for the department. “To have peers review all of my activities through 11 technical competencies and determine that I am providing value to the department and to the Fire Service is a great honor and I am deeply humbled by it.”

Looking forward, a big part of providing value as a fire chief means setting goals, planning and working at achieving them, so what are some of his for the DAFD?

“For the last few years I have had but two major goals for the department,” Smith said. “First to provide the apparatus and equipment for our firefighters to operate safely and efficiently. This includes updating apparatus and establishing capital reserves to ensure future purchases can be made timely. We have two needs in this area, a new Ladder Truck and replacing two of our Tanker Apparatus. The second goal is to provide a healthy and safe working environment for our firefighters. Our most pressing issue is getting a new fire station built in the city of Dexter that meets the needs of the community and the firefighters.”

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