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Grissom fire chief earns Ray Picard award

The 2021 Ray Picard Award was presented to Christian Jacobs, 434th Grissom Fire Department chief of fire prevention.

Christian Jacobs, 434th Grissom Fire Department chief of fire prevention poses for a photo on 2 February, 2021 at Grissom Air Reserve Base, Ind.

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. --

A Grissom firefighter recently snuffed out the competition winning an award that is given to one person annually.

The 2021 Ray Picard Award was presented to Christian Jacobs, 434th Grissom Fire Department chief of fire prevention.

“This is huge, it’s a big deal to me,” said Jacobs. “They only award it to one person a year and I am one of three people in the Air Force to get it.”

In 2000, the Commission on Fire Accreditation International established the Ray Picard Award. The award was designed to recognize Chief Ray Picard’s vision in pioneering quality improvement for the fire and emergency service. Chief Picard was one of the earliest champions of the self-assessment and accreditation process that has led to a culture and paradigm shift within the fire service.

The award is presented to an individual who exemplifies the ability, character, dedication, leadership and visionary attributes Picard exhibited. The individual should personify Picard’s contributions and exceptional leadership to the CFAI and the accreditation of fire service organizations.

“Jacobs is incredibly dedicated to the accreditation program,” said John Ireland, Grissom fire chief. “I know he’s got everything under control because when he sees an issue he tackles it.”

One of the things that set Jacobs apart was his streamlined database design that is now used world-wide.

“Jacobs developed and designed a database and data mining tool to coincide with all of the information that we need to extract out of our information management system, making it a lot faster and more efficient,” said Jason Cahill, Grissom Fire Department lead firefighter. “We first utilized it here at Grissom and found it to be very effective.

“Jacobs decided to open the program up for use with the rest of the Air Force, Army and Navy and now it is used world-wide,” added Cahill.

After reviewing Jacob’s accomplishments and accolades, the board decided that he fit the picture.

In 2019 he took over the role of administrator of the Department of Defense Accreditation Facebook page. As a pillar in the accreditation community within the Department of Defense, Jacobs immediately went to work leading discussion board topics such as standard of cover and community risk assessment, as well as other relative topics to spark conversation; ultimately creating a global culture of continuous improvement through accreditation. In addition to promoting accreditation through digital means, Jacobs regularly contributes to his regional consortium.

His commitment to the accreditation process has been demonstrated through the selfless commitment to peer assessment while also consistently advocating the assessment process to his peers, the award said

Since becoming a part of an accredited agency, a credentialed fire officer and a chief emergency medical services officer, Jacobs has become more involved with his regional consortium. He took part in the general presentation sessions while simultaneously networking with other accredited and candidate agencies. Fostering these critical relationships, he worked with his peers in an effort to advocate for their accreditation process.

“It’s both the acknowledgement of what I’ve done and the foresight of what I can do next,” said Jacobs. “I’m still taken back because I know a lot of those guys that won before me; I hold a lot of them on a high pedestal.

“And so now, to think, I am a part of that little group sets me back every time I think about it,” Jacobs added.

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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