The North Charleston Fire Department has been awarded international accreditation, a worldwide measure of excellence that follows a multi-year evaluation process, the city announced Wednesday.

“Our purpose in seeking accreditation was to invite the most intense scrutiny available to ensure that we can meet all of the fire protection needs of our thriving city,” said Fire Chief Greg Bulanow. “We see this as a validation of more than three years of hard work to systematically improve the service we provide and we will continue to use this process to become an even better department.”

The Commission on Fire Accreditation International awarded accreditation to the department following hearings in Chicago on Aug. 15. According to the city, the North Charleston Fire Department is now one of 187 CFAI-accredited agencies worldwide and one of six in South Carolina; Mount Pleasant, Hilton Head, Charleston Air Force Base, Parris Island, and Spartanburg are the other five.

“Accreditation is confirmation to our citizens that the highest quality fire service is being received,” said Mayor Keith Summey.