There’s a lot more that goes into being a firefighter than being brave and rushing into burning buildings — like training, planning and managing resources.

But the person rescued from a smoke-filled second-floor bedroom or the heart attack victim whose call for help is first responded to by the fire department likely knows only the relief of getting help quickly.

With its new international accreditation, the North Charleston Fire Department has demonstrated that it is ready and able to respond to the city’s needs in a professional, competent and swift manner. The department and Chief Gregory A. Bulanow have done admirable work to qualify for the coveted distinction, and deserve the area’s thanks and respect.

Mount Pleasant and the Charleston Air Force Command fire departments are similarly accredited. The city of Charleston is working towards accreditation.

In his column on today’s Commentary page, Chief Bulanow outlines some of the 248 disciplines that the department had to meet to qualify for accreditation. The department’s success is a sign of highly commendable work.

But the chief’s determination to avoid becoming complacent is just as laudable. He sees accreditation not as an end but as “a road map for constant improvements throughout our city’s future.”

The North Charleston Fire Department’s achievement can also be a road map for other fire departments in the region. The status quo isn’t enough. There is always more to do to make the community — and firefighters — safe. There is always more to do to respond faster, work more consistently and achieve better and better results.

Indeed, Chief Bulanow’s never-stop-improving attitude could be an inspiration for all public agencies.

The Lowcountry knows all too well the risks of fighting fires. Charleston lost nine firefighters in the Sofa Super Store Fire in 2007.

There will always be risks in fighting fires. It’s the nature of the job.

Any measures that local departments can take to protect the community and firefighters, too, are worth striving for.

And international accreditation is a ringing endorsement that the North Charleston Fire Department is doing just what it should be doing.