The Wayne County Airport Authority's Fire Department recently earned a prestigious award from a regional group for its training efforts, officials announced Thursday.

The department received the award during a conference in Evansville, Indiana on July 27.

The award, which launched in 1975, recognizes departments that have worked to improve safety or public service. 

The Fire Department in 2011 became the first aircraft rescue and fire fighting department to become accredited through the Commission on Fire Accreditation International, representatives said.

Last year, the department trained 116 ARFF personnel from Michigan and Ohio at their training facility.

"Working in conjunction with the department’s Fire Protection Bureau, the department was able to reduce the annual (Federal Aviation Administration) audit from an 11-hour event to an event lasting less than two hours in 2018, which set a new standard with the audit process across the industry," the airport authority said in a statement.

That led the the FAA to send departments facing low scoring reviews to the WCAA Fire Department for guidance before audits, according to the release.

“To be acknowledged for the improvements our men and women have made to public safety by one of the most recognized organizations in the aviation industry is something that makes us all proud," WCAA CEO Chad Newton said.

Fire Chief Mike Evans added: “Our team is consistently impacting public service not only at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, but other airports as well. We will continue to embrace new ideas that position ourselves and other departments for success.”

The award is the Great Lakes Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting Achievement Award.

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