City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

A Tradition of Excellence

Washington Township Fire Department, Chief, Win Awards of Excellence

Article by Jennifer Lorenzetti

Photography by April Sova - Remember When Portraits

Originally published in Centerville Lifestyle

Washington Township Fire Chief Scott Kujawa is an award-winning member of the profession, but you would never know it from speaking to him. Recently named Cliff Jones Ambassador of the Year by the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE)—recognizing an individual who goes above and beyond in their support of accreditation, credentialing, and CPSE as a whole—Scott received a unanimous vote for the award from his peers. However, the chief eschews even a photo to commemorate his honor, choosing instead to put the focus on his peers. “It was an honor to receive the ambassador award; the department makes it possible,” he says. Specifically he is proud of the department’s recent accolade as the Ohio Fire Department of the Year. He credits the department’s focus on education with its award-winning recognition. The award, given by the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of State Fire Marshal and the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Division of EMS, recognizes a department that “has demonstrated outstanding teaching characteristics and, because of these attributes, has made a major impact in fire education in its community and department.” It is easy to see how the fire department has earned such accolades. The department reaches out into the community, to provide education and to allow residents of Washington Township to get to know their fire department. They visit schools and retirement centers with the goal of building relationships within the community. The department maintains a robust social media program to communicate to all residents. Additionally, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the department also hosted open houses during fire prevention week. “We’re good at getting the message out about the department,” Scott says. This is demonstrated by the support the department receives, in response to its efforts. Recent surveys have shown that 98.5% of people surveyed are satisfied or very satisfied with the department. The department is not content to rely only on public opinion for its reputation. Instead, each member is constantly working toward improvement in their profession. “All of our officers have a degree of some sort,” Scott says. He also notes that his officers pursue additional credentials, such as the Fire Officer Credential through CPSE. The credentialing process allows his officers to plan for their future responsibilities. Officers are encouraged to hone their skills, to rise within the ranks and take additional responsibilities. Scott is hands-on about credentialing efforts as well. He acts as a peer assessor and reviewer with the credentialing process, and he says he “truly enjoy[s] it.” He views it as a way to help his department and others better themselves. The department continues its efforts to remain tightly knit with the community. Its next event will be an ice cream social at the Washington Township RecPlex on Aug. 14.