Emergency Management Track
NFPA 1600 Standard - Session 4
Thursday September 21, 2000 1:00 PM EDT
Implications for Government EM Programs: What Difference Will It Make to Government?
NEMA Emergency Management Accreditation Program
Director, North Carolina Division of Emergency Management
National Emergency Management Association
NFPA Technical Committee
International Association of Emergency Managers
Amy Sebring, Moderator
EIIP Technical Projects Coordinator
Amy Sebring: Welcome to VFRE 2000 and the fourth session in the Emergency Management Track, the new NFPA 1600 Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management, and its implications for government emergency management programs.
If you missed our previous three sessions, transcripts in an easy to read format are accessible from the session pages in the VFRE Exhibit Hall. They are also available from our EIIP Web site at http://www.emforum.org .
Today we will focus on the public sector in a session entitled "Implications for Government EM Programs: What Difference Will It Make to Government?" The background page for this session is found at http://www.vfre.com/presentation21/public.htm
There you will find material pertaining to the accreditation program we are going to learn about today, two slide presentations, and photos, contact information and biosketches for our speakers.
Yesterday we learned a great deal about business continuity planning, and I think it was evident just how much the public and private sectors have in common in this area, and possibly suggests how we might learn from each other.
One of the stated purposes of the NFPA Standard is to provide a criteria for assessing current programs. Today we are going to learn about an accreditation program under development that extends this concept.
With us to tell us about it is Eric Tolbert, Director of the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management, and a leader in this initiative. Please see his biographical information at http://www.vfre.com/presentation21/tolbert.htm. Also with us, Emily DeMers, newly appointed Accreditation Coordinator for NEMA, the National Emergency Management Association. Please see her page at http://www.vfre.com/presentation21/demers.htm.
We will have the current president of IAEM with us for tomorrow's session, since she could not be with us today, but IAEM member Gunnar Kuepper, and member of the NFPA Technical Committee is here today to pitch in. Please see his page at http://www.vfre.com/presentation21/kuepper.htm.
Welcome to all of you and thank you for being with us today. Eric, will you start us off please?
Eric Tolbert: Thanks, Amy. The Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) is an exciting concept in emergency management. In North Carolina, and across most of the U.S., we hold volunteer organizations to a higher standard than paid professional organizations such as emergency management. For example, we subject Volunteer Fire Departments to stringent reviews in order to achieve insurance ratings. Even the American Red Cross established standards several years ago, and began requiring Chapters to demonstrate they had sufficient capability to provide essential services in order to retain their charter.
Unfortunately, after most major disasters, the media and elected officials begin asking questions about emergency management capabilities when there are perceived shortfalls and for too long, we've been in denial, afraid to reveal our system weaknesses as they may be perceived as some sort of personal failure. If we're ever going to advance the profession, and build the capability that Americans expect, we must undertake a process to measure capabilities against a "standard of care."
Ss we discover system weaknesses, our elected officials (local, state and federal) need to at least know about them before a disaster...not when they've been caught short.
I'm convinced the EMAP will provide the vehicle to objectively evaluate state and local capabilities as compared to a national standard (built on the NFPA-1600), and give elected officials an opportunity to "shore up" capabilities they desire to have in place before the next disaster. EMAP will provide an extremely useful tool for strategic planning and budget planning. The National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) is very committed to EMAP, and recently hired Emily DeMers to serve as our Accreditation Coordinator. I've been very impressed with Emily's expertise in the area of standards and accreditation, and would like to introduce her to the audience to explain more about where we are with EMAP.
Emily DeMers: Thanks. I'm happy to be "here." As Eric said, we are preparing to implement the Emergency Management Accreditation Program next year. EMAP will be an opportunity for emergency management programs to look at how they are doing and demonstrate compliance with national standards.
The EMAP concept is to accredit the emergency management program, not just the "agency." We want to design a system that will foster interagency and inter-organizational partnership, as well as encourage shared concern for improvement.
Accreditation will be voluntary and is not tied to any type of funding. Especially important, I think, is that it will help programs show policymakers where they have resource needs and help demonstrate accountability.
As for details, the steps for accreditation are similar to programs in many professions. They are: Registration, Application, Self-Study/Assessment, Peer Assessment Team Review, On-Site Evaluation, Peer Assessment Team Report, Accreditation Decision, Process Critique, Annual Compliance Report, and Reaccredidation.
The Steering Committee and other volunteers that have been working on EMAP have used materials already familiar to many people who work in emergency management. The self-assessment will be based on the Capability Assessment for Readiness (CAR). The EMAP Standard itself is a combination of the NFPA 1600 Standard and additional language that applies each section more specifically to emergency management programs. The EMAP Standard will be used by the peer assessment team to evaluate the applying program.
As you might guess, topics covered in the standards range from legal authority to resource management to training, logistics, and operations and procedures. Accreditation, once granted, will last for several - we're working with three - years before a program will be up for re-accreditation.
The beginning phase of EMAP is being led by a Steering Committee composed of representatives of a dozen national organizations including NEMA, International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of Emergency Managers, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, FEMA, Association of State Flood Plain Managers, EPA, DOT, and others.
Eventually, a Commission will be established to perform and oversee accreditation functions, with members representing diverse interests (e.g., public safety, private sector.) Our plan is to phase in EMAP with state pilot tests beginning in 2001, followed by working out any questions or problems that arise with the pilots. Full implementation for state programs will follow; then pilot testing for local emergency management programs will begin in 2002.
EMAP offers a great opportunity for programs and individuals responsible for emergency management functions to get attention for all they do right and get support for improvements. I'll be happy to answer any questions when it's time. For now, I'll turn it back over to Amy.
Amy Sebring: Thank you very much, Eric and Emily. "Last but not least" we have Gunnar Kuepper. We will start our interactive portion of the session right after Gunnar.
Gunnar J. Kuepper: Good morning everybody from sunny Los Angeles, the capital city of disasters and the city in a constant state of crisis. The subject of this presentation is the new NFPA standard 1600 and its implications for governmental entities.
First of all, NFPA 1600, entitled "Emergency/Disaster Management and Business Continuity Programs," is not the reinvention of the wheel nor is it a brand new alien philosophy. Rather, it is a simple set of criteria and elements to cover all aspects of emergency preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery.
But most importantly, different cultures within the NFPA committee (private and public entities, the insurance industry, FEMA, law enforcement, independent experts, etc.) have finally agreed on a document that sets forth the standard for emergency management in the public and the private domain.
Will its utilization make a difference? YES and NO.
Will it improve protection for the people, the environment, and the economy? YES, IT WILL.
Before we go into that, let me illustrate for you the objectives of NFPA 1600 and of every emergency professional.
Many emergency management agencies, business continuity professionals, and organizations have used the elements described in NFPA 1600 for their planning and preparedness procedures for years. The components and methodology described in NFPA 1600 have been used not only in the public sector, but in the private sector, as well (i.e., the Disaster Recovery Institute, an association that certifies Business Continuity Professionals).
IAEM, the International Association of Emergency Managers, has also established a successful accreditation program for Certified Emergency Managers (CEM). The requirements for becoming a CEM are: at least three years of experience, references, training, professional contributions in the field of disaster management, a management essay to demonstrate the ability to deal with a given disaster scenario, and a written examination.
The certification procedures for the CEM and the CBCP (Certified Business Continuity Planner) cover all the elements of the program described in NFPA 1600. However, this has not yet been used in a standardized way to design emergency management programs.
Sometimes the elements are not in the right order, and sometimes individuals and educational institutions are still teaching personal philosophies and methods. Unfortunately, too many in the field of emergency services and management (public and private) have a passion for personal points of view, and a unique way of conducting business. This is no longer acceptable. The experts on the 1600 committee, representing many groups and cultures, have designed this document to rise from a "recommended practice" to an American National Standard.
The committee provided, with this document, a standardized basis for planning by providing common elements, techniques, and processes, in the public and private sectors. NFPA 1600 has reached the goal of becoming a recognized standard in the spring of this year, after many discussions and obstacles.
How does NFPA 1600 affect governmental entities?
First of all, the actions of disaster response and management always grab media attention. Therefore, the media, the public, the courts, law firms, and the insurance industry will become increasingly aware of the existence of this standard. With increasing frequency, they will evaluate preparedness, response, and recovery operations as they compare to the emergency management program spelled out in NFPA 1600. If the minimum requirements established by NFPA 1600 are not met, it will be seen as an unacceptable deficiency leading to criticism and liability.
Moreover, a common and standardized set of criteria makes it much easier to design, implement, and enforce emergency management programs that will compliment government EM programs.
It is clear that standardized training and education must be the next step. IAEM, universities, the fire/rescue and law enforcement community, volunteer organizations, the private sector, and educational organizations should develop a common curriculum based on the application of NFPA 1600 principles.
An accreditation program (EMAP) proposed by NEMA, the National Emergency Management Association, looks very promising. This accreditation program (EMAP) is intended to fit to local and state jurisdictions. But I believe we have to broaden our scope and develop an understandable and simple accreditation program that can be used as a pattern for all entities.
NEMA, IAEM and the other members of the steering committee, considering their core membership, are very familiar with the specific rules, behaviors, and procedures of local and state emergency management. But we have to see the whole picture; high-risk areas like airports, the chemical industry, high-speed train transportation, information technology and biotechnology facilities, etc. They have to have an emergency management program as well, and it should be evaluated and accredited in a comparable way.
We need to make a major outreach. The intention of the NFPA committee was to enable the public and the private sectors to WORK TOGETHER in a crisis situation, sharing resources and knowledge. We have learned that any disaster threatens the community as a whole, and is not limited to either the public or the private domain.
And experience has shown again and again, that the public sector - on the local and even the state level - is often overwhelmed by the complexities of managing a disaster situation. Private industry and citizens, volunteer groups, and research institutions with their knowledge, facilities, equipment, etc., are too often absent from the minds of public departments, and, therefore, not used as resources.
Public entities on all levels, private institutions, and citizens must work together to conquer the disaster dragon. How can an EOC effectively work if everyone uses different language and different methods?
With NFPA 1600, all entities now have the basic tools needed.
The next step should be the development of standardized curriculum, training, and certification for emergency professionals. A working group, consisting of IAEM, private industry, universities, etc., could be a way to explore and reach that goal. A summit of emergency professionals, not limited to public organizations, should explore and discuss the opportunities for an accreditation program serving all entities on different levels.
Again, the intention of NFPA 1600, "Emergency/Disaster Management and Business Continuity Programs," is to provide a mechanism to work together on common ground. We must cooperate in that effort. Our primary objective as emergency professionals is to reduce devastating impacts to our communities, our environment, and our economy.
Our common goal and objective can only be realized through standardized education and training. Thank you very much for your kind attention.
[Q&A with Audience]
Amy Sebring: Thank you Gunnar. We will now move on to our interactive portion.
Gene Juve: You candidly describe failure to meet 1600 standards as an unacceptable deficiency and eventual liability --- this speaks in contrast to 'voluntary' adoption of the standard. Please comment.
Gunnar J. Kuepper: Good question. NFPA standards are voluntary, and I appreciate that very much but working within the committee I believe this document should be adapted by as many entities as possible to reach a unified standard.
Steve Detwiler: Emily DeMers, will EMAP apply not only to public agencies but also to Disaster/EM Consultants that consult with public agencies?
Emily DeMers: At this point we plan to accredit state and local (read public) programs, not their consultants. Do you think that leaves a big hole? We do want a comprehensive approach.
Steve Detwiler: No, its just that consultants do a lot of work for the federal government; just wondering if any one has addressed that issue.
Amy Sebring: Eric, am I correct that the local version of the CAR is currently under development? Do you know what the current status is?
Eric Tolbert: I know FEMA has been working on it. I think IAEM has been a participant. I know the prototype has been tested recently in Iowa.
Steve Charvat: Folks, I realize that this standard is new and just out on the streets, but is anyone tracking or know of any government units (state, local, counties) or private industries that have formally adopted NFPA 1600?
Eric Tolbert: I'm not a lawyer, but I understand that 1600 is now adopted through the NFPA process...therefore, the standard is "adopted". It is there for us to be judged against. Emily, you're the lawyer in the group.
Emily DeMers: If the question is has any state "adopted" it, I don't know of any. There could be programs out there using NFPA 1600 as a formal standard that we don't yet know about.
Amy Sebring: I expect Steve means either informal or formal adoption into an entity's policies, rules or procedures.
Steve Charvat: Yes, that's it, Amy.
Gunnar J. Kuepper: NFPA 1600 is adopted as a standard. I am not in a position to answer what entities have adopted the standard itself, because this is NFPA business, perhaps our Committee Chairman Lloyd can talk about it. I know of two cities in California that are intending/on their way to adopt the standard, as well as some school districts in Southern California.
Amy Sebring: Lloyd is the Technical Committee chair. Lloyd can you respond? I will remind those who were not with us the first of the week that the Technical Committee Task Force is now currently gathering this type of information, Steve, through an online survey. See the Session One page for more information.
Lloyd Bokman: I know of no one that has adopted it into laws or regulations but several are using it as guidance.
David Crews: Emily: EMAPs are not part of the current 1600 standard. Is there an initiative or plan to include accreditation standards in 1600 for individuals, organizations or both?
Emily DeMers: I'm not sure I understand. The EMAP standard is based on NFPA 1600 but they are separate documents with the EMAP standard explaining how standard language applies to emergency management programs at the state and local levels for accreditation purposes, that is.
David Crews: I understand EMAPs and 1600 are separate. I was asking about an integration initiative.
Amy Sebring: Eric or Emily, can you clarify what the EMAP standards are; we have included a sample on the background page.
Eric Tolbert: The IAEM CEM process address personal certification. We're still trying to determine the connectivity between EMAP (entities) and CEM (personnel). CEM is an evaluation of the individuals capabilities. EMAP is the organization's capabilities.
On the prior question about adoption, as a result of Floyd, we have a legislative research commission looking at state/local EM capabilities. They're very interested in NFPA 1600, and are contemplating funding local units to meet the standard. That's about as close as we've come in "adopting" it.
Emily DeMers: Re:the relationship between NFPA 1600 and the EMAP standard, it's probably too early to tell how both/either will evolve and be used in the future
Gary Scronce: I believe this is for Emily. Can you speak to how the EMAP and CAR programs will fit together in the long run, or has that been discussed with FEMA yet? It seems the goals are very similar, to assess the state of readiness.
Emily DeMers: The CAR will be the self-assessment tool state and local programs will use as they go through the accreditation process.
Steve Detwiler: Gunnar Kuepper: NFPA has also been primarily a fire protection association, why have they begun to get involved in emergency management?
Gunnar J. Kuepper: NFPA started out of fire protection which led to fire response, which led to disaster situations, where fire and rescue services are always the first responders, which led to the idea to develop a comprehensive disaster management standard in the early 1990's, with the intention to bring many groups, organizations, and expertise to a table, not limited to public or private.
Amy Sebring: Lloyd, as chairman, would you like to add anything?
Lloyd Bokman: Of the almost 65,000 NFPA members only about 25% are firefighters and the rest are business and government officials. Also the mission statement of the NFPA includes not only fire safety but also other safety related issues and a good example is hazardous materials and emergency medical services.
Eric Tolbert: NFPA made this a collaborative effort...has logos of FEMA, IAEM, NEMA included on the publication. Truly a joint effort!
Amy Sebring: Eric, is NEMA still looking at incentives for voluntary participation in the EMAP program? Are you exploring the possibility of insurance premium reductions through the Community Rating System for example?
Eric Tolbert: ASFPM is at the table with us, and FEMA is definitely a partner. That's something I think we'll look at in the future. We're continuing to explore tangible/monetary benefits; the operational benefits are exciting enough at this point!
We're looking at incentives for local governments in NC undertaking EMAP and have several locals "chomping at the bit" to go through the process. I'll do whatever is necessary to help them succeed including sending grant money their way; also discussing making this a "extra points" item for hazard mitigation grants for communities.
Amy Sebring: One last question if I may -- addressed to all our speakers --- do you think that the Standard itself can be helpful to an EM for doing an informal self assessment at this point?
Gunnar J. Kuepper: NFPA 1600 is very instrumental by developing a program, if you follow the steps and elements.
Eric Tolbert: Yes, coupled with CAR, we use them as our strategic planning tool now. It has already helped us with expansion budget development.
Lloyd Bokman: 1600 is very generic at this point and CAR or the EMAP would provide better details in an evaluation process.
Amy Sebring: I am sorry, but the next session is waiting in the wings and I am afraid we will have to leave it there for now.
Thank you very much to all our speakers, Eric, Emily and Gunnar, for your time and effort today. Before I ask the audience to express their appreciation, just a few announcements.
Emily DeMers: Thanks all. Contact us at NEMA if you have questions later.
Eric Tolbert: Thanks. Let's do it again when we have more time.
Gunnar J. Kuepper: Thank you, and have a nice day, everybody.
Amy Sebring: Today's transcript should be available late this afternoon. Check for a link at the session page http://www.vfre.com/presentation21/public.htm. You may need to reload the page to see it.
Tomorrow we wrap up this EM Track with a group discussion. For those of you who like an opportunity for a little more interaction, this will be the time! The way it works is there are 10 discussion questions posted to stimulate our thinking. See http://www.vfre.com/presentation21/benefit.htm for the discussion questions which are already posted. I will provide some summary comments and transitional material, however, when I call for the question, you can just pop in your responses. No question marks (?) required! We hope it will be lively as well as thought provoking.
Next VFRE session starts at 2 p.m. EST in the National Fire & Rescue Track, "Working the Fireground: Tips for Better Fire Photographs" -- Michael Heller, President, 911 Pictures; Correspondent, National Fire & Rescue. Moderator: Phil Powell.
Our thanks to all our participants today and to VFRE for inviting us to host the Emergency Management Track. Now please help me thank our speakers.