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Louisville emergency management program earns coveted accreditation

Published June 19, 2017
The Emergency Management program of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District was granted full accreditation by the Emergency Management Accreditation Program, known as EMAP, on April 27, 2017, along with 16 other programs that earned accreditation. EMAP is the only accreditation process for EM programs and represents a significant achievement — only a handful of districts across USACE have obtained it.

“It was a two-year process for the district to achieve EMAP accreditation,” Louisville District Chuck Oliver, chief, emergency management and security branch, said, “during which the EM and security branch took steps to document compliance with sixty-four industry-recognized standards, endured enterprise wide setbacks and delays, and passed a comprehensive week long peer-review on-site assessment.”

He added, the Corps observed a significant positive change in our stakeholder’s emergency management programs that earned EMAP accreditation. 

“For Louisville District, the EMAP program enabled us to standardize and organize our piece meal policies, plans and procedures into one comprehensive package,” Oliver said. “The Louisville District EM program changed from an outdated ‘Corps Way’ of doing business to the current industry standard.”

As a result of these programmatic changes, the Louisville District developed a Senior Oversight Guidance Committee, referred to as a SOG. This group, composed of internal and external stakeholders, meets quarterly to discuss the status of the emergency management program within the district and to strengthen relationships with partners. 

“The SOG increases stakeholder engagement and allows the EM program to incorporate feedback in our plans, policies and procedures,” Oliver said. 

The accreditation process evaluates emergency management programs on compliance with requirements in sixteen areas including planning; resource management; training; exercises, evaluations, and corrective actions; communications and warning; and administration. This forms the foundation of the nation’s emergency preparedness system.   

“Congratulations to those programs that have maintained their accredited status as well as those who have joined the elite leaders in emergency management having earned accreditation through the Emergency Management Accreditation Program,” stated Robie Robinson, executive director of public safety, University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and the EMAP commission chair. “Through their commitment and leadership, they have proven to their communities and stakeholders that their programs are sustainable and that they continue to focus on their communities’ best interests.” 

According to EMAP, the process provides emergency management programs the opportunity to be evaluated and recognized for compliance with standards certified by the American National Standard Institute. It goes along with EMAP’s mission to build safer communities through credible standards of excellence. These programs demonstrate accountability and focus attention on areas and issues where resources are needed to heighten their preparedness efforts to any technical or natural disaster that may affect their communities.

To achieve accreditation, applicants must demonstrate through self-assessment, documentation and peer assessment verification that its program meets the emergency management standard. The program uses the accreditation to prove the capabilities of their disaster preparedness and response systems. Accreditation is valid for five years and the program must maintain compliance with the emergency management standard and is reassessed to maintain accredited status. 

EMAP revolutionizes emergency management programs that coordinate preparedness and response activities for disasters based on standards. It recognizes the ability of emergency management programs to bring together personnel, resources and communications from a variety of agencies and organizations in preparation for and in response to an emergency, in addition to obtaining the ability to measure those capabilities. The Emergency Management Standard is flexible in design so that programs of differing sizes, populations, risks and resources can use it as a blueprint for improvement and can attain compliance with those standards in an accreditation process.