District seeks emergency management program accreditation

Published June 29, 2015
The Louisville District started the process for the Emergency Management Accreditation Program, referred to as EMAP, known as the only accreditation process for emergency management programs and expects the accreditation to take up to two years to complete.

“The program is emergency management-wide throughout the world,” Don Walker, Louisville District emergency operations manager, said.

“Our objective is to be accredited no later than the 4th quarter of fiscal year 2016 with at least a 90 percent overall score to receive the Gold Accreditation EMAP seal.”

The goal is not expected to be an easy undertaking, and the Louisville District accreditation is just part of the overall goal for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to be 100 percent certified by FY18. The corps will join the accreditation process with other international, federal, state, local and higher educational programs.

Why EMAP accreditation?

According to EMAP, the process revolutionizes emergency management programs that coordinate preparedness and response activities for disasters based on industry standards.

“EMAP 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,” an EMAP release stated.

“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 the standard.”

EMAP’s five-step process to accreditation will assure the district and emergency management meet compliance requirements in sixteen areas. These include planning; resource management; training; exercises; evaluations; corrective actions; and communications and warning.

According to EMAP, “This forms the foundation of the nation’s emergency preparedness system.”

The accreditation process will include the following five areas and will require a renewal every three years:
• Subscription
• Self Assessment and application
• On-site Assessment
• Review and Decision
• Accreditation and Maintenance

To oversee the accreditation process, Emergency Management created the Emergency Management Senior Oversight Group, referred to as the EM-SOG. The group, comprised of 12 members across the district in addition to EM staff, conducted its kick-off meeting June 2 to discuss the path to obtain certification.

“This accreditation is a team effort,” said Chuck Oliver, Louisville District emergency manager. “Emergency management involves aspects across the district. This is not just an accreditation for emergency management, but for the district and for the command.”

Part of this process will be to reach out to other districts in the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division and Corps-wide for lessons learned.
“EMAP is a basic work tool to organize and be more efficient in emergency management,” said Carl Miller, retired chief of EOC, Huntington District. He added this process helped assure the emergency processes within a district are documented which helped organize everyone’s job within a district to respond to emergencies or scenarios.

Huntington District boasts the honor of being the first Corps district to receive the accreditation. In addition, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Seattle districts have also received accreditation.

“The emergency management community is becoming redefined as more government entities and businesses see the necessity to ensure they are prepared for and may respond to any identified hazard that will affect them,” said Barb Graff, director of the Seattle Office of Emergency Management and chair of the EMAP Commission. “By achieving accreditation, these programs demonstrate, through proving compliance to standards of excellence, the commitment to their communities’ safety.”