HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- The Huntington District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers achieved full accreditation from the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP). This makes the Huntington District the first federal agency nationwide to achieve full EMAP accreditation.
"The partnership between EMAP and the Corps of Engineers was created with the common goal of ensuring all emergency management programs are prepared in the highest of standards. This accreditation achievement is a distinguished celebration as the Huntington District becomes the first federal agency to receive this status," said Lt. Col. Jerome Hatfield, Deputy Superintendent of Homeland Security for New Jersey State Police and Chair for the EMAP Commission.
Emergency management accreditation represents a significant achievement as a means of demonstrating, through program assessment, documentation and on-site assessment by an independent team, that a program meets national standards for their disaster preparedness and response systems. To achieve accreditation, emergency management programs document compliance with a set of nationally recognized standards used in the accreditation process and undergo a peer-review assessment by EMAP trained assessors. Accredited programs must maintain compliance with EMAP standards and be reassessed in five years to maintain accredited status.
EMAP is a voluntary accreditation process for emergency management programs that coordinate preparedness and response activities for disasters based on national standards. The Emergency Management Standard by EMAP creates a structure for strategic planning for improvement coupled with methodical, verified assessment by experienced peers from other jurisdictions. The EMAP process evaluates emergency management programs on compliance with requirements in 64 standards and 104 individual elements including: planning, resource management, training, exercises, evaluations and corrective actions, and communications and warning. This forms the foundation of the nation’s emergency preparedness system. EMAP is the only accreditation process for emergency management programs.
"EMAP has 104 standards defining all aspects of emergency response. To become fully accredited a jurisdiction has to be compliant in all 104,” said Carl Miller, district emergency management director. “What made this a challenge is that the standards where developed for first responders (state and local agencies), not for a federal agency such as the Corps. This was truly a District effort involving numerous offices. Accreditation was actually a secondary goal. The main objective was to utilize the EMAP standards as an annual Emergency Management Work plan to effectively organize the program," he said.
"Great job by the District and especially the emergency management staff,” said Col. Robert Peterson, district commander. “Our District was initially selected to participate in an EMAP pilot program to evaluate how the standard might apply to the Corps. As a result of our success in the pilot we were tasked by US Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters to be the first to go through the full accreditation process. The EMAP Standards will not only be a tool for the District to have a more effective emergency management program but it will also ensure that our program responds with the same processes as the states that we support."