ANSI Homeland Security Standards Panel Offers Solution for Future Preparedness

Post-Katrina report addresses emergency management and business continuity for natural disasters


New York, NY, March 15, 2007 - A new report from the American National Standards Institute Homeland Security Standards Panel (ANSI-HSSP) contains recommendations aimed at bolstering national preparedness, response, and recovery efforts in the event of a natural disaster. A key resource identified in the document is the American National Standard for Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs (ANSI/NFPA 1600), which was developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The standard defines a common set of criteria for preparedness, disaster management, emergency management, and business continuity programs.

The report was developed during a series of ANSI-HSSP Workshop meetings that examined congressional, agency and White House reports citing federal, state, and local failures during and following Hurricane Katrina. The goal was to define a set of recommendations and resources that could be used to mitigate the impact of similar disasters in the future. Suggestions ranged from methods for ensuring the continuity of operations, to the coordination of communications, to standards for strengthening mitigation practices.

The central outcomes of the ANSI-HSSP Workshop report serve to:

• Highlight the value of compliance with NFPA 1600 - a standard that was specifically endorsed by the 9/11 Commission in its 2004 report to Congress and the President - for both public and private sector disaster/emergency management and business continuity programs.

• Provide a set of targeted recommendations to the technical committee responsible for maintaining and updating the standard to be considered during the next review cycle.

• Identify gap areas where further standards are needed to supplement the usage of the NFPA 1600 standard for future disasters.

NFPA 1600 was identified as a proposed solution early in the Workshop process; participants then assessed and confirmed the standard's applicability to the nearly 90 assembled recommendations identified from the aftermath reports.

"The conclusions from our analysis are clear-cut and consistent with needed policy and legislative changes regarding preparedness," said Dr. Joseph S. Broz, vice president of strategic initiatives at the Midwest Research Institute and co-leader of the ANSI-HSSP workshop series. "This report identifies criteria critical for the resiliency of our society to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters and will serve as a useful tool for policy makers and all public and private entities that utilize NFPA 1600."

More than 100 experts from dozens of public and private sector stakeholder organizations and the professional preparedness and business continuity community were involved in the eight-month effort.

Dr. Sharon Caudle, assistant director of the Homeland Security and Justice Team at the U.S. Government Accountability Office and also workshop co-leader, added, "We are indebted to all the individual workshop attendees for their active participation and expertise on this subject matter. The leading organizations from this Workshop will monitor the progress of the report recommendations and will continue to support standards efforts that relate to strengthening national preparedness."

For more information or to obtain a copy of the report, please visit www.ansi.org/hssp.