Better Safe Than Sorry

Oct. 27, 2008
Fire prevention guidelines for public facilities from the Security Executive Council

In March of last year, the National Fire Protection Association released a new edition of NFPA 1600, Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs. If you based part of your emergency management or business continuity program on the 2004 version, you should head to and take a look. The new standard may be downloaded free of charge.

One major change the 2007 version presents: it elevates the element of prevention to the list of the main aspects of emergency management, which previously only included mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. The 2004 version identified prevention as a subset of mitigation, but during the revision process the association realized that the elimination or prevention of exposure must be dealt with separately from the reduction or mitigation of exposure.

All private-sector businesses and sites large and small should look at the changes to NFPA 1600 and consider incorporating them into their emergency management and business continuity plans. Keep in mind that in August last year, President Bush signed into law the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 ( Public Law 110-53), which specifically mentions NFPA 1600 as a standard private-sector businesses should try to meet. Does this set the stage for it to become the legal standard for fair and reasonable due diligence in the event of a crisis? Better safe than sorry.

Marleah Blades is senior editor for the Security Executive Council, an international professional membership organization for leading senior security executives. The Security Executive Council maintains a large and growing list of laws, regulations, standards and guidelines that impact security at . For more information about the council, visit .