VFRE 2000
Emergency Management Track

NFPA 1600 Standard - Session 1
Monday – September 18, 2000 – 1:00 PM EDT

"Intro to NFPA 1600: Where Did It Come From and Where is It Going?"

Lloyd Bokman
Chair of the NFPA Technical Committee
DOE Liaison/Hazardous Materials Planner, Ohio Emergency Management Agency

Bob Fletcher
Member of the NFPA Technical Committee
President, Readiness Consulting Services

Amy Sebring, Moderator
EIIP Technical Projects Coordinator

Amy Sebring: Welcome to VFRE 2000! The EIIP is pleased to once again host the live chat sessions, and to bring you the Emergency Management track on NFPA 1600, 2000 Edition.

I am the Technical Projects Coordinator for EIIP and will be serving as Moderator this week. My associate, Avagene Moore, is the EIIP Coordinator, and if you need assistance today, you may send a private message to her.

If you would like to see what we look like, and learn more about EIIP, see the EIIP page at http://www.vfre.com/presentation21/eiip.htm

The topic for the EM Track is, as I mentioned, the NFPA 1600 Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs. We are doing a total of five sessions at this same time every day this week. To review the entire schedule, see http://www.vfre.com/presentation21/

It is our purpose in doing these sessions to enhance awareness of the standard, and to encourage an educated discussion of its merits. Today we will focus on the history and the future of the standard in our introductory session entitled "Intro to NFPA 1600: Where Did It Come From and Where is It Going?"

The background page for this session is found at http://www.vfre.com/presentation21/intro.htm. If you have not had an opportunity to review that page yet, we will be reviewing most of the material during our chat session today. You will also find links related to our topic, and to a very nice audio and a set of slides to view at your convenience.

Unfortunately, we are not able to provide you with a copy of the standard itself, due to copyright limitations. The NFPA, a non-profit organization, must sell its Codes and Standards to continue its work, however a link is provided where you may purchase a copy.

Now it is my pleasure to introduce our speakers for today. Both of these gentlemen have provided leadership in the development of this consensus standard, and if you have ever tried to achieve consensus on anything, you know how challenging that can be.

First, Lloyd Bokman has served as the Chair of the NFPA Technical Committee assigned responsibility. Lloyd is also DOE Liaison/Hazardous Materials Planner for the State of Ohio Emergency Management Agency. Please see his photo, biosketch and contact info at http://www.vfre.com/presentation21/bokman.htm.

Second, Bob Fletcher served on the Technical Committee as FEMA representative during a formative period for the standard. During his tenure with the Preparedness, Training and Exercise Directorate, Bob also was instrumental in the development of the Federal Response Plan, SLG-101, and the Capability Assessment for Readiness (CAR). Bob is now in the private sector. See his photo, biosketch and contact info at http://www.vfre.com/presentation21/fletcher.htm.

Gentlemen, welcome to you both, and thank you for being with us today. Lloyd, please start us off with the history of the standard.

Lloyd Bokman: Thank you, Amy. Welcome, everybody, to today's session. I would like to thank the Virtual Fire and Rescue EXPO and the EIIP for inviting me to "speak" to you today on NFPA 1600, the 2000 Edition of the Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs. I would like to give a short history of NFPA 1600 and then address the question of "What's in the future for NFPA 1600?"

NFPA 1600 is a consensus standard that was written by a committee whose members are both professionals and stakeholders in the emergency management/business continuity field. By rules, it takes a minimum of 3 to 5 years to develop a standard. This time frame exists to ensure opportunities for public comment, committee meetings, and research. The implementation of these rules by the NFPA is regulated or overseen by the American National Standards Institute or ANSI.

NFPA 1600 did not come about quickly, or haphazardly. The original request presented to the NFPA Standards Council for a disaster standard came from Dr. James Kerr, Ph.D., who, before his retirement, was the Director of Research and Development for FEMA in the 1980s. In fact, the first committee meeting was held in 1991 and in 1995 the first version of NFPA 1600 was published as a Recommended Practice, which used the terminology of "should" versus the word "shall".

The committee has used the time since then to solicit public comments and revise the document. The present 2000 version is a result of those deliberations. It has been 9 years since the committee first met and the work continues today, but what does it mean?

The document is 20 pages long if you include the introductory pages, the table of contents, the appendices and the index. The actual standard itself, or the body of the document, consists of pages 4, 5 and 6 - three pages. This is where you will find the term "shall" used. It is written this way so that if an entity or organization wants to adopt it, in whole or in part, it is ready to go.

The standard is voluntary. The NFPA does not enforce standards. Enforcement can only be accomplished if a regulatory agency, a legislative body, or a corporation voluntarily and formally adopts it for its own organization or jurisdiction. In other words, it would have to be written into the law or regulations. Also, the appendix items are explanatory material for information purposes only and are not considered part of the body of the standard. These items were not written by the committee to be enforceable items.

Before I discuss the future of NFPA 1600, I would like to turn the presentation over to Bob Fletcher to talk about the content and organization of the document.

Bob Fletcher: Thank you Lloyd. It's great to be here. It's a beautiful day in the Land of Pleasant Living on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.

Lloyd, as the Chairman of the NFPA 1600 Technical Committee and the leader/facilitator of this group of emergency management professionals, you deserve much of the credit for the establishment of this standard. Consensus building is hard, time-consuming work and usually well worth the labor.

Recognizing that this is a work in progress, I am pleased that this topic was chosen a primary track for VFRE as another means to continue this important consensus process. The organization and content of the Standard would seem on the surface to be a rather insignificant topic. To the contrary, the structure of the Standard and its simplicity is one of the aspects that make it so attractive.

For those who have seen a version of the FEMA/NEMA developed Capability Assessment for Readiness (CAR), you will recognize the similarity in structure between the 1600 Standard and the CAR. They are both organized around the elements of a "program" and both contain 13 common elements. For a list of the 13 elements please see http://www.vfre.com/presentation21/intro.htm#CAR.

There is nothing "cosmic" about the 13 elements. They were selected through an iterative process involving national and regional program managers at FEMA working with State and local emergency program managers. And, more importantly, these elements were selected to reflect traditional and contemporary management functions rather than the 4 phases of comprehensive emergency management. As most managers will agree, program management involves far more than emergency operations regardless of the operational phase. Even a coordinator, with referent power and little direct authority, must coordinate across a broad spectrum of activities and organizational elements in order to be effective.

An added benefit of using a common program framework is that it provides convenient and logical placeholders for comprehensive program reviews, corrective action and continuous improvement, regardless of the size and resources of the program. The 13 common program elements, called functional elements in the CAR, apply quite well regardless of the organizational mission and objectives, just as management functions apply universally.

The CAR is in its second iteration for 2000 and has been streamlined by FEMA and further simplified for State use, with a local and tribal version in the works as well. The compatibility between CAR and NFPA 1600 should continue to promote a common architecture that should enhance interdisciplinary communications at various organizational levels.

As you will learn in another session this week, those common elements of NFPA 1600 have been adopted as the model for the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) being developed by NEMA, IAEM, FEMA and a host of stakeholders who share the common interest in establishment of accreditation for state and local emergency management programs.

As a final point, I would like to emphasize that the Technical Committee was diligent in its efforts to seek a standard that defined "what" is desired in an effective program versus "how" it is accomplished. Nonetheless, it would be naïve to expect that the standard will go unchallenged. In fact, it must be continually challenged, debated, refined, improved and examined if it is to survive.

This VFRE session is an excellent opportunity to do that. It is the charge of the NFPA Technical Committee to hear the commentary and to learn from it in order that this standard, or any standard of its type, serves the best interests of the profession and the public it serves.

Lloyd, I'll pass the baton back to you for the future of NFPA 1600.

Lloyd Bokman: Thanks Bob, I'm glad you're not fishing in the Bay today and you're here with us.

"What's ahead for NFPA 1600?" The answer to that question is ultimately up to the 1600 Committee and won't really be answered until the next revision is completed in 3 to 5 years. We have formed a Task Group to look at listing and prioritizing potential future alternative issues that the 1600 Committee may need to address.

As the document (i.e. those three pages) stands now, it is very generic. It addresses strategic plans, response plans, mitigation plans, recovery plans, continuity of operations plans, training, exercises, etc., but not in any detail. The question is do we want to address some of these areas in more detail? If so, then which ones and in what priority? Also, how do we address them? Do we put the details in the body of the existing document as enforceable items, do we put the detail in the appendix as information only items, or do we create a new document, either a standard or recommended practice, for a particular issue?

It has been suggested that the Committee address several of these issues. For instance, it has been suggested that the committee address the area of business continuity planning in more detail and in enforcement language. This could be done in the existing document or in a new standard in the 1600 series.

The Task Group is examining these alternatives. At any rate, the overall process will be a long one (3 to 5 years) and a deliberate one where public comments will be solicited and welcome. In fact, the Task Group is surveying stakeholders to get feedback on how the 2000 Edition is being used. If you would like to fill out the questionnaire, please contact Martha Curtis, our NFPA Staff Liaison, at 617-984-7496 or go to the National Association of SARA Title III Program Official's web site at www.nasttpo.org and follow the link to the NFPA 1600 Status Page.

In closing, there are several benefits to having a standard such as this. Just as certification programs for individuals, such as IAEM's for emergency managers and DRI's for business continuity planners, can emphasize the professionalism of an individual, meeting standards can emphasize the professionalism of a program.

Because standards are written using legal terminology, if one chooses to, they can be easily adopted, in whole or in part, into local laws, codes or organizational policies. This can save a lot of time and money that would otherwise be spent in writing and developing local laws or policies. Also, this standard was developed by emergency management/business continuity professionals and stakeholders using input from their own organizations and from the public. Along with the established rules of standards making, this helps to insure fair treatment and discussion of all issues. It also insures a knowledgeable and professional handling of the subject matter.

I would like to again thank the VFRE and the EIIP for this opportunity to talk about NFPA 1600 and I'll turn the discussion back over to them.

[Q&A with the Audience]

Amy Sebring: Thank you both. Please note that if you have difficulty getting through to the page Lloyd mentioned, there is a copy of the .pdf version of the survey available from today's session page with instructions where to send it.

Please try to limit your questions to the scope of today's presentation, that is, the history and the future of the standard. We will have several other sessions this week including one tomorrow on the content of the standard, sessions on implications for business and for government Wednesday and Thursday respectively, and a wrap up group discussion on Friday.


Jack Long: Has anyone looked at the legal implications of this standard on state and local government? Does it define a "standard of care"?

Lloyd Bokman: NFPA standards are voluntary standards but they could be used in court proceedings if they are adopted into law. As a part of a standard of care, they could also be used but it must first be proven that the harm or damage to the individual was the direct result of not following the standard or any industry practice.


Steve Charvat: Has any state or local jurisdiction or private business adopted the standard within their own organization yet?

Lloyd Bokman: Steve, I only know of some that are using it as guidance but Bob may have more information on the proposed accreditation program from NEMA.

Bob Fletcher: Lloyd and Steve, I am not aware of any other than those using it as the foundation for accreditation.


David Crews: For small jurisdictions with a volunteer EM Staff, how much NFPA 1600 do they need to apply in order to call themselves 1600 compliant? I know there is broad latitude in 1600 but some of the functions for small jurisdiction may not be achievable.

Lloyd Bokman: I think that if they look at the elements in 1600 and if there is something not quite achievable, then that's okay because they addressed it, even to find out it doesn't apply. The thing to remember is that it is all voluntary in whole or in part.

Amy Sebring: Bob, would you like to add anything regarding small jurisdictions and how the needs/resources of the community are anticipated in the standard?

Bob Fletcher: In the EMAP accreditation process, compliance with the standard will be determined by peer review. Hopefully, the peer review will remain flexible in that regard. But the Compliance piece seems to be a separate issue from the absolute standards. In other words, the NFPA 1600 said you "shall" meet a standard. The compliance with that standard is up to the entity that adopts and enforces it.


Kenny Shaw: For anyone: NFPA standards are great, but many EM programs are not directly related to the Fire Department, especially county EMs. How are we going to get this standard communicated to and "adopted" by local governments? Those without fulltime Fire Departments don't pay much attention to NFPA standards.

Lloyd Bokman: Kenny, I believe it's a matter of getting the word out. NFPA standards are great but the NFPA is not made up of only firefighters. Of over 60,000 members only 25% are firefighters; the rest are business and government officials. It's up to us to try and let everybody know about it.

Bob Fletcher: An observation that I'd like to make because I believe in the importance of symbols. The cover of the NFPA 1600 carries the logos of FEMA, NEMA and IAEM in addition to the logo of NFPA. That is a first of sorts for NFPA and it speaks to the willingness of these organizations to put their reputations on the line in committing to collaborate in the establishment of program standards for the profession.


Pat Kelley: If a community has accepted the NFPA standards as a whole, does the lack of following the NFPA 1600 open the community or a local business up for legal actions should an emergency occur with severe results?

Lloyd Bokman: I would have to say that depends on how they adopt it, as either guidance or requirements, and then on whether their legal requirements were met or not met which depends on how they wrote their laws.


Amy Sebring: One of the problems we have in addressing civil liability is that each state's laws regarding waiver of sovereign immunity, and tort law is different. The best thing might be to consult your own legal department.


Gary Scronce: For Lloyd or Bob, has any thought been given to putting this standard into the public domain somehow? Relating to Kenny's comment, it seems the standard has the best chance of being widely known about and used lies with making it easily accessible to all. Whether they are in the EM community right now or not.

Lloyd Bokman: Copyright laws allow us to teach it in classes with appropriate limited distribution for education but wholesale distribution for free really isn't in the works because the NFPA is non-profit and needs to cover its costs with the $20.00 cost.

Bob Fletcher: I agree that it must be out there to be known and I think that it will generally be known when state and local governments seek accreditation. NEMA is working with NFPA now on how it will be handled since the EMAP contains excerpts from NFPA 1600.


David Crews: What is the cycle on this NFPA standard? E.g. how often is it planned to be reviewed or revised. Opinion: on the next revision two great community resources besides business and government need more emphasis - Academia and Volunteers - especially in the planning section.

Lloyd Bokman: The cycle is between 3 and 5 years and we are looking at beginning a new cycle next year and any body can apply to be a member of the committee, though there is limited membership at the present.

Anik St-Pierre: What is the appropriate limited distribution for education ?


Patrick Harkness: Is there a web site through which one can purchase NFPA 1600?

Response: http://catalog.nfpa.org 1-800-344-3555


Anik St-Pierre: What is the appropriate limited distribution of a code for education? I am a teacher and would like to use part of the code.

Lloyd Bokman: I really don't know the answer to that, Anik. I am not an expert in copyright laws. You can probably call our NFPA staff liaison at 617-984-7496. Her name is Martha Curtis; she may be able to help.


Amy Sebring: Lloyd, can you tell us a little more about the Task Force. When it will be considering the survey? When it will be reporting to the full Committee with recommendations?

Lloyd Bokman: The Task Group is still collecting information, including the questionnaire, and will meet in March to put together their report and will present it at a full committee meeting in June.


Joe Herring: Has the committee done any work on tying budget requests, grants, and forms to NFPA 1600?

Lloyd Bokman: No we haven't because that is more in the realm of the adopting government agency or business corporation, all of which use different forms and budgetary processes.


Amy Sebring: Lloyd, is there a model from other NFPA standards as to how to get the word out to the states?

Lloyd Bokman: No, there isn't. The NFPA doesn't really focus in on a standard to market it, as such. They put them all in their catalog and on the web site but the individual marketing is up to the involved parties. For instance the electric code is heavily pushed by the electric industry.

Bob Fletcher: A comment on that Amy. The Big 7 and other constituency groups are aware of NFPA 1600 through the EMAP Steering Committee. That includes NACO, NGA, ICMA, etc. It's getting out there I think.


Amy Sebring: Our time is about up. Thank you very much Lloyd and Bob. We very much appreciate your time and effort. Before I ask the audience to express their appreciation, just a brief word. The EIIP Virtual Forum hosts live chats on emergency management related topics for one hour every Wednesday at 12:00 Noon Eastern time. Transcripts of previous sessions are posted in our archives and may be accessed from our homepage at http://www.emforum.org. We will also be posting transcripts of this week’s sessions as soon as we can turn them around.

Tomorrow, Dean Larson, U.S. Steel and a member of the Technical Committee will be with us to go over the content of the standard. We hope you all can join us for that.

Our thanks to all our participants today. Now please help me thank Lloyd and Bob.