VFRE 2000
Emergency Management Track

NFPA 1600 Standard - Session 5
Friday – September 22, 2000 – 1:00 PM EDT

Group Discussion with Track Participants

How Will the NFPA Standard Benefit the Public?

Amy Sebring, Moderator

Amy Sebring: Welcome to VFRE 2000 and the fifth and final session in the Emergency Management Track, the new NFPA 1600, 2000 ed. Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management.

If you missed our previous sessions, transcripts in an easy to read format are accessible from the session pages in the VFRE Exhibit Hall. They are also available from our EIIP Website at http://www.emforum.org.

We are wrapping up with something a little different. This will be a "group discussion" and the protocol is a little different. Instead of speakers answering your questions, today WE ask the questions and YOU get to answer. Please load the following page with 10 discussion questions into your browser window by clicking on the URL, and keep it handy. http://www.vfre.com/presentation21/benefit.htm. If we have time, I also have a surprise question at the end.

Today we will NOT use the question mark protocol (?). Instead, please look ahead at the next question, prepare your response, and wait until I call for the question. Then, just send your response in. Try to keep in synch.


Amy Sebring: Please look ahead to question 1 now. This week during session 1, we learned that 13 program elements have evolved from a consensus process, including previous work on FEMA's Capability Assessment for Readiness. In reviewing the content in session 2, we recognize that we are already familiar with most of the elements. However, disaster planning has previously focused on response operations.

In answer to question 1, if you do not feel there is anything "new" in the requirements, then please respond with those areas that may have received renewed emphasis. We will give you a moment to further prepare your response, but let us now hear from you on Question 1: What is new in the standard? That is, what requirements are included that do not already exist in our programs?


Gary Scronce: Since there have been few requirements on EM programs in the past, except for some REP and Hazmat, everything is new, isn't it? On the other hand, as I believe Gunnar said, most of it is common sense.

Avagene Moore: The requirements for planning for mitigation and recovery planning are new. Emphasis has always been on preparation and response.

Amy Sebring: I believe the impact analysis portion may be "new" to some folks.

Avagene Moore: Yes, impact analysis as well, Amy.

Isabel McCurdy: Emphasis on prevention has become an important focus.

Ray Pena: There are so many differences among programs that it's hard to come up with new things across the board. I agree on the emphasis on recovery.

Lloyd Bokman: I think that a new emphasis on continuity of operations for government as well as business may become important as demonstrated during Y2K.


Amy Sebring: Let's go on, but take a look back later at the requirements and see what may be "new" to you or your program. Next, we would like to do a little "reality check." Please look ahead to question 2.

We have heard a great deal this week about how this standard is voluntary unless adopted into law or regulations. We also learned in session 4 that the EMAP accreditation program being developed under the auspices of NEMA will be voluntary. Is it realistic to expect support for anything you don't "have to" do? Will municipalities or states perceive this as an "unfunded mandate" and resist adopting into law? Please give us your thoughts now on Question 2: Can we expect voluntary use of the standard, or must it be adopted into a law or regulation before it will be used?


Isabel McCurdy: I think that is a given, Amy! Costs money to implement.

Ray Pena: It'll be used voluntarily by some, not at all by others. Formal adoption by the jurisdiction would make a big difference.

Kenny Shaw: I don't expect very much voluntary use; it will have to be law. Cities just have not emphasized emergency management the way we (in this room) would like for them to.

Gunnar J. Kuepper: Through the usual failures in real life disaster situations (let's remember about the confusion at the evacuation at Hurricane Floyd) the Public, the Media, the Lawyers, will push law makers into action,

Avagene Moore: Established programs have nothing to fear. I think more and more will adopt and implement. It may take a lawsuit to push it forward but it will happen.

Gary Scronce: I think there will be more and more pressure on programs to do use it if not formally adopt it, especially if a legal precedent establishes it as a "standard of care."

Kenny Shaw: Good term, Gary. That's what needs to happen. The EM community at large needs to adopt it as the "standard of care"

Ray Pena: I agree with Mr. Scronce and Avagene. We're all so afraid of liability.

Amy Sebring: I think it will take some forward-looking management to voluntarily use it. The other thing that may make it "voluntary" is if funding is tied to it. There are no plans for funding to be tied to it, however, we heard of some incentives like grants. That may get folks attention!

Avagene Moore: With time, that may come, Amy.


Amy Sebring: Speaking of funding, please look ahead to Question 3. A constant struggle, not only in the public sector, but also in the private sector I am told, is to find sufficient resources to support a program. One of the skills I think is required of an emergency manager or business continuity planner is imagination (not to mention a sense of humor). However, I think this next question may be a cause of serious concern, so let's get your thoughts now. Question 3: Can an entity meet the requirements of the standard with existing resources, or will new resources be needed? And when I say resources, I am talking dollars.


Gunnar J. Kuepper: Nearly every entity has the resources needed, but (in the private and in the public sector) these resources are in different departments that are not used to communicate or work with each other.

Kenny Shaw: Good point.

Terry Storer: As I travel, I see many marginal programs that either can't or won't become involved. State mandates have only brought about the need for state employees to "walk" these marginal programs through minimal certification.

Amy Sebring: Can you implement within existing budget?

Ray Pena: Entities will have the resources they have. I don't think they can expect to get more just because of this standard.

Avagene Moore: Depends on the budget and the program.

Gary Scronce: The impact analysis may be tough for agencies with more limited expertise on their staff.

Kenny Shaw: No, the extensive planning, and hazard identification, capability assessments --- if all done by the standard would be a major undertaking.

Amy Sebring: I agree, Gary, also writing mitigation and recovery plans.

Chris Waters: CHER-CAP can help or a similar program.

[NOTE: Additional information provided after the session -- Comprehensive Hazmat Emergency Response - Capability Assessment Program (CHER-CAP): The program is designed for communities to review their plans, have input through "outside experts", revise the plans as necessary and table top and full scale exercises. Designed by FEMA Region 6 for use on hazmats but could be adapted to any emergency, especially the recover aspect, according to Chris Waters.]


Amy Sebring: Looking ahead to question 4, we have also heard a great deal about outreach this week. I was also struck by one comment about how "WE" should do this outreach, and I am wondering just who this "WE" is!

One component of this outreach is education, and that is what we have been trying to do this week. We also learned that in the case of other NFPA Standards, the usual situation is that a group that has an interest in seeing widespread adoption and use of a standard, will do the work that is required to "sell" it. What are your ideas on the next question? Question 4: Will the standard need to be marketed? If so, who will do this and what should the marketing strategy be?


Kenny Shaw: Absolutely necessary for the vast majority of us to ever hope to incorporate 1600. Someone will have to market it to our city board and leadership, besides our EM office that is. State EM offices, FEMA, fire dept, etc.

Ray Pena: Sure it will, if it is to mean anything. I won't do it.

Terry Storer: I feel there may be an "identification" problem. NFPA means fire department. The fire department is not involved in EM.

Amy Sebring: Good point regarding marketing by somebody else than the person responsible for the EM program.

Isabel McCurdy: Yes this standard has to be marketed. I don't know by whom though. Need a champion.

Avagene Moore: Education is the first step, make sure everyone understands it, then market. On the governmental side of the house, will have to come down through State offices to local jurisdictions, I think.

Gary Scronce: Yes. Part of the "We" should be FEMA. They've done a nice job of marketing Project Impact. A big part of this from my point of view will be putting the standard in the public domain in front of everyone somehow.

Gunnar J. Kuepper: NFPA is the only "emergency" organization that I know of that has a successful and professional marketing program for their products.

Lloyd Bokman: The role of the NFPA 1600 Committee is to develop the standard, but our members are willing to take part in presentations such as this, but marketing again depends on those (government & business) that adopt it and want to use it.

Avagene Moore: Peer group associations can play an important role, also.

Amy Sebring: Yes, and professional organizations like League of Cities, etc.


Amy Sebring: Looking ahead to question 5, we also learned about the Emergency Management Accreditation Program, EMAP, during session 4, which uses the NFPA standard as its basis, and the complimentary CAR tool for the self-assessment phase at least for starters. However, if you looked at the timetable on the session 4 page, we realize that this program will take some time to further develop and implement. On the other hand, the effective date of the standard was last February, so let's have your input now on Question 5: Accreditation programs will take time to be fully implemented. What should a conscientious (yet underfunded!) emergency manager be doing in the meantime? Same with Business Continuity professionals, Both public and private. Would you inform your management? Would you discuss setting up a committee if you do not have one?

Gunnar J. Kuepper: Call us. Seriously many organizations, IAEM, FEMA, DRI, have experts or can refer to experts that can assist in assessing and implementing programs according to 1600.

Ray Pena: The conscientious EM should make the best use of available resources, do the job and not worry about this.

Amy Sebring: Would you mentally review your program in light of the standard? Identify shortcomings?

Avagene Moore: First of all, buy a copy of the Standard and get up to speed on what is in it. Use the Standard and elements of the CAR as a guide to measure their programs and begin to see where some work needs to be done.

Gary Scronce: I agree with Ray. Continuing to focus on using available resources to best serve their customers. Looking for ways to improve and addressing those areas, as many are already doing.

Amy Sebring: Does anyone disagree with Ray?

Lloyd Bokman: Reviewing the standard and making comparisons and I agree with Ray, the average EM program will already meet most of the elements found in the Standard because as stated earlier they are based on common sense practices.

Kenny Shaw: FEMA and every state EM office have a "professional development" series; that and the CEM program of IAEM are good starters.

Amy Sebring: I agree that one should not lose sleep Ray, but disagree if you meant it should be disregarded.

Ray Pena: I didn't mean that at all. Just not worry about it.

Avagene Moore: There aren't any big surprises in the Standard. Learning about it and gauging your program against it are not necessarily expenditures of money --- time, yes.

Terry Storer: At recent statewide meeting of emergency managers and staff less than 5% of those in attendance admitted to knowing about NFPA 1600. I have the feeling most were ignoring its existence.


Amy Sebring: Looking ahead to question 6, although I don't believe it was specifically mentioned in session 4, the EMAP program intends to develop some guidance manuals for the accreditation process. There is also some limited guidance available from the appendices of the standard itself, as we discussed in session 2. We also touched on guidance during session 3 on business continuity planning. We just heard about some other resources. Is this an area that the Technical Committee's Task Force may want to consider? We ask you to consider it now Question 6: What guidance, if any, is needed beyond the EMAP accreditation guidance? What models may be available from other NFPA standards?

Gary Scronce: Hard to tell without being able to look at the EMAP guidance. Is it available for public review? Will it be soon?

Amy Sebring: Gary, my understanding is that the guidance will not be out soon. I believe it is on the timetable to draft during 2001.

Avagene Moore: FEMA's CAR is available, right? Is the version for local government available? Or is that part of the overall EMAP package?

Amy Sebring: From what Eric told us yesterday, it is not out yet. The local CAR is being worked on with FEMA I believe. --- Can you understand the standard as it is written or is further help needed to interpret?

Lloyd Bokman: The Task Group is discussing the possible inclusion of more detail for specific sections of 1600, such as business continuity planning and other issues but the committee as whole will decide. The EMAP, CAR and also documents from the business side of the house and the DRI will most likely be looked at to glean further information that may (or may not) be included in future revisions.

Ray Pena: It's understandable, but I think it can be simplified.


Amy Sebring: Looking ahead to question 7, we get to the nub. I believe Gunnar Kuepper answered this question with a YES and a NO yesterday. He also made what I thought was an excellent point regarding the standard facilitating coordination, not only between jurisdictions or levels of government, but also between the public and private sector. This may in fact be the very value of any kind of "standard." Let's attempt to address this more specifically now, because if "we" do in fact need to market the standard, this is the argument we will need to make and the question we will need to have some good answers for. Let us consider it here, Question 7: How will full implementation of this standard improve disaster resilience for a community or business? I realize this is a broad question. Just give it a shot and we want to hear from more of you.


Amy Sebring: I believe the requirement for a committee to advise could be a big plus if it is implemented seriously. Getting "stakeholders" involved in making decisions and bringing support to the program. How many here have such committees now?

Ray Pena: Ideally, full implementation would mean we are all doing the same job, with differences due to jurisdiction (public/private). That would greatly improve our ability to jointly manage hazards and the effects of disaster. Our ability to communicate and coordinate, especially during response, would be greatly enhanced.

Gary Scronce: By helping to ensure that the key components, the foundation, is in place.

Kenny Shaw: I think the standard offers an "organized approach" to dealing with emergencies and disasters - one that all communities could follow - a template if you will.

Amy Sebring: Anybody have a committee? (Yes/No) We do not.

Avagene Moore: Until we have holistic programs in our communities, we are duplicating effort and wasting precious resources. No reason why emergency preparedness, training, planning shouldn't incorporate the community in its entirety, both public and private.

Kenny Shaw: No. But we do have a lot of folks telling us what to do!

Terry Storer: No.

Avagene Moore: Not in my community.

Amy Sebring: Ray, do you have a committee? I have not heard of many committees although I have heard of a few.

Gary Scronce: Not that I'm aware of.

Lloyd Bokman: As Gunnar said it puts everybody on the same page, which minimizes the misunderstandings that can develop and it provides for the citizens a reassurance that the programs that "protect" them are taken seriously by the government and business officials in their community. It adds the element of trust much as doctors or hospitals meeting certain standards.

Ray Pena: Most of all, it would mean that creating an integrated emergency management system within and between organizations and jurisdictions could happen. Yes, we have several committees. One over-riding.

Amy Sebring: If we have standardized programs, it may make it easier for an coordinator to transfer and get up to speed!

Isabel McCurdy: This standard will create practices that will drive new legislative requirements. We have no federal policy for mitigation now.


Amy Sebring: Looking ahead to question 8, we also learned this week that the standard is expected to evolve and be further refined over time. There is a formal process in place for doing this. It was noted that the standard is generic in nature, and leaves some specific questions unanswered. An example of this was the requirement for periodic review of programs, however no period was specified. In addition, were some areas left unaddressed or received insufficient emphasis in your opinion? Let's hear your opinion now please on Question 8: What is missing from the standard? How can it be enhanced during the next revision? I would like to see something regarding managing volunteers, anyone else? Or do you think it is perfect just the way it is?


Ray Pena: I think it should remain generic in nature. As I said earlier, I think it should be simplified, for example in the hazard analysis area and also in the preparedness area.

Gary Scronce: One thing (and I'm not sure the standard is the right forum) is how to objectively measure how good your program is from the customer's (public’s) perspective.

Amy Sebring: I think as we begin to apply this, things will come up possibly.

Avagene Moore: I think it is pretty broad-based which allows for flexibility.

Amy Sebring: That may be impossible Gary until the disaster hits and then it is probably never good enough!

Kenny Shaw: I'd like to see a "best practice" type of example attached to it...show us how a currently top notch operation looks with copies of their local laws, program committee make up, plans, operations, etc.

Amy Sebring: Perhaps that would be a good suggestion for a guidance manual, Kenny. I think it is a good idea.

Gary Scronce: I know it's a tough issue, Amy, or you'd be able to find examples of performance measures for EM on the Internet.


Amy Sebring: Looking ahead to question 9, we heard about IAEM's Certified Emergency Manager program, and a similar qualification in the private sector. In this next question we are looking for some description of the dynamic between individual coordinators, whether in the public or private sector, and a program that fulfills the requirements of the standard. What is the relative contribution of each perhaps. Which should receive more emphasis or should they receive equal emphasis? Let's hear your thoughts now on Question 9: What is the relationship between a qualified professional coordinator and a good program?

Avagene Moore: I don't think you can have one without the other.

Ray Pena: You don't get the latter without the former. Emphasize the coordinator.

Gary Scronce: Amen Ray!

Amy Sebring: Gunnar mentioned that some individuals will cling to their own ideals yesterday. They may have strengths in some areas and not others.

Avagene Moore: I would say Ray is correct -- you will not have a good program without a professional coordinator.

Kenny Shaw: Oh, yes. You can have a qualified coordinator and not have a good program if the support from above is not there.

Kyle Rhone: In my opinion, this relationship lies in the coordinator's ability to work with and develop teams whose members come from many jurisdictional areas.

Amy Sebring: I think the standard can contribute toward a "well rounded" program.

Ray Pena: Kenny, I believe the support will be there if the coordinator does the job. That's part of the job!

Amy Sebring: This committee requirement may also encourage an individual to consider other input, ideas.

Lloyd Bokman: Also demonstrating the desire or need to meet a standard may get him that much-needed support from above.

Avagene Moore: In EM, like any other profession, you have to be sure you aren't in a rut, tied to the past, etc. EM is not a static business either.


Amy Sebring: Our last pre-posted question was intended to be a catch-all for anything we did not cover in our previous questions. So if you would like to put in a comment on anything else you have not mentioned before, here is the place. Question 10: What value does the standard add to the fields of emergency management and business continuity planning? Consensus? Enhanced profile in the community or the profession?


Hilbert: I think that the existence of the standards, if properly publicized, will structure people's thinking and vocabularies. This will happen even if communities don't formally adopt 1600.

Gary Scronce: The likely value is in establishing a "standard of care" and bringing uniformity to EM program development.

Isabel McCurdy: There has to be value in Emergency Management. In my local community their role is coupled with other responsibilities. Emergency Management is not front and centre. Perhaps adoption of this standard would change that.

Avagene Moore: Helps clarify identity of the program. Lack of identity has long been a serious problem.

Ray Pena: The standard creates a basis for common language and understanding among professionals.

Kenny Shaw: It offers us that template or home base to tie our program to --- something to show the city/county fathers what a good program should be

Gunnar J. Kuepper: The standard is a main value, because it is a standardized to tool to reduce pain and suffering, and to protect property, the environment, and the economy on all levels.

Avagene Moore: Common language/terminology, etc is another good argument for public and private sectors to work more closely together. World of difference between the two.

Jeff Glick: The standard forms the basis for measuring performance, via the Capability Assessment for Readiness or other. It also serves as the basis for the accreditation system being developed by NEMA and FEMA along with States' input.


Amy Sebring: (I am glad you mentioned that, Ray.) It looks like we might have time for our final "surprise" question which is not posted. NFPA in association with ANSI, is a formal, recognized standard-making body. Like it or not, there is no such body specifically devoted to this area of concern; there is a great deal of hard work that is required to see this process through.

Personally, I see no need to reinvent the wheel and try to establish an independent standard making entity, and you may or may not agree with that. However, if you will assume with me for a moment that we have an established, hard-working group of individuals, who are willing to represent your interests, and work through to achieve some consensus on issues that are important to us, might we not take advantage of it to explore some of the other related areas in which we feel a need for standards?

For example, although we have 17 definitions of terms in the Standard, they relate mostly to the intent of the language of the standard and because this is a legal document, are more related to those concerns. Could the NFPA Technical Committee address the need I have heard expressed over and over for a standard set of disaster related terms for example? So our final question is, Question 11: What other disaster related areas might the NFPA Technical Committee address? How about a standard set of map symbols? A standard SOP format? Any ideas here?


Gunnar J. Kuepper: How about a standard for equipment and training for CERT teams (citizens emergency response teams).

Kenny Shaw: A standard name for emergency management programs and personnel?

Ray Pena: How about a standard school curriculum for high schoolers?

Amy Sebring: Good ones. Others? How do you all feel about disaster terms? (yes/no) Then we need to wrap up.

Gary Scronce: What about a standard for handling emergent volunteer groups? Yes to your question, Amy.

LindaUnderwood CERTLA: Disaster terms – Yes.

Kyle Rhone: YES!!!!!!!!!!

Isabel McCurdy: Disaster -terms –yes

Avagene Moore: Definitely!

Barry Walker: Yes on the volunteer groups.


Amy Sebring: The Yesses have it! Our time is about up. Thank you very much to all our speakers from this past week, and to all our participants, especially those of you who hung in there for all or most of the sessions!

It has been our privilege to bring these sessions to you, and we hope that this opportunity to learn has been valuable for you. We also encourage you to get involved with this. Please take a look at the Technical Committee's survey (see Session 1) as their decisions will be guided by your input. There will also be opportunities to provide input during the next revision cycle during the Public Comment phase.

Finally, even if you cannot personally serve on the Technical Committee, it is highly likely that someone from your field that shares your interest IS on the committee. Again, see the Session 1 page for a link to info about the makeup of the committee, find somebody or some organization you know, and let them know how you feel regarding the issues.

We have a national election coming up, and if you don't vote, you really have no excuse to gripe about the results. The same with this Standard. If you don't participate, you have no excuse to be dissatisfied with the results.

Today's transcript should be available late this afternoon. Check for a link at the session page http://www.vfre.com/presentation21/benefit.htm. You may need to reload the page to see it.

Next VFRE session starts at 2 p.m. EST in the HazMat Track, "Handling Drum and Cylinder/ Pipeline Emergencies" -- Clarence "Smiley" White, Field Instructor, Maryland Fire & Rescue Institute. Moderator: Pat West.

Thank you for a great week and thank you to VFRE. Have a safe and enjoyable weekend! Give yourself applause!!