Edited Version of January 13, 1999 Transcript
EIIP Virtual Forum Panel Discussion

" Draft NFPA 1600 Standard
for Disaster/Emergency Management"

Featured Panelists
Lloyd Bokman
Technical Committe Chair
U.S. Dept. of Energy Liaison/Hazardous Materials Planner
Ohio Emergency Management Agency

Bob Fletcher
Senior Policy Advisor
FEMA's Office of Policy and Regional Operations

Pat Moore
Vice President, Business Continuity Education
Strohl Systems

The original transcript of the January 13, 1999 online Virtual Forum Panel Discussion is available on the EIIP Virtual Forum <http://www.emforum.org>. The following version of the transcript has been edited for easier reading and comprehension. Typos were corrected, date/time/names attributed by the software to each were deleted but content of discussion, questions, and responses are as stated by each participant. Answers from the presenter to questions by the audience are grouped beneath the appropriate question to facilitate meaning.


Amy Sebring: Welcome to the EIIP Virtual Forum! Today we are pleased to present a panel discussion/presentation about the Draft NFPA 1600 Standard for Disaster/Emergency Management.

Before I introduce our special guests, some quick words about our format for the benefit of our first-timers. We will be doing approximately 30 minutes presentation with our panelists, followed by 30 minutes Q&A from audience. Please do NOT send private messages to our panelists during the session although you are welcome to send private messages to each other. At the conclusion of the session we will adjourn back to the Virtual Forum (lobby) for some follow up open discussion, if you care to stick around.

When you see a blue web address, you can click on it and the referenced web page should appear in a browser window. After the first one, the browser window may not automatically come to the top, so you may need to bring it forward by clicking on a button at the status bar at the bottom of your screen. Right before we begin the Q&A portion I will review how to submit questions.

Background information for today's session may be found at <http://www.emforum.org/vforum/990113.htm> .

This page will remain on the site after the session, and will provide access to edited transcripts, both online HTML and downloadable Word versions. A raw, unedited text version will be available later today by using the Transcripts link on our home page. The edited versions should be available early next week.

Thank you for your patience, and now it is my pleasure to introduce our guests, all members of the NFPA Technical Committee on Disaster Management, and all previous guests of the Virtual Forum.


Amy Sebring: Lloyd Bokman is the Technical Committee Chair and is the U.S. Dept. of Energy Liaison/Hazardous Materials Planner with the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. He has worked as a radiological emergency response planner and has previous experience as a Captain and EMT in the fire service. Welcome back, Lloyd.

Lloyd Bokman: Hello, everybody, and thank you, Amy.

Amy Sebring: Bob Fletcher has recently moved from a position as the Director of State and Local Preparedness Division within the FEMA PT&E Directorate to a Senior Policy Advisor position within FEMA's Office of Policy and Regional Operations. He represents FEMA on the Technical Committee. Welcome back, Bob.

Bob Fletcher: Thank you, Amy, and hello to my good colleagues, Lloyd and Pat, as well as everyone else on line today. It's always fun to be part of the Virtual Forum.

Amy Sebring: Last but not least, Ms. Pat Moore is a Certified Business Continuity professional (CBCP) and a Fellow of the Business Continuity Institute (FBCI). She serves as Vice President, Business Continuity Education for Strohl Systems. Welcome back, Pat.

Pat Moore: Hello, everyone.

Amy Sebring: We have a great deal to cover today in a very short amount of time, so we will not be able to get into any detail about specific provisions of the proposed standard and unfortunately, the full text is not yet available via Internet, but will be soon. Lloyd will tell us more about that.

Our focus today will be the standard-making process, where we are now in that process, and how you can become involved and participate.

Lloyd will begin with an overview and then Bob and Pat will continue with their perspectives from the public and the private sectors. Lloyd, if you please.


Lloyd Bokman: I would like to thank the EIIP for this opportunity to discuss NFPA 1600. The history of the document goes back to 1991 when the Standards Council of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) received a request for a standard on disaster management.

The NFPA, which was formed in 1896, is made up of over 60,000 members worldwide, of which 24% are affiliated with fire departments. The remaining 76% come from the various sectors of business, industry, and government.

A committee was formed consisting of emergency management professionals from the various sectors (Note: committee members do not have to be NFPA members). The committee then began their work to develop a standard.

Because of concerns that the emergency management community was not ready for standards, the committee decided to issue the document as a recommended practice rather than a standard in 1995. This means the various elements of the document were listed as "shoulds" rather than "shalls".

After 1995 the document went into a revision cycle in which the committee considers proposals to hopefully, improve on the document. This is the final year of that cycle and revisions have been made, including upgrading it to a standard and a total reorganization of the document.

As part of that revision cycle, the present draft document will be available from the NFPA after January 22 and till April 2 for public comment. To receive a hardcopy you can contact Martha Curtis, Staff Liaison, at <[email protected]> or 617-984-7496.

You can also download the document and submit your comments through the NFPA website (under the proposals and comments section) at <www.nfpa.org>, however, I have been told that it will not be available on the web site until the last week of January.

Amy has also been kind enough to provide links for the proposals and comments section to the NFPA in the background document for this chat. In addition, there is an NFPA 1600 status page on the National Association of SARA Title III Program Officials (NASTTPO) website at <http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/6286/NFPA1600.htm>.

The next step, in the process, is for the committee to review the comments submitted, which at that time, the committee will decide whether or not to incorporate those comments into the document. The committee will also write a formal response to each comment at that time.

After reviewing the comments, the draft will be finalized, and if the committee approves the final draft, through a formal ballot, it will be submitted for consideration to the NFPA membership for their approval at the 1999 Fall Meeting of the NFPA. If approved by the membership, the document would probably be printed and available in the beginning of the year 2000.

I hope that my short history of the document and the outline of the standards making process has helped. Bob Fletcher from FEMA and Pat Moore from Strohl Systems are here to give their perspectives on the document. Both are members of the 1600 committee, and like all the committee members, each has played an integral part, for which I am grateful, in the development of this document.

I'll be glad to answer questions later, but, now I'll turn it back over to Amy. Thank you.

Amy Sebring: Thank you Lloyd. Next we will continue with Bob who will tell us something of FEMA's involvement, some of the other organizations involved, and how the standard relates to other developments in the public sector. Bob, if you please.

Bob Fletcher: Thanks Amy. I am pleased to be working on this exciting project with Lloyd, Pat and the other NFPA 1600 Technical Committee representatives.

As I begin, I'd like to compliment you and Avagene for arranging this session today. The timing is perfect. It should heighten the interest of the emergency management community to the NFPA 1600 standards and of this great opportunity to provide input to the standards.

James Lee Witt, and the past Presidents of the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) and the International Association of Emergency Managers(IAEM), (then NCCEM) reached accord in the fall of 1997 that it was in the best interest of those organizations to work with the NFPA and the other member organizations of the Technical Committee to develop the first standard for emergency management.

In 1997, the President of NFPA, George Miller, agreed that NFPA 1600 could be issued as a joint standard endorsed by the above organizations, one of only a few joint NFPA standards. That agreement represented the commitment of the professionals involved to take a first step towards the establishment of national standards that could be embraced by the front-line emergency management professional organizations.

The work of the NFPA 1600 Technical Committee has been impressive, in part due to visionary leaders like Lloyd Bokman and also because each of the Committee members are quite experienced in their own right. The committee members have realistically assessed the need for a fresh approach to program standards and taken practical steps to make it happen.

The move to adopt common program elements with the widely accepted Capability Assessment for Readiness (CAR) used by NEMA and FEMA in 1998 to assess national readiness at the State level moved the NFPA 1600 ahead markedly towards serving all organizations. FEMA is a believer in collaboration and stakeholder involvement, especially when it comes to matters of national significance such as this.

In the case of NFPA 1600, as you have heard Lloyd describe, it has been a voluntary consensus effort and continues to be. The public comment period is an example that the NFPA process seeks to be democratic and inclusive.

On a parallel course to the NFPA 1600 development, you may have heard that NEMA has proposed an initiative that would accredit state and local emergency management programs. The NEMA proposal would use the NFPA 1600 Standard as the entry level standard for accreditation and call for the establishment of an independent body comprised of stakeholder representatives to accredit jurisdictions seeking accreditation.

They too are seeking involvement of stakeholders from the beginning. The first stakeholder meeting will be conducted in Washington, DC tomorrow, to brief a number of constituency groups on the concept of accreditation and seek their input.

Among those who will be involved with the first of the stakeholder sessions will be the National League of Cities, the International City-County Management Association, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Association of Counties, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Governors Association, the Council of State Governments, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the Association of State Flood Plain Managers, IAEM, NEMA and FEMA.

That's a strong indication of NEMA's desire to get widespread involvement of the stakeholders from the beginning. As the accreditation initiative evolves input from other stakeholders will be sought as well. There are many things to consider, including the linkages between accreditation of organizations and the certification of individuals.

IAEM has set the pace in the area of certification with its Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) initiative. The relationships among certification, accreditation and formal degree programs in emergency management and related fields will be strengthened by the establishment of standards.

FEMA believes that the NFPA 1600 is a good first step. Back to you, Amy.

Amy Sebring: Thank you, Bob. Just in time for Pat, as we lost her. Let's give her a moment to try to log back on although the chat software does not disconnect for inactivity, sometimes an ISP will.

While we are waiting for Pat I will go ahead and review the format for our Q&A portion. Please submit a question mark (?) to indicate you wish to be recognized. We will take questions in the order submitted. Right after you have submitted your ?, prepare your question by typing it in the message area, but do not submit until you are recognized.

Please be ready to go so we do not have to wait for you to type in your question and please indicate if your question is for a specific panelists.

For those that joined us after the beginning, please note the background information page for this session if you click on the banner that says Background Info when it comes around. It will display in your browser. We will leave it on the site and post access to the transcript there and also will provide a link to the document on the NFPA site when it becomes available.

Well, let's go ahead and take questions for Lloyd and Bob and when Pat comes back we will resume with her portion.


David Miller: Are any portions of the proposed standard, mandatory?

Lloyd Bokman: All NFPA standards are voluntary. They only become mandatory if adopted in code by the local jurisdiction.


Libbi Rucker Reed: Will any of this change the new EMPs just written by most states/locals to a big degree and will accreditation require Certified Emergency Management program managers as directors?

Bob Fletcher: Accreditation is a little more complicated that the establishment of standards.

Amy Sebring: We hope to have a future session regarding accreditation.

Bob Fletcher: If you are referring to accreditation of organizations there isn't any system for that, yet. If you are referring to certification, I would have to defer to IAEM.

Libbi Rucker Reed: Actually that was in reference to local jurisdictions.

Amy Sebring: I am told that Pat is with us now. Pat, if you please, the private sector perspective?

Pat Moore: Hello everyone, sorry we lost the connection. The discussion apparently has moved over to areas of accreditation and certification and I can comment on that. I would first like to state that the private sector can certainly benefit from this document with regard to expanding their own emergency response plans.

But in addition, it is important that both the public and private sectors realize that beyond emergency management and disaster response, it is important to look beyond that in planning to 'continuity of operations' with regard to resuming and recovering to an almost 'business as usual' status if possible within a reasonable period of time.

The public sector especially has to be able to operate like a 'business' in getting back to providing those critical services once the stabilization of the situation has occurred, and there is definitely room for growth in this document in this area, and I know we will be looking at this issue when the comments come in.

With regard to accreditation and certification among the organizations, perhaps it is time that we began to look at coordinating an 'industry' accreditation or certification and I would welcome comments on that as well. I am finished for now.

Amy Sebring: Thank you very much, Pat. Let's resume with our Q& A. David Crews is next please.


David Crews: What is the proposed time frame for this standard to go from voluntary to mandatory (from shall to will)? Standards always strain fiscal resources and create training requirements (this could be a problem in the small jurisdictions - public sector!) Who is going to enforce standards if adopted?

Amy Sebring: Lloyd, can you explain what you expect may happen after the issuance of the standard in response to David's question?

Lloyd Bokman: The standard can only be mandatory if it is codified into law or a regulation. This can only be done by a regulatory agency or a state legislature or a city council. Therefore, the time limit is up to the adopting agency or business if they choose to adopt it.

David Miller: In Iowa we are looking to adopt part, if not all, of NFPA 1600 by Administrative Rule as the "definition" of emergency management. We will be looking to make many of the standards "mandatory" with compliance to those standards to be completed over a period of time. We feel that NFPA 1600 establishes the strong framework for EM that may have previously been provided in FEMA CPGs. The bigger issue is how we measure compliance and progress towards the new standards. We feel this will help us.


David Crews: What are the penalties on the jurisdiction that does not Codify?

Lloyd Bokman: It is a voluntary standard, the NFPA cannot assess penalties, only local jurisdictions can.


Amy Sebring: Bob, can you address the training impacts?

Bob Fletcher: I would surmise that the training that is now available would suffice for the most part in meeting the standards as written. The standards are quite basic in nature. The question will be, can you meet the standard and if not, what training will you need to meet them?.

Pat Moore: There is presently training being provided from the private sector to both the public and private sectors that address all of the issues within this standard.


Rick Larkin: Is a copy of the standard available now? Is it a draft form through NFPA ?

Amy Sebring: Copy will be available at the end of the month. Lloyd, can you give contact information again for those that came in later?


Rick Larkin: As a draft or a standard?

Lloyd Bokman: The draft will be available after January 22 from the NFPA. Sure, Amy, contact Martha Curtis, Staff Liaison, at <[email protected]> or call her at 617-984-7496.


Stephanie Fritts: Do the standards require adoption by the various states and local agencies? Also, will the standard then be adopted by FEMA and what will be FEMA's recommendation in regard to making it law or regulation? Will this be considered at a federal level?

Bob Fletcher: FEMA doesn't envision trying to regulate compliance with the NFPA 1600 standard. Under OMB circular A 119, Federal agencies support standards that are developed by local voluntary consensus organizations. FEMA hopes that the emergency management community will collaborate to develop a standard that can be embraced by the community at large, that will evolve and continually be improved to challenge the profession. The public has a right to know that the emergency management professionals who serve them are the highest caliber professionals that can be obtained and that they are held to some sort of professional standard.


Rick Tobin: To Pat Moore: When you mean this as a standard for the public sector, would that also cover the medical facilities and operations from hospitals all the way to small nursing homes that need certification to operate?

Pat Moore: Hello Rick. Presently the JCAHO which addresses the healthcare industry for standards for 'environment of care' has recently expanded their certification requirements to comply with addressing 'continuity of operations', not just patient life-safety issues, so we are seeing more movement in this area.

Rick Tobin: Yes, but you can walk through those standards with a Mack truck.

Pat Moore: No. We, in the private sector, face many of the same issues because our only history on being held up to laws or standards on these issues, relates back to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act which addresses 'duty of trust' and 'due diligence' in performing your job as an officer or director, and unfortunately it has not been held up in court, so perhaps this joint standard when finalized and addresses additional issues can be passed as the standard that all plans must meet and identifies the requirements of resources in terms of time and people required to carry out this 'planning process'.


Kevin Starbuck: Lloyd, why the interest in having a standard that requires an emergency management council or committee on the local level?

Lloyd Bokman: The committee discussed this over the past several years and feels that there is a need to bring all the players together, both private and public sectors in order to come up with an effective emergency management program. The best way to do this was through a committee.

Kevin Starbuck: Any good emergency program has done that to succeed. Next step is citizen advisory committees.

Lloyd Bokman: I agree that all good programs have done that. I think that is one of the reasons the committee made it a part of the standard. As Bob Fletcher said earlier, this is a very general umbrella type standard. However, that does not stop the possibility of more detailed standards being developed in the future.


Steve Charvat: As an early contributor to NFPA 1600, I have a strong interest in its passage as a standard with some teeth! I was wondering, however, if the Standards Committee looked at the issue of "sufficient" or "minimal" staffing levels to implement the standard in an organization?

As a 1-person EM office in a city of over 1.25 million, I was hoping that I could finally wave a piece of paper at my employer justifying my need for additional staff. Unfortunately, the revisions do not reflect that.

Bob Fletcher: Steve, hopefully the standards will drive the resource requirements. If an entity can comply with all of the standards and do it with only one person, isn't that all right? I think that the resource numbers could cloud the standards.

Steve Charvat: Thank you.


Phyllis Mann: How will the 1600 interface with the proposed NEMA/FEMA accreditation plans?

Amy Sebring: We addressed that earlier Phyllis, it will be in the transcript. Bob, anything you want to add?

Bob Fletcher: Yes. NEMA has a proposal in the works, as I mentioned earlier, that suggests using the NFPA 1600 as an entry level standard for State and local EM programs to request accreditation. The independent body that would accredit has not been developed nor has the accreditation self-assessment process been determined. But NEMA has proposed a self-assessment based upon an instrument like the capability assessment for readiness (CAR) developed by FEMA and NEMA, but reoriented towards the NFPA 1600 standards.


Bill Fletcher: Lloyd: What impact, if any, will NFPA 1600 have on fire service agencies? If NFPA standards have been adopted by reference by a jurisdiction (state, county, or local) for application to fire protection, will fire service agencies be required to develop an EM program that meets the standard ?

Lloyd Bokman: I think they will be required to take part in emergency management that already exists as one of those committee members. I also see private industry coming to them more for the fire department's input.

Final Question:

Cindy Rice: Would the standards be generalized for the national/international level (FEMA/IAEM/NEMA/NFPA) and become more specific/definitive as it is used at levels more closely involved (state)? And, finally, even more definitive at a hands-on/immediate response locality (local/county/city emergency management/fire/etc.)? Or is the standard generic to cover all, at all levels, all situations? And can this be seen as something which would be filtered from national to local level, so if only part of the standard is used, can this define compliance to existing concept of operations?

Lloyd Bokman: The standard can be used as an outline of local development, either by a city or a country or a state. For example, Ohio is using to develop a program to give state funds to local programs if they meet certain requirements.

Bob Goldhammer: I'm all for having standards for the profession and being accountable to the general public, but as Steve Charvat mentioned, despite our best efforts, often times we cannot get to everything with only one person. This is an issue in Iowa where we can't even always get Boards of Supervisors to fund EMA Commission budgets in compliance with state guidelines.

Amy Sebring: Thank you panelists, and thank you audience for your excellent participation today. We hope you will take advantage of the opportunity to let your comments on the standard be known to the NFPA and/or your organizational reps.

If you don't know who your reps are, there is a link on the background page to a list of committee members.

Before we adjourn, Avagene will mention our upcoming events in the Virtual Forum.

Avagene Moore: Thank you, Amy.

Next week, Tuesday, the Round Table at 1 PM EST is available for Partners' presentations and discussions. Phyllis Mann, IAEM President Elect, will do their first monthly session on Tuesday the 26th.

Next Wednesday, Jan 20, Kellye Junchaya, author of They Laughed at Noah, will be in the Virtual Library at 12:00 Noon EST. Back to you, Amy.

Amy Sebring: I would also like to mention that there is an EENET broadcast on Incident Command available via Internet starting at 2:00 PM Eastern today. Go to <http://www.fema.gov/emi/eenet.htm> to access.

Thank you all again, and if you care to continue with open discussion a little longer, we will move back to the Virtual Forum room.

Bob Fletcher: Thank you, Amy. I hope that you all stay involved to make the standard reflect your needs.

Lloyd Bokman: Yes, thank you, Amy and Avagene.